Notes: set after Cyberwoman, before any subsequent episodes. For x-Athenea-x.
Disclaimer: I don't own Torchwood and I am not making any profit from this work.
His suspension was supposed to be for two months, but after the team found that without Ianto's skills, the Hub ground to a halt, he was called back in. Tosh was glad to have him back, really - he was her friend, after all, and she couldn't really be angry with him. She felt sorry for him, and maybe a little jealous of Lisa. What she herself wouldn't give to have a boyfriend that loyal.
Things were tense and awkward, though. Ianto kept himself to himself even more rigidly than before, and didn't come down into the Hub itself until he had to feed Janet and Myfanwy. He didn't even make his sinfully good coffee or go into the archives any more. Gwen certainly seemed to want to avoid him, and didn't speak to him unless she absolutely had to. Jack radiated anger from every pore and avoided all of them, brooding in a way that made women look inefficient at the practice of sulking.
Owen, Tosh noted, seemed to be the one who dealt with it the best, really. He was a jerk, but then, he'd always been a jerk. To all of them, not just Ianto. He still called him names and rudely demanded to be let through the tourist office when he arrived, and wound the Welshman up about sitting there at the office desk looking like he was an average man at an average, boring job. But that had always been what Owen had done. Tosh didn't really understand how, but it was how he and Ianto communicated.
Somewhere in there, Owen was letting Ianto know that he got it. Not that Tosh knew how Owen would understand that. But he did, or could imagine what it felt like, and he left Ianto alone.
Tosh knew that Ianto wanted to be left alone now. She had been the one going out on coffee retrieval to Costa or Starbucks (if only because she was the only one with the patience to handle the new slow cashier there at the moment) and whenever she brought him coffee, it remained untouched. The first time, he couldn't have made it more obvious that he didn't want her attention if he'd slapped her and told her to bugger off.
He stayed silent, unreachable, and stiff.
Tosh knew he was scared. He was angry at himself, and ashamed, and scared, and grieving. He missed his girlfriend - and that term seemed so flimsy for what he'd obviously felt for her - and he was surrounded by people he'd nearly killed. He kept himself apart from them on purpose, even Owen and Tosh. Maybe he couldn't stand another attack, or maybe he couldn't trust himself not to lash out.
Tosh tried to make it easier for him, those first couple of weeks back. She bought him a coffee too when she went out in the morning to get them, and after about the ninth one, he finally started to drink them. She gave him a smile every morning when she arrived, and said goodbye in the evening. She even peeked into his file so she could congratulate him or console him appropriately when the rugby season ended. She didn't know he had a season ticket. He certainly hadn't been using it.
It was hard, though. Jack wouldn't budge, even as he started to relax again, and he kept watching Ianto warily whenever the young man did come down into the Hub. Even after Owen finally got Ianto to start doing coffee again, (mostly by storming up to the tourist office with a styrofoam cup of cold crap from the coffee shop on the high street, slamming it down on the desk and announcing that if he had to drink that crud once more, he was going to autopsy Ianto. Alive. And conscious) Ianto kept himself upstairs as much as possible.
Tosh wasn't sure, really, if the team was shutting Ianto out, or Ianto was shutting them out. Either way, it couldn't continue.
"You have to get Ianto back into the team," she tried telling Jack once, when they were looking over some CCTV footage together of 'bright lights' seen over a multistorey carpark. "He's going to...do something, otherwise."
"He's done enough," Jack said, obviously not really wanting to talk about Ianto, or what had happened.
"You know what I mean," Tosh said quietly.
"Yes, I do," Jack said firmly. "But what do you expect me to do, Tosh? Forgive him for nearly destroying everything that Torchwood works for?"
He had ended the conversation abruptly then, and Tosh decided that, really, it was up to her. And maybe Owen. But Owen was so wrapped up in his own issues and whatever was going on with Gwen that he probably wouldn't help. Helping wasn't really part of Owen anyway, not when it came to Ianto.
Tosh's little campaign began innocently enough. She needed this or that from the archives? Did Ianto know where he'd filed such-and-such a program on such-and-such a terminal, so she didn't have to go digging for it in the system? Could Ianto change Janet's feeding times so that Tosh could analyse a new behaviour?
From there, she stepped it up into offering to get something for the kitchen on her trip out for lunch. Sometimes she would bring back a sandwich and eat it in the office, using the (admittedly awful) excuse that Myfanwy would try and snatch it off her desk if she ate it inside. She tried small talk over the food, asking what he was doing on the computer, or about the abysmal Welsh weather outside.
Ianto wasn't stupid, but he also didn't question it. He never called her on what she was doing, just tolerated it. And, after a while (too long, really) he began to welcome it.
The first time Tosh saw a crack in his composure was maybe five weeks after Lisa had died. She had been at home, about to stick a ready meal in the microwave, and idly wondering if she should go online and play some silly internet games to take her mind off the day's work, when the phone rang.
Nobody ever called her on the land line. Only salespeople and occasionally her uncle when he'd forgotten to take his medicine and would ramble for hours at her answering machine about clouds or something like that. Still, she answered it anyway, because Tosh was just that sort of a person.
When a cracked, frayed voice came down the line, with a Welsh accent hovering over the vowels, she twigged.
"Ianto? Are you okay?"
"What's wrong? Has something happened?"
"Oh, just a bit," and a wet, choked laugh echoed down the line. "Can you come over, Tosh? Please? I...I don't..."
Tosh coaxed an address out of him, and dropped everything. She was pretty sure Ianto had been crying, and she'd only seen him cry twice. Once over Lisa's body, and the other time didn't even count because he'd just got jabbed in the eye by a particularly unpleasant alien and couldn't really help the tears streaming down one side of his face. And he'd sworn like a sailor too.
Sure enough, Ianto was a wreck when she found his flat. It was tiny, and bore the evidence of a tantrum, with smashed glasses and ripped up photos and papers. He wasn't crying anything, and he seemed awkward and edgy, but Tosh didn't really mind. She'd got him to find a film out of his vast, vast DVD collection and just sat with him.
He never spoke about it. Hadn't told her what had snapped, but she was pretty sure that if she hadn't gone over, Ianto wouldn't have been at work the next morning.
She spent the night there, and took him to work the next day, but she didn't tell the others. She didn't trust Jack to care, right now, and she was fairly sure that it was probably very embarrassing. He hadn't cracked again (to her knowledge) and he hadn't ever actually thanked her either, but she knew that that night had really cemented their growing friendship.
So when Jack told them they were all - all - going on this stupid mission in the middle of the countryside in not the most glorious weather conditions, Tosh had been the one to hunt out Ianto.
"Why does he want me on the team now?" Ianto demanded, almost bitterly.
"I don't know," Tosh said, and tried for a little humour. "Come on, Ianto. Don't leave me with the endless bitching of Owen whenever he has to leave the heart of a city? Please?"
Ianto had sighed, a little dramatically, and given Tosh a lot of hope that things were on the up at last. "Fine," he said. "We'll stick together, against Owen and the aliens."
It wasn't over. Tosh wasn't presumptuous enough to assume that Ianto's small smile and his lack of fuss over having to interact with the whole team meant that he was better. She doubted he'd ever be better.
But maybe he could be okay again.