Rating: NC-17 (very light NC-17)
Summary: Following the fall of Torchwood One, Jack Harkness went to ask Torchwood Three for a job. He didn’t expect to fall a little bit in love with its director, the practical and ever-calm Ianto Jones. He also probably didn’t expect that Ianto Jones would end up holding the answers to his most precious secret.
Disclaimer: TW & Co. does not belong to me.
Notes: There's a nod to a TV show and a nod to a book in this chapter. Props to anyone who gets them!
The Stars Might Stick You Where You Stand
Jack hadn’t even heard of Torchwood Three until last October, when Tom’s fiancée had gone to temp for them for a few months. From there, Jack had asked around and learned that Torchwood Three was some sort of ragtag operation in Cardiff, apparently known for being a bunch of “poncy-arsed gits running around trying to make friends with aliens”.
Having seen the leader of Torchwood Three shoot a Weevil in the head without so much as blinking, Jack is now fairly certain that Torchwood One had been exaggerating.
Also, they have an underground base.
“This is Suzie Costello, our engineer,” Ianto says, indicating the young woman leaning back in her chair, booted-feet propped on her desk, sticky bun in one hand. “Feet off the table, if you would, please.”
Suzie shoots him a vaguely disgruntled look, but complies.
“And Toshiko Sato, our technology expert,” Ianto says, now indicated the pretty young Asian woman sitting at a station with, fittingly, multiple computers.
“Charmed to meet you both,” Jack says, just as another young man emerges from above with a mug in hand.
“Fuckin’ hell,” says the man. “You didn’t tell us you hired a Yank, Ianto.”
“Owen Harper,” Ianto sighs, indicating the man with the vague wave of his hand. His sleeve goes up, and for the first time Jack catches sight of a thick leather wrist band. He wonders what it is for a brief second, then files it away for later rumination.
“Public relations?” Jack asks.
“S’doctor Owen Harper, thanks very much,” Owen grouses, giving Ianto a dirty look. “I stitch up your sorry arses every week, I’ll take some due respect.”
Ianto waves him off and takes Jack on a tour of the Hub.
Torchwood Three is small, free of politics and hierarchy, and clearly held together with chewing gum and twine.
Jack thinks it will be perfect.
He, Owen, and Ianto go out on a Weevil alert almost as soon as the tour is finished.
“They normally live in the sewers and keep to themselves,” Ianto explains as he drives the SUV down the streets of Cardiff with a recklessness that Jack can totally get behind, but hadn’t expected out of Ianto. “Occasionally, some of them go rogue and come topside. Those are the ones that we kill. Lately, they’ve been surfacing more, but we don’t know why.”
Jack frowns. “Why not take them all out in the sewers, before they can hurt anyone?”
Owen turns to stare at him incredulously.
“What?” Jack asks, confused. “It can’t be that complicated of an operation—you’ve got them contained in the sewers. Put up a story to keep the public out of the sewers for a week, use a heavy gas, throw in some air-neutralizing tablets a few days later, and incinerate like crazy.”
“Torchwood Three does things differently than One,” Ianto says, after a pause. “There must be thousands of Weevils in the sewers. Only a few per week come topside—that’s two to three percent of the population per year. We won’t kill an entire race because of a few oddballs.”
Poncy-arsed gits, indeed.
Jack wants to ask how many people are brutally killed by Weevils each year, how Ianto can justify the murder of humans for a species of alien that shouldn’t even be on Earth, how the Weevils, who appear barely sentient, can outrank precious human life.
Instead, he settles back in his seat and says, “Guess that Weevil-alert system’s pretty important then, huh?”
He doesn’t miss the glance that Ianto and Owen exchange, and mentally kicks himself.
Ianto kills the Weevil with three shots to the chest, just as it starts to charge them, and it’s dead before it hits the ground.
When they return to the Hub, Jack expects Ianto to send the Weevil down to the incinerator, but he’s surprised when Ianto orders an autopsy on the Weevil.
“We’re trying to find something in common with the ones who come topside,” Owen explains as he and Jack carry the Weevil down to the autopsy bay. “We try not to shoot ‘em in the head when we can.”
“Don’t you need them alive?” Jack asks. “For brain activity and…stuff?”
“Nope,” Owen says. They approach the table, raising the dead Weevil a little higher. “Got a scanner that gives a complete record of brain activity, s’long as the brain’s intact. Gift from Torchwood One, actually.”
“Torchwood One gave you gifts?” Jack asks, surprised.
“Ianto’s good at acting like a smarmy git, when he needs to,” Owen replies. “I mean, he’s a right git the rest of the time anyway, s’not that much of a stretch.”
They haul the Weevil onto the table with a thump, and then Owen kicks Jack out of the autopsy bay.
Jack’s pouring himself another cup of coffee (the sign taped to the coffee maker reads ‘Mrs. Ianto Jones’, so Jack assumes that the brilliant coffee that seems to magically appear twice a day is courtesy of Ianto), when Suzie approaches with her empty mug in hand.
She’s opening her mouth, clearly about to say something, when Ianto’s voice suddenly calls out from his office.
