Happenstance: Without Jack
Rating: R for this chapter (to be safe)
Pairing: Jack/Ianto implied
Spoilers: Through Season 1
Summary: Starts at the end of ‘End of Days’, from Ianto’s perspective.
A/N: Can be read alone, if you've seen the episode it will make sense
Beta'ed by the 'Super'frakkin_addict
Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 |Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 |Chapter 11 | Chapter 12 | Chapter 13 | Chapter 14 | Chapter 15 |Chapter 16 | Chapter 17 | Chapter 18 |
As the cog door rolls closed behind him, Ianto overhears Tosh’s befuddled tones.
“What do you mean ‘gone’? He went out?”
Looking to Gwen for clarification, he feels his heart slowly start to sink.
“No. I mean he was right here, then he disappeared.”
Owen huffs, evidently not believing a word of it.
“Wot? You saw him disappear?”
“No! He wasn’t going anywhere, I turned away for a second, there was this strange noise, like an engine turning and poof! Gone!”
An errant memory clouds Ianto’s head for a moment, a file he viewed at Torchwood One.
“…and then there was a strange noise, like a massive ancient machine, whirring…” The Doctor, then. With his phone box spaceship.
Tosh fiddles with her PDA briefly, and then a blank look crosses her face.
“She’s right, he’s gone. I can’t track his wrist strap…”
Ianto runs to Tosh’s workstation, calling to Gwen as he goes.
“Where, exactly, did you see him last?”
“Well, here. We were in his office talking, then we came here…”
Ianto accesses the CCTV feed and scans it backwards, watching Jack’s office door on the monitor.
Cutting his hand sharply through the air, Ianto cuts Toshiko off as she tries to help.
“No, just — Let me.“
He finds the moment when Gwen and Jack emerge, notes the time stamp and tracks them in normal speed. Gwen, Toshiko and Owen crowd behind him as he watches Jack take the lift to the surface. Tosh gasps when Jack jumps onto the invisible lift, fiddling with his vortex manipulator.
“I’ve never seen the lift move that fast, is he controlling that?”
Owen, nonplussed, snarks back at her honest wonder.
“Well at least now we know why it looks like a tornado hit…”
Gwen smacks him in the back of his head.
Ianto switches to external feeds, quickly finding the video from the Plass. Everyone falls silent as Jack runs across the plaza towards a lone blue box.
No, Jack, no…
“Is that an old telephone kiosk? What’s it doing there?”
“Is that? It can’t be, can it?”
“Wot, Tosh? Wot is it?”
“He said that. Before he left, he said something about ‘the right doctor.’ Why does Jack need a doctor?”
“Wait, as in ‘the fuckin’ nemesis of Torchwood One’? That Doctor?”
“Ianto? What do you think is it?”
Hardly caring what is being said around him, Ianto slowly pushes himself away from the desk. His mind goes on auto-pilot, a self preservation technique craftily honed while he was hiding a Cyberman in the basement. Without a word to any of them, he turns on his heel and walks towards the archives. Only, as he takes the stairs, he decides he should really use this down time to feed Myfanwy instead. Turning back to prepare her dinner, he passes the cells, and thinks to check on a recently patched pipe in number 23. Suddenly realizing that he actually walking in circles, he halts, bringing his hands up to grip his head.
Immediately tensing at the unusually soft sound of Owen’s voice, Ianto drops his arms into a defensive posture, glaring with every fiber of his being without turning fully to face the other man.
“Look. I know that we’ve had our disagreements in the past. Well, quite recently actually. And I have it on good authority that I can be a right bastard at times. Just think of it as my personal version of stress relief. It’s what I do to get by. Although, you have to admit I have a remarkable talent for it. I mean, my timing is impeccable, I can really strike a man when he’s dow— Ok, not the point. The point is, that you’ve had a shit week. I’ve had a shit week. The girls have had a shit week. So, I propose that we call it even. And that we high-tail it to the closest bar available and drink until they kick us out on our collective arses.”
Ianto almost lets himself relax his stance, but can’t decide if this is actually happening. Eventually, his scrutiny makes Owen antsy.
“Com’on. I’ll get the girls. Meet us in the tourist office in five.”
