Notes: I'm re-watching Torchwood and having thoughts about Ianto after "Cyberwoman" and "Countrycide" led, oddly enough, to this. (Specifically, why Jack is all inviting Ianto to use his stopwatch for other things at the end of "They Keep Killing Susie", since it hadn't been that long after "Cyberwoman".) As for the pairing, all I can say is that my brain likes to go in strange directions.
This is set after "Countrycide", but also contains a little bit of information given in "Fragments", so spoilers through the end of series 2.

Rating: NC-17

Pairing: Ianto/Tosh

Disclaimer: Torchwood and the characters of the show are the property of Russell T. Davies, the BBC, and probably a few other people as well. I make no profit from this fanfic.

Ianto knows he's dwelling on Lisa and he can't stop, even though he knows he should. Right up until the end (until things went all pear-shaped and she was lost in the Cyberman programming and then killed that innocent delivery girl from Jubilee Pizza), he'd held out hope that she could somehow be fixed or repaired or -- made better, somehow.

He'd have been better off letting the dream die with her in Canary Wharf. Still, she's gone now; and not only that, but in the process, he's lost the trust of the team. Gwen's sweet and sympathetic; he knows she'll forgive him. Owen, he doesn't really care -- it's not as if Owen liked him before this -- and Toshiko... well, Tosh will take some time. Ianto can accept that. He genuinely likes Tosh, her sweet smile and steely mind, the way she carries herself -- so alone, so lonely. But it's Jack whose trust will be the hardest to earn again, and Jack whose trust he needs the most.

Until he met Jack, Ianto Jones never for a moment suspected he had any homosexual leanings. There were girls in school and at Uni: granted, not very many girls, because Ianto's not ever been a charismatic people magnet -- oh, all right, he was a geek back then as well as now, but at least girls occasionally appreciated his neat style of dress and his ability to wring humour from any situation. He'd had plenty of male friends, too, both straight and gay, but had never felt the slightest attraction to any of them.

Jack broke the rules, though, just like he always does. From the first time Ianto saw him -- recklessly pursuing him to try and win a position at Torchwood Three -- there was a spark there, an interest Ianto pushed down and tried hard to ignore. There was Lisa, after all, and besides, Ianto wasn't into men.

But now there is no Lisa. And Jack's cool, watching gaze brings heat to Ianto's face, especially when he remembers that kiss in the Hub. When he thinks of that, Lisa's the last thing on his mind.

When they get word of the latest disappearance in Brecon Beacons, Ianto volunteers to go along. He doesn't, as a rule, do field work. His function in Torchwood, while never clearly defined, falls more or less into the category of glorified administrative assistant: he makes the coffee, runs the desk, files paperwork, answers the phone, and keeps track of everything, whether it's the day-to-day blood pressure of everyone on the team or catalogueing the latest alien artefact washed out of the Rift. He's trained in the use of firearms as required by the position, though, and he wants desperately to earn back his place in the team.

On sober reflection later, he wishes he'd picked a different time to regain their trust. Not that any of them could have known or expected what they'd found in that deceptively tranquil village. Ianto doesn't probe his memories of it too deeply; shock has drawn a merciful veil over the worst moments of that black basement and the lying woman who'd led them to false sanctuary. Days after their return to Cardiff, though, he wakes with a raw throat and knows he was screaming in his sleep.

The fifth morning like that, Ianto just gets up when it wakes him -- at 3:17 a.m. -- and takes a long, steaming hot shower. He's still bruised and sore, though the lump on the back of his head has shrunk noticeably and is no longer tender to touch. He doesn't look in the mirror as he dresses. He knows how he looks: pale, washed out, with dark bags under his eyes.

He goes to Torchwood (because really, where else does he have to go) and lets himself into the Hub. Jack's away for a couple of days, he knows, dealing with something in London, so he's got the place to himself. He makes coffee -- the way he likes it, not supercharged with far too much caffeine -- and settles to some filing that's piled up. It's blissfully mindless work. Barely half an hour has gone by, though, when the door rolls open again. Ianto blinks and looks up as Tosh steps into the Hub. It's not quite 4:00 yet.