“Owen,” he says calmly, stepping out from his office. He’s holding a piece of paper in his hand. “If you want to try to backdate your paperwork, you must be sure to backdate both sides of it. And also place it in the pile chronologically, not with the rest of last night’s paperwork.”
“Buggering fuck,” Owen mutters.
“Ten on the bar by tomorrow at noon,” Ianto says pointedly, and then disappears back into his office.
“Pull-ups,” Suzie clarifies, at Jack’s confused look. “Standard punishment. Ianto’s a real stickler about timely paperwork.”
“So that’s what the bar in his doorway’s for,” Jack says, staring at the silver bar with renewed interest. “Huh. I like a guy who believes in physical punishment. What do you have to do to get a spanking?”
Suzie snorts and waves Jack out of the way, settling herself in front of the coffee maker. “He’s not going to let you fuck him, you know.”
“I’m really not picky about which end I’m on,” Jack replies.
“No, really,” Suzie says, turning as she pours. “The man doesn’t have sex.”
Jack frowns. “No.”
“Ever,” Suzie says, quite serious. “Owen used to call him The Robot—until Ianto overheard and got so mad he nearly fired him, that is, so don’t start using it yourself.”
Jack hadn’t been planning to. It seems out of character for Ianto to lose his temper over a bit of teasing, and he wonders if there are darker reasons at work.
Of course there are. Ianto’s records might put him at twenty-nine, but there’s no way he’s a day over twenty-six, and you don’t get to be the head of a branch of Torchwood at that age without something to back it up.
“But in all honesty, I’ve been here three years, and I haven’t seen him do anything beyond strategic flirting,” Suzie tells him. “The man lives and breathes the Rift. We think he even sleeps here.”
“He’s got to have had sex in the last three years,” Jack says, shaking his head. “No way does a man dress that well without the intention of having sex.”
Suzie shrugs. “Your funeral.”
Jack grins, eyes going to where Owen is sulkily doing pull-ups in the doorway to Ianto’s office. Jack wants Ianto. He wants to strip Ianto’s suit off with only his teeth while Ianto’s hands are tied above his head with his own tie. He wants to pound Ianto into the mattress, feel him jerk and shudder around him.
He wants to know Ianto’s secrets, pick them apart like layers of a pastry, and feel each and every one melt in his mouth.
Jack waits exactly two weeks before he puts his plan into action.
“Jack!” Ianto calls out from his doorway, paper in one hand. “Your report on the Hoix, a day late. Five on the bar by tomorrow at noon.”
Jack salutes snappily, and then returns to examining the photographs of the half-eaten pets they’d been finding these last few days. He tries and fails not to grin.
His field requisitions, due today according to the memo Ianto had sent around on Monday, aren’t even started.
He shows up in Ianto’s office the following morning before anyone else has even arrived.
“Damn, that smells good,” Jack says by way of greeting, nodding at the mug of coffee in Ianto’s hand.
Ianto looks up from whatever paperwork he’s working on. “My special blend.”
“Any left in the pot?” Jack asks hopefully.
“Sorry, only enough for one,” Ianto replies, with only the barest hint of smugness.
Ianto would have his own, private coffee supply.
Jack figures that he’ll be getting his own cup by next Tuesday, at the latest.
Setting down his pen, Ianto sits back in his chair and looks at Jack expectantly. Jack obliges and begins to take off his button-down shirt.
He sneaks a look at Ianto, who is as impassive as ever. For a moment, Jack considers providing some kind of nnn-tiss strip-beat and gyrating in time, but he decides that Ianto might actually dump the coffee over his head. No sense in wasting good coffee.
Once he’s clad in only his too-small undershirt, Jack places his hands on the bar and looks over to Ianto with a grin on his face.
“You need to do at least two in a row,” Ianto tells him, apparently unperturbed by Jack’s now less-dressed body. “Feet may not touch the ground, chin must be above the bar.”
“I normally do chin-ups,” Jack says as he pulls himself up for his first pull-up.
Jack frowns, chin over the bar. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Chin-ups work your biceps,” Ianto explains.
“They are quite nice, aren’t they?” Jack agrees happily, and does his second pull-up in one smooth movement to emphasize his point.
“Pull-ups target your back muscles, building actual torso strength and improving your balance and agility,” Ianto goes on. “Nice biceps aren’t good for much but looking fit with your shirt off.”
“Hey!” Jack protests, actually feeling a bit hurt at Ianto’s insinuation. “I do other exercises!”
“I suppose you bench-press as well?” Ianto asks, eyebrows raised.
“What’s wrong with bench-pressing?” Jack demands, furiously lifting himself up into his third pull-up. And how did Ianto know?
It must be his thick, impressively-toned chest.
Ianto looks amused. “Absolutely nothing, Jack. In fact, the rest of the team could learn something from you and your physical fitness routines.”
Jack attempts to figure out what could possibly be wrong with bench-pressing as an exercise, stewing furiously as he does his fourth pull-up. And then his fifth. And then he goes to do his sixth, when Ianto’s voice interrupts him.