He turns to walk away, presumably leaving Ianto to collect himself.
Ianto only breathes out the question, but it stops the medic in his tracks. Turning, Ianto properly analyzes the suddenly altruistic medic.
“Because you need it. And because no matter what we scream and yell at one another, at the end of the day we’re a team.”
Through watery panes, Ianto regards him for another long moment.
“Fine. I’ll be right up.”
Owen’s lips stretch into a quick half smile as he turns again to leave. Almost out of sight, he calls back to Ianto without missing a step.
“…and because you’re paying!”
A great huff of air escapes the lonely archivist, halfway between a moan and a bark of laughter. He puts his hand to his mouth to cut short any further noise. Squeezing his eyes shut he allows himself an instant to fall apart, letting hot tears fall down his cheeks. Forcing down slow deep breaths he regains his composure shortly. With a tug to his waistcoat and a swipe to smooth down his jacket, he heads off the meet his team. He silently debates how many shots he can handle on a nearly empty stomach.
Climbing out of Tosh’s cramped car, Ianto is almost certain that no one sees his initial stumble. That is, until a quite snicker drifts through the still open door, alerting him to her watching eyes. Stooping down to look at her properly, he lifts a finger to his lips.
She mimes a zipping motion across her own mouth.
“I won’t tell a soul. As far as I’m concerned, Ianto Jones doesn’t trip.”
“And don’t you ever forget it.”
“Are you sure you won’t come to mine? The guest room is yours for as long as you’d like.”
“No, no, don’t even think of it. I’m fine. Really.”
She just looks at him, worry coloring her features. He decides to curtail the conversation, by changing it completely.
“This was nice, actually. I don’t remember the last time we’ve all gone out like this.”
“We’ve never gone out like this.”
Without Jack, she means.
“Yeah. But… it was nice.”
“Yeah, it was. Maybe we can do it again.”
“Not likely. Owen acting like a regular person may have been a once in a lifetime thing.”
“Hmm, you may have a point there.”
“Thank you for the ride, I didn’t anticipate getting this plastered.”
“If it means seeing you relax every once in a while, I’ll drive you everywhere.”
“I’ll keep that in mind. Good night, Tosh. Drive safely.”
“I’ll just make sure you make it inside. Night.”
Ianto shuts the car door with a small wave, carefully walking to his flat. Fumbling only slightly with his keys, he slips the correct one in the lock and opens the door. Looking back he sees Tosh smiling at him as she pulls away. He can’t help but smile back as he shuts it behind him, focusing on the buzz of white noise in his head. He empties his pockets, sliding his loose tie from around his neck, tracking the shimmering material as it glides to the ground. Meaning to retrieve it, he slowly drops to kneel on the foyer floor.
It's over an hour later that he picks himself up and wipes the tears from his face.
Within a week he settles into a new pattern:
At the Hub bright and early, dressed to the nines. Coffees all around. Scan A&E reports for suspicious activity. Team meeting, wherein he pretends to not notice the power struggle between Owen and Gwen. Field work, information gathering or absolute emergencies only. Office duties as needed. Tidy up. Head home, grab take out on the way.
The girls try to get him to come out, or come to theirs for dinner some nights. But he honestly prefers to spend his free time alone. It simply becomes a matter of survival. He has to keep the analytical part of his mind occupied during every waking hour. It allows him to maintain a nice numb feeling, which allows him to cope with the day to day. He makes irregular visits to the corner store, to purchase coffee, milk and biscuits. Each time he visits, he picks up two or three £1.50 novels, which he reads each night until he passes out. It occurs to him sometimes that alcohol would be a more direct route, but can’t imagine a hangover on top of the constant nausea he is currently suffering.
It’s better than Lisa though. At least I don’t feel guilty all the time. And everyone knows what has happened. If I decide to actually give in and breakdown, they would know what the problem is. I have that bit of comfort at least. But I can handle this. There’s no need to make them more miserable, just because I am too. Whoever said that ‘misery loves company,’ was a selfish twat.
He allows himself this respite for a month. Gliding through, day by day, dazed at best. He blends into the background of Torchwood Three once again. Until one day, he nearly gets himself killed, and forces himself to wake up.
