Title: Lynchpin (1/7)
Rating: R/NC17 (for later chapters)
Spoilers: 1.04: Cyberwoman. Set after 2.09 but before series finale. Passing references to events throughout both series but nothing really that spoilery.
Summary: Torchwood Four want their lynchpin back. Just what has that got to do with Ianto Jones?
Disclaimer: Don't own 'em – unfortunately
Author's Notes: So far in this fandom I've written porn but not much plot – thought I'd put that right. So here are my ideas on how the Torchwood Institute would use people with psychic abilities. I liked the idea of using Torchwood Four for a while now... it's probably been done to death!
Captain Jack Harkness, he mused happily to himself, was fairly content. The rift was behaving itself, it wasn't weevil breeding season and he hadn't died once in the last four weeks. Throwing his pen onto his desk, just missing the report he had finished reading, he stood up and walked over to the window in his office, looking down to survey his kingdom: the Hub, and his subjects: the rest of Torchwood Three.
Gwen and Tosh were looking at photographs on Tosh's screen, no doubt a step-by-step run through of Gwen's honeymoon. Owen sat slumped at his desk, idly picking at a crusty stain on his t-shirt. He appeared to be doing a good job of ignoring the two women, only occasionally looking up in response to louder laughs or giggle fits. Jack pressed his lips together in thought; he never did have that talk with Owen regarding his rather ill-advised affair with Gwen. His internal hypocrite sensor kicked in as Ianto made an appearance, carrying a tray of coffee and looking exceedingly good in the navy pinstripe suit he was wearing.
Jack had learnt it was best not to interfere with the private lives of other people unless it was absolutely necessary. It had been a long and hard lesson to learn, but he managed it – most of the time. Besides, he was in no position to offer relationship advice. His eyes followed Ianto as the younger man handed out mugs. Their relationship could hardly be described as normal. It was too full of betrayal, hurt and passion to be easily categorised. Both of them had made
mistakes: Ianto with his cyber-girlfriend, wheedling his way into Torchwood Three to help his Lisa, but then Jack would be the first to admit that he was no saint. They'd made amends, kissed and made up so to speak, only for Jack take off and leave without warning to follow the Doctor. But since his return Jack had thought they had become closer, their relationship stronger, deeper than before.
However, Ianto had been quieter since the wedding; Jack had initially thought his lover was sulking over his admittedly less than platonic interactions with Gwen. Ianto had assured him that he was not concerned with such trifles; that he was a not a delicate wallflower who needed constant reassurance of what they had together. He didn't need or want mollycoddling or to be treated with kid gloves. Jack had been convinced at the time, but during the last few days Ianto had withdrawn further. They would have to talk. And soon.
He noticed Ianto rub the back of his neck, a flicker of pain shooting across his boyish features. Maybe, thought Jack, Ianto needed a break, time away from the Hub.
All thoughts of holidays and relaxation fled as Ianto crumpled to his knees, his hands clutching his head. Jack was out of his office and down the stairs in a heartbeat. Owen was already at Ianto's side trying to get Ianto to answer his questions, but Ianto said nothing, preferring instead to keen in pain. Suddenly Ianto stiffened, his eyes rolled back in their sockets and he collapsed forward in a dead faint.
Jack stood with his arms crossed over his chest, his face contorted with worry as Ianto lay motionless on the autopsy slab. Owen flitted around them, measuring Ianto's vital signs and muttering impatiently to himself. "I don't get it," he said suddenly. "There's nothing wrong with him. There's no reason I can see why he's out cold."
"There must be something, Owen. Grown men don't just collapse for no reason."
"I am a doctor, Jack, I do know that!" Owen's reply was terse, a real sense of uncertainty in his voice, Jack knew Owen hated not having the answers; he seemed to be taking Ianto's collapse as a personal slight against his medical credentials.
Before Jack could answer, Ianto groaned. Owen rushed to his side, placing a hand on his shoulder; Ianto looked confused and tried to sit up. "I don't think so, Ianto. Stay lying down for now," Owen ordered gently.
"Look, I'm fine," Ianto insisted, sighing irritably.