“That’s five,” Ianto says, and Jack registers the sound of the alarm going off, indicating that someone else has come in to work. “Very good. Thank you. And since you came in early—Cardiff police have five new dead animals for us to look at, said we could drop by as soon as they opened. You can pick up some pastries while you’re out.”
Jack tries not to make a face.
He likes the Cardiff PD well enough; they’re easy to manipulate, and a good number of them have already gotten themselves off thinking of his body (there’s a look people get—Jack’s seen it often enough that he can spot it at a hundred paces). But it’s definitely not what he had in mind for this morning.
But, Ianto is the boss.
Jack squares his shoulders and turns, heading for the SUV.
Jack turns around, hoping that the next words out of Ianto’s mouth are, “Don’t be stupid, get your arse back in here and fuck me across the desk, you sexy, sexy man.”
“Put your shirt back on, please,” Ianto says, indicating the puddle of Jack’s shirt lying on the ground.
Jack’s field requisitions are two days late.
Ianto is suspicious.
“I never was the best with paperwork,” Jack says, faux-apologetically, as he does his third pull-up. “I was always late, at Torchwood One, but I had a boss who was even more disorganized than I was, so he normally just wrote it off as his own error.”
“I need paperwork to be on time for a reason, Jack,” Ianto replies. “I don’t just enjoy doling out physical punishments.”
“That’s a filthy, filthy lie, if I’ve ever heard one,” Jack says, grinning salaciously.
“Why are you here, Jack?” Ianto asks.
Jack raises an eyebrow, completing his fifth pull-up. “Because I was naughty. Naughty boys get punished.”
“I mean here, at Torchwood Three,” Ianto says. His gaze is penetrating. “Why come here, after everything that happened at Canary Wharf?”
Jack flashes him a grin. “Guess I’m just that kind of masochist.”
“You’re lying to me,” Ianto says calmly.
Jack feels a surge of irritation, but tamps down on it as he comes up on his seventh pull-up. He does his eighth, ninth and tenth pull-up in silence, and then drops to the ground, only slightly out of breath.
“Torchwood changes you,” he says, approaching Ianto’s desk. “It gets into your clothes, your hair, your skin, your dreams—until one day you wake up and you realize that Torchwood owns you completely, and you don’t even care. I’m here, Ianto Jones, because I couldn’t do anything else with my life.”
Ianto gazes at him for a moment, face as impassive as ever, and then says quite mildly, “You’re still lying, Jack. But you can go ahead and get started on the CCTV footage we got last night, of the creature. Tosh should be in within the next twenty minutes, and she can help you if you get stuck.”
Jack gathers his shirt from the floor and leaves Ianto’s office, an uneasy feeling rattling around in his gut.
Three days later, and Jack stands in Ianto’s office and strips off his button-down shirt, and then starts to go for his undershirt.
“Jack,” Ianto says from his desk, as Jack has his undershirt half-off. “Why are you taking your shirt off?”
Jack pauses and looks over to him. “I’ve got fifteen today. Might get a bit sweaty.”
Ianto sighs. “Jack… What are you doing?”
Jack’s mouth opens, but Ianto forestalls him with a hand.
“Here. In my office. For the third day in a week. Are you hoping to seduce me?”
“Guilty,” Jack says, offering Ianto a bright grin. “This has been a signature Captain Jack Harkness seduction. I knew you’d see right through it—”
“Will you give the flattery a rest, already?” Ianto snaps.
Startled by Ianto’s suddenly sharp tone, Jack stops. He wasn’t—okay, so he was, but it wasn’t like he didn’t mean it.
Ianto sighs and sits back in his chair. “Jack, I’m giving you a new punishment, since you’re enjoying your current one entirely too much. Late paperwork from you will now mean that you’ll be on the cleaning rota for the day.”
“Because I’m enjoying it too much, or because you’re enjoying it too much?” Jack asks, offering his absolutely best leer.
“I won’t date you, Jack,” Ianto says.
Jack frowns. “Well, I can settle for just sex. Really, I’m not normally a dating kind of guy, but I figured you were, so—”
“I’m not going to have sex with you, either,” Ianto says tiredly. “Sorry, Jack. Seduce elsewhere.”
“Why not?” Jack asks, genuinely curious.
Sometimes people say no to Jack Harkness. Then he finds out why they said no (not gay, not straight, already in a relationship), and fixes the problem. Then they usually say yes.
“Because I don’t date people who will settle for just sex,” Ianto replies.
“Well, actually, when I said that I’d settle for sex—”
“I said no, Jack,” Ianto says, quite firmly. “I know that your usually reaction to rejection is to bounce back with even more enthusiasm, but I’m quite serious when I say that I’m not interested. Please respect that.”
Jack stares at Ianto for a long moment, warring with himself, until finally he concedes.
“I’ll back off,” he finally says, taking a step back from Ianto’s desk and inclining his head. “Sorry.”
Jack has to turn around to get his shirt, and then trips over the grating. His cheeks burn with fury or embarrassment, he can’t tell which, and his hands won’t stop shaking until he’s down at the shooting range with a gun in his hands and the earmuffs over his ears.