She looks around, clearly surprised to see the lights on already, and then catches sight of Ianto by the files. He nods to her; she lifts a hand in response. She's wearing a turtleneck as she has for the past several days; Ianto remembers all too well the dark ring of bruises around her neck, glimpsed when they were loaded into the ambulance. Gwen's report told in brief emotionless words how the bastard had gleefully continued to choke Tosh even after being threatened at gunpoint to stop. Ianto swallows hard.

"Want some coffee?" he offers, watching Tosh climb up and cross to her workstation. "It's the regular kind, not Jack's vile brew."

Tosh settles into her chair, and for just a moment, a smile flickers across her face. "That'd be lovely," she says, so Ianto leaves his files and goes to fetch her mug.

She's already deep into whatever she's working on when he brings the coffee. He sets it in the usual space, entranced for a moment by the speed of her fingers on the keys. He's a decent typist, when he focuses, but she fairly flies, every keystroke accurate and necessary. He glances up to the display: a window full of code overlays others that show CCTV of the false tourist centre upstairs and the plass above their heads. Little traffic this time of night. Morning. Whatever.

"What are you working on?" he asks. Tosh hasn't shooed him away or given him a nervous glance. He counts that a small victory.

"It's that translation programme I've been running," Tosh says absently. "It hasn't been getting anywhere, but I, I had this idea and I couldn't sleep anyway--"

She breaks off with a sudden look swung toward him. Ianto starts to step back, not wanting to push. After a moment, though, she presses her lips together, then reaches for Ianto's hand and squeezes it. Grateful, he returns the simple gesture.

"I almost wish I couldn't sleep," he murmurs. "Better than waking up screaming all the time."

Tosh's eyes are dark below her lashes. Ianto grasps the opportunity, reaching for a nearby chair and pulling it over to sit with her. Her hands are cold in his, but Ianto's don't feel much warmer.

"I hate this," Tosh says, quiet but forceful, with a little convulsive gulp. "I want to forget it, but every time I close my eyes, I see that room. Their eyes."

Ianto nods. For him, the nightmare image is that refrigerator full of meat, shapes too distinctive to be explained away as beef or pork. While he hopes he'll be able to resume an omnivorous diet sometime soon, for now he has gone very thoroughly vegetarian. Even the smell of meat cooking makes his stomach churn.

"Almost makes you want to take Retcon," he offers, and Tosh startles him with a choked laugh. He looks up -- his gaze had been fixed on her hands -- and sees the tear trailing down her cheek, swiftly chased by another. He doesn't even pause to consider the gesture; he just reaches up, letting his fingertips rest on her cheek, and brushes the tears with his thumb. It's something Jack would do, he thinks, and feels a twist of some unnameable emotion.

"You do need sleep," he says, "if that's enough to get a laugh out of you."

"Punch drunk," she suggests. He smiles a little.

"Why don't." He hesitates in the middle of the question, but Tosh is still watching him with her expectant eyes. He inhales. "Why don't we lay down? I think we could both use it."

There's a little room in the lower level of the Hub, tucked back behind Owen's surgery and the showers, that they use to crash in. It's fitted out simply; a bed and chair, a bedside table with a lamp. Owen calls it the on-call room, legacy of his time as a working doctor, but the rest of them have never bothered with a name. Usually, it's used when one of them needs a space to rest or simply be alone; Tosh kips in it when she's spent long nights with her head deep in code, and Ianto's found Owen in there a few times after jobs, too tired to drive home. The door is rarely closed, though, and Ianto doesn't shut it now. He doesn't like closed-in spaces much at the moment, a feeling he suspects Tosh shares. He does draw the door partly shut, letting in some of the light from without, and turns the lamp on as well before removing his suit jacket, which he neatly folds and lays on the back of the chair.

Tosh has sat down on the bed already, busily engaged in removing her boots. Ianto sits by her to take off his shoes. There's nothing sexual in this, he tells himself firmly. Tosh is like a sister to him. He respects her; he wants her to be able to sleep. He's grateful she trusts him enough for this.

When she looks at him again, almost shy with her head ducked down, Ianto simply nods. He scoots back on the bed, letting himself lay back with one arm out in what he hopes is invitation; after a moment, she accepts, curling herself to him. Ianto lets out a breath he wasn't aware he was holding and circles her with his other arm. She's warm, but she feels so small, trembling against him like a bird. Ianto strokes her glossy hair, hoping it's soothing. It's been a long time since he held a woman like this.