“Owen? Where are you?”
Radio silence. With shaking hands, he double taps his earpiece to switch channels.
“Tosh? I can’t get Owen. Can you track him?”
A faint crackle and snap echo in his ear, offering him no hope of rescue. Dragging his wet hand up again, he switches to an emergency channel, hailing all Torchwood Three frequencies.
“Tosh? Are you there? Gwen? Please tell me you made it to the SUV and can hear me. Owen, you prat, where the fuck have you run off to?”
His vision starts to grey at the edges. He feels the energy draining from his body, along with the blood rushing form his shoulder.
Stay alert. Tosh will realize that you haven’t moved, and that your earpiece is no longer responding. She can track you and send the others. Gwen wasn’t that badly hurt; she can drive to you and she’ll need you to get in the SUV.
“Fine, if no one can hear me, I’ll just talk to myself.”
He voice is nothing more than a mumble, and he can hear his consonants slurring together.
“…well… I suppose I don’t want to talk about my surroundings, as sewers tend to be a bit depressing. And I certainly don’t want to talk about my well-being, as I’ve never felt pain like this, and will most assuredly die if by chance my tracker has also malfunctioned. So, perhaps a story? Hmm, what have I been reading? Oh, I can't remember. But I have to keep talking, or I’ll fall asleep, and that… isn’t a good idea. But I am so tired. Jack used to call me Sleeping Beauty sometimes. He always complained that I slept too much. But honestly I think he was just jealous that he couldn’t sleep more... I had a book of fairy tales when I was a child; it said that Sleeping Beauty’s mother had to give her up to a witch, because her husband stole arugula from the witch’s garden… wait… that’s not right. Not Sleeping Beauty. Cinderella? Rapunzel. That’s it. What was I talking about again?”
“Gwen, I can’t reach Ianto. I need you to go to him, can you track him from the SUV?”
“Sure thing, I’ve got him. I think. What color should his little dot be again?”
“He’s cyan, you all are. You’re in the lower right hand quadrant of the screen, Owen’s the one zig-zagging towards you, and Ianto isn’t moving.”
“He’s not moving you say? Think that’s a fear response? Stay where you are until someone finds you?”
“I seriously doubt it. Owen thinks he heard him screaming, but he couldn’t double back. He’s trying to reach you, so pick him up if you pass him, but retrieving Ianto is first priority.”
The first thing he is aware of, upon waking, is an intensely vulnerable feeling. He feels stripped, frozen.
Oh, wait. I have been stripped. And I’m laying on a metal gurney. In the… yes, it helps to open one’s eyes… the medical bay.
He moves to pull the thick white sheet closer to his shivering body, but only manages to flex his shoulders before the pain becomes overwhelming.
“I see my patient has woken up, or should I say ‘hear’?”
“You, dear tea boy, have been blasted by a space ray. Ionic as far as Toshiko can tell. But that won’t make it hurt any less. Also, there is a nasty gouge in your left-hand flank. I’m guessing you hit something hard, metallic and jagged when you were blasted. AND judging by the green look to your face and wonky pupils, I’d venture a guess that you’ve got a mean concussion.”
“’sat yourmedical opinion?”
“To a ‘T’. And you’ll want to make yourself comfortable, you’re not going anywhere for a while.”
Gwen leans over the railing, face pinched with worry.
“How is he?”
Owen leans closer to Ianto, whispering conspiratorially.
“Gwen would have been here when you woke up, but I had to kick her out. The hovering was driving me crazy.”
“What was that Owen? I can’t hear you from up here. You sure I can’t come down there?”
“No Gwen, you are banned from touching those stairs! She keeps touching things.”
“’Sokay. Own mayi sslepp nou?”
“Gwen he’s fine, already snarky and polite. Ianto, I’m gonna give you somefin’ for the pain and your plasma drip is almost finished. When you’re feeling strong enough, we’ll get you settled somewhere within Mother Gwen’s territory. You’ll hurt for a few days, but there’s no permanent
Suppressing a shiver, that is sure to cause another bout of severe pain, Ianto lets his eyes drift shut, comforted by the prospect of moving to a cozier location.