"Until I can guarantee Jack," he said pointing over his shoulder, "that you aren't gonna keel over again anytime soon you're staying put."
Jack could see Ianto open his mouth to argue but he fixed Ianto with a glare and he relented. "I supposed it would be prudent," he said sullenly.
There was something about Ianto's quick compliance that struck a chord with Jack. Ianto Jones submitted to nothing or no one without a fight. He watched as Ianto let Owen conduct a number of tests including taking an additional blood sample without complaint.
"Well," said Owen, not looking up from his monitor, "you appear healthy enough. There's not much else I can do."
With a tight smile Ianto sat up and pushed himself off the slab. "So am I allowed to return to work now?"
Owen shrugged. "I can't see why not."
For once Jack decided not to interfere and allowed Ianto to return to work, mindful that in Ianto's current mood his concerns might be construed to be something else. He retreated to his office, changing one of the CCTV screens there to show the output of the internal cameras rather than the ones on the Plas.
His mobile rang, he recognised the number – the PM's office. "Ma'am?" he answered politely.
"Captain Harkness, this is Philip Henshaw."
"I'm afraid I don't know the name," he answered cagily, thrown by the unfamiliar and distinctly unfeminine voice.
"No, I don't suppose you do," the man replied, an edge of smugness in his tone. "I'm in charge of Torchwood Four."
Jack's brow crinkled. "What?"
"You heard me. I'm afraid I have a request that I believe you're not going to like. We want Jones. My team will be arriving in Cardiff tomorrow."
"Yes, Ianto Jones."
"Tell me, Captain, has your Mr Jones been suffering from headaches lately, perhaps even blacking out?"
Jack didn't like the other man's tone. "Just what is this about?" he demanded angrily.
"Torchwood Four needs its lynchpin back, Captain. Albeit temporarily."
"I'm afraid you're going to have to give me a better explanation than that. You can't just call out of the blue and say you intend to descend on me and my team without a by your leave."
"Talk to Ianto."
"I'm talking to you," snarled Jack, his temper getting the better of him.
"We'll talk tomorrow." The line went dead.
Jack threw his mobile onto his desk in frustration. He flung open the door to his office and bellowed: "Ianto, get up here now!"
"Who the fuck is Philip Henshaw?" growled Jack as Ianto shut the office door behind him.
If Jack hadn't been watching for a reaction the slight tick in Ianto's left cheek may have passed unnoticed. "Is that a rhetorical question? You obviously know who he is or you wouldn't be asking."
"Ianto, this is not the time," Jack warned. "Just tell me what you know."
"Philip is the leader of Torchwood Four. Well, he was last time they chose to publically reveal themselves to the rest of the organisation. That was in the late nineties – things might have changed."
Jack scowled. Trust Ianto to dabble in semantics. "Tell me something I don't know. What is your connection to him?"
Ianto's face was expressionless. "That's classified."
"Classified!" roared Jack. "You'd better start unclassifying it, Ianto, because Henshaw and team are due to arrive here tomorrow."
Ianto looked thoughtful, although not cowed by Jack's display. "Here?"
"Here," Jack confirmed. "He also said he wanted you. That Torchwood Four needed its lynchpin back. What do you make of that?"
"Maybe he's heard about my coffee," Ianto deadpanned.
Jack slammed his fist hard onto his desk. "For fuck's sake, Ianto. What is going on?"
"I can't tell you," Ianto shot back. "It would put their lives at risk."
Ianto sank into the chair by Jack's desk. He looked up and Jack saw he was truly torn. "It's better you don't know. There are things about me that I don't want you to know... things not even you can understand."
Dropping to his knees in front of Ianto, Jack tried to close the gulf that was threatening to stretch between them. He took Ianto's hand. "Please, tell me. There's nothing you can tell me that will shock me, or make me feel less for you..."
"This isn't about us," Ianto replied quickly. "This is solely Torchwood Four business."
But Jack couldn't accept that as an answer. "I need to know what they want of you, what they expect when they get here. Henshaw told me to talk to you, Ianto. He must have expected you to tell me something."
Ianto gnawed his bottom lip, looking apprehensive. "Okay, but you're not going to like it."