Summary: After Jack left...
Spoliers: Episodes 12/13
Betaed by txteva, thank you again!
Two minutes after Jack was taken Ianto found that some strange energy had distorted the CCTV footage.
Three days after Jack was taken, Tosh had cleaned the image enough to make it clear that Jack hadn’t, in fact, been taken.
He’d left in something that looked like a blue box. Ianto being the only one who’d worked for Torchwood One, was the only one who got the significance of that.
He didn’t tell anybody.
Two weeks after Jack left, they’d settled into a routine of sorts. They let Owen be in charge, as long as he didn’t give them any orders. Tosh and Owen dealt with most of the alien artefacts, Gwen helped while dealing with the world at large, and Ianto did everything else. Paperwork, cleaning, fielding calls from officials who wanted to speak to Jack, comforting the pining pterodactyl, and of course making the coffee.
One month after Jack left, Ianto realised that these people terrified him. Especially Gwen. Every little thing she felt was visible for the world to see. She let everyone in, cared so easily about people she’d never met. How on earth could she keep that up, when just watching her do it caused bone deep terror in Ianto? And how could she be like that with strangers and yet treat Rhys the way she did? It had been easier to deal with them when Jack was there, breaking the tension with bad jokes and corny flirting. Ianto tried not to think about it.
Two months after Jack had left, Ianto allowed himself the small pleasure of slamming the phone down on some obnoxious government official. Owen was walking past Jack’s office and looked in at Ianto sat next to Jack’s desk (none of them ever sat *at* Jack’s desk) He said, “Honestly, I don’t know how you manage to put up with those wankers, tea boy” and continued walking. Ianto realised that was the only apology he was ever likely to get. But somehow it was enough.
Later Ianto saw Owen wince and rotate his shoulder after sitting at the computer screen for a long time. Ianto made him a cup of coffee and broke out the good biscuits, as Gwen called across from her workstation, “Oi, what did he do to deserve chocolate chip?”
Four months after Jack left, Ianto realised that he was doing the same thing he’d done with Lisa. Struggling to keep the shell alive when the person he loved was already long gone. That day he went home early with a headache.
Four months and four days after Jack left, someone dropped a packet of Lemsip though his front door on their way to work (a fair distance out of anyone’s way). Ianto went back to work that afternoon.
Five months and a week after Jack left; Tosh came to work half an hour late with a daft grin. Owen spent all day “covertly” looking for “any dodgy alien stuff”. This led to Tosh slapping him, much to the amusement of Gwen.
Six months after Jack left, and somehow, it was okay. They managed the workload, Myfanwy was getting better. Ianto had whole days without the urge to shoot Owen again. Gwen still managed just about to keep her relationship with Rhys going. Tosh was full of excitement about the latest alien tech. Owen regained some more of his pre-Diane personality, which on reflection was probably a good thing, at least this Owen didn’t climb into cages with Weevil’s.
And Ianto got better at not thinking about Jack.
At least while he was working anyway.
Six months, three weeks, and two days after Jack left, he came back.
Ianto was opening up the hub, Tosh arrived with him having needed a lift into work after an incident involving two Weevil’s and a pet rat called ‘Bonkers’, which had written her car off, and there he was standing in the main hub.
“Miss me?” he asked with the same cocky grin as always.
Something in Ianto finally broke. He was only vaguely aware of Tosh shouting something and of her movement. He sank to the floor, and put his head in his hands. After that it was just a blur.
When things became clearer, he was sitting in Jacks office with Tosh, someone had made him a weak, sweet tea. He hated tea but he sipped it anyway. He could hear Jack and Owen arguing in the main hub, Gwen could be heard trying to mediate, but Ianto couldn’t make out any individual words, until Owen yelled, “For god sake Harkness, give the poor bastard five minutes will you.” And then he could hear footsteps coming up towards them, Tosh squeezed his hand gently, eyes asking a question that Ianto didn’t have time to answer before the door flew open.
“Ianto? Are you ok?” asked Jack, he looked so worried and sincere that Ianto couldn't help but laugh. A sharp, brittle, sound that hurt his throat. He was afraid that he’d never be able to stop, but he felt Tosh squeeze his hand again, and he choked the hysteria back. Tosh gave him a brave smile, Ianto nodded back. He thanked her for the tea, he didn’t know if she’d been the one to brew it but it seemed likely. He tugged at the bottom of his jacket, feeling calmer as the material slipped easily back into place. He put on his best blank expression and turned to Jack.
“I’ll just go and compile the reports for the last six months Sir, I should have them on your desk by the end of the day.” He went to leave the office and Jack grabbed his arm.
“Ianto…” he began. Ianto looked at Jack hand and then up at Jacks face.
“Careful,” he said without a hint of amusement, “That’s harassment sir.”