He's left the light on -- again, warding off the spectre of that black basement -- but its light is soft, not intrusive. Ianto closes his eyes and feels himself begin to relax. Tosh's slight weight anchors him, a palpable reminder of reality. When she shifts, he doesn't particularly notice it, at first, aside from the way she stirs him out of his mild doze. Then he feels the tentative brush of her lips on his, and he blinks, inhaling in surprise.

Tosh seems to take confidence in his response, because her next kiss is anything but shy; she takes his mouth, spreading her fingers over the side of his face, and Ianto winds his arm more firmly around her waist so that he can kiss her back, just as hungry. So much for being like a sister, he thinks to himself, dazed.

She whimpers as they kiss, mewling, her tongue sleeking into his mouth with no warning. Ianto understands at once. This isn't sexual. Or it is, but it's not about sex, it's about needing to feel human and alive. He slides his hands over her back, down to her waist, pushing up under the hem of her turtleneck. She puts her leg over him and lifts up a little, letting him slide the shirt up and off. In the half-light, he can see that her bruises have greatly faded, the burn where the shirt cut into her skin much less prominent. The necklace of bruises has all but disappeared. Tosh finds his mouth again the moment he's got the turtleneck off her, her own nimble fingers pulling his tie loose, unbuttoning his shirt.

They're hasty with each other's clothes: Ianto fumbles off Tosh's bra, and a strap catches on a healing cut, making her hiss, but she just kisses him again, harder, when he opens his mouth to apologise. She yanks his shirt open; a button flies off, and for once Ianto's just too distracted to care. He unzips her skirt but she pushes it up at instead of down, so that the fabric rides at her waist in a band, and wriggles out of her panties. Ianto shoves his trousers and briefs down all at once, and they move together while he works them down past his knees, Tosh pulling him, Ianto rolling with her, until she's under him and his hand is between them, guiding himself in and pushing all at once.

Tosh gives a helpless, raw cry. She sounds pained, but she doesn't draw back; if anything, she's pushing for more, locking her legs around him and grinding up against him when he rocks into her. Her nails dig into his back. It's nothing like Tosh, Ianto thinks dimly, but this isn't either of them, here in the dimness, taking out their pain on each other, trusting one another to withstand it all.

It doesn't last long, not as fierce and angry as this is. Ianto closes his eyes, surrendering to the burning rhythm driving his hips, hearing nothing but Tosh's low aching cries and his own rough gasps. When she slips a hand between them to bring on her desperate release, Ianto groans: it's too much sensation, her body bearing down on his, and he gives in to the inevitable with a last convulsive thrust.

He sinks to the bed beside her. For a few moments they're still, both gasping for air; then Tosh pushes to her side, turning away from him. Ianto doesn't even think about it. He moves with her, dragging the blanket up over them and curling an arm around her.

Tosh is still shaking a little. After a moment, Ianto realises that she's crying. He kisses her hair, cradling her. She's kept it all inside, put on a brave front for everyone. Ianto knows all too well the need to try and carry on, wanting that normalcy more than anything. He lets her cry.

When he wakes up, the door is still partly ajar and the lamp is on, but Tosh is gone. Feeling disoriented, Ianto gropes for his clothes and begins to dress. It's only when he's tying his shoes that it strikes him: he didn't wake himself up screaming.

When he's groomed himself and climbs the stairs to the main floor again, he sees that a few hours, at least, have passed. Gwen and Owen have both arrived, and the tone of their bickering suggests they've slept together again. (Subtle, they are not, despite their attempts to the contrary.) Tosh is back at her station. She's changed her clothes; Ianto recognizes the dark violet blouse and jeans, a backup outfit she keeps in her locker.

"Ah, there he is at last," Owen calls, as Gwen mutters something and stalks away from him. "How about some coffee?"

"On my way," he says automatically. He pauses, though, his eyes still on Tosh. She'd glanced at him at Owen's shout; now, she smiles, mouthing a silent 'thank you'.

Ianto nods, smiling briefly back at her - as much as to say 'Don't mention it' - and heads for the coffee machine. Tosh looks like she actually got some sleep. It's not over yet, but he thinks they're at least starting to take steps out of the dark.

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this page last updated on 4 december 2009