TITLE: Come for the Tragedy, Stay for the Comedy
AUTHOR: Erin Giles
DISCLAIMER: Torchwood is property of the BBC and RTD.
PAIRINGS/CHARACTERS: Ianto, Martha, Jack, Owen, Gwen, Tosh
SUMMARY: Sometimes when you work for Torchwood you have to laugh to keep from crying.
AUTHORS NOTES: An extra scene from 'Reset' that came to me while I was watching 'Smith and Jones' the other day and Martha mentioned her cousin Adeola dying at Canary Wharf. This is also a response to some people who mentioned the other day that 'fluff' was very out of character for TW employees. I tend to disagree I'm afraid.
"So how did you come to work for Torchwood then?"
It was an innocent enough question, said with all the cheer in the world as an attempt to breach barriers between two people that had been thrown together in a working environment due to unforeseen circumstances. But it still made Ianto hesitate with his hand resting on Jack's blue and white striped coffee mug.
"Did Jack seduce you into working for him over the remains of an alien?" Martha joked, sensing Ianto's unease.
Ianto considered lying, but what would be the point in that. He didn't have to tell her the whole truth. He could hope she hadn't heard anything about Torchwood One.
"I used to work for Torchwood One, before I came here." Ianto replied quietly as he continued on with the task at hand.
"Oh, I'm sorry Ianto."
No hope of her not hearing what happened then. He didn't want her sympathy but as he opened his mouth to politely excuse himself from the conversation she was speaking again.
"My cousin Adeola worked at Canary Wharf." Martha said quietly, leaning back against the table the coffee machine was resting on. "She was killed that day."
Ianto again stopped what he was doing, but this time he turned to look at Martha whom gave him a hesitant but encouraging smile in return.
"Nearly everyone was." Ianto admitted sadly. "I remember Adeola, she was friends with Lisa, my girlfriend. She was working on the free energy project at the time, the one that-" Ianto broke off, he didn't want to start assigning blame for what had happened now, especially not on Martha's cousin when she was trying to extend the olive branch.
"Lisa tried to persuade me to double date with her and Gareth once." Ianto let out a small laugh at the memory, which caused Martha to smile as well.
"She died too." Ianto interrupted, "She was only partially converted, and I stupidly tried to save her, but she was already gone before I dragged her out of the burning building." Ianto's eyes glazed slightly at the memory and Martha reached out a hand to him, squeezing his forearm as she gave him another tentative smile.
"Seems like everyone ended up here because of some tragedy or other." Martha sighed sympathetically.
"And here I was wondering if I would ever have anything in common with Owen." Ianto retorted.
Martha let out a bark of laughter and Ianto gave her a cheeky smile in return.
"We may have come for the tragedy but we stay for the comedy." Ianto told her, handing her a mug of coffee before he disappeared into the rest of the Hub with coffee for the others.
Martha watched him go; watched the way Jack's eyes lit up and Ianto's hands lingered longer than necessary when he handed over the mug; watched the way Tosh stopped what she was doing to thank him, bestowing a smile his way; watched the way Gwen put a biscuit on the tray as if in exchange for her mug of coffee; watched as Owen stole the biscuit on the tray along with his mug of coffee and then had to dodge out the way as Ianto tried to hit him over the head with his tray.
Martha smiled again as she watched Gwen offering Ianto another biscuit which he took gratefully, only to hand it over moments later when Jack started giving him puppy dog eyes. She observed as Ianto rolled his eyes before trying to steal Jack's mug of coffee which caused Jack to squeak in protest before biting the biscuit in half, shoving the second half in Ianto's mouth, taking the momentary distraction to wrestle his mug of coffee back. Gwen and Tosh both laughed as Ianto tried not to choke on the biscuit before Jack was turning towards Martha, who was also giggling in amusement.
"Martha!" Jack called, spraying biscuit crumbs everywhere. "My office."
Martha gave him a smile in return before pushing herself off of the workbench and making her way up the stairs, passing Ianto.
"I see what you mean." Martha whispered to him as she moved past him. She knew from her own job there was only so much she could put up with before she cracked, much the same way Torchwood did. So Jack made innuendo filled jokes, Owen teased Ianto and was purposefully mean, Gwen brought in sweets and biscuits to keep spirits high and Tosh smiled to keep from crying - while Ianto condoned it all. Because that was sometimes all you could do.