"Shouldn't someone be checking on Toshiko?"
No cuddling or afterglow. Just a statement that had the force of an order. Ianto was still struggling to produce a coherent sentence and get his breathing under control while Jack was already clad in his Captain persona, if not the actual clothing.
"Tosh? She's fine. I know she was upset…."
The rest of that sentence would have been "… and it's your fault," but they'd already had that conversation earlier in the evening, shortly after the latest incident, which was the reason Jack was so concerned about Tosh's well-being in the first place.
Things had been fairly uneventful in terms of alien activity since "Mary" had been blasted off to her fiery demise. What should have been a period of relative peace turned out to be more like an x-rated soap opera.
With too much time on their hands, Gwen and Owen couldn't seem to keep those hands off each other. Ianto had seen them making love, for want of a better phrase, in the greenhouse, the morgue and most offensive to Ianto's sensibilities, Jack's office itself. On each occasion, he reported the incident to Jack, whose responses ranged from a wistful grin to a casual shrug and finally a request for the CCTV footage, rather than the outrage and reprimands that Ianto would have preferred.
Jack couldn't seem to see any problem with two of his employees shagging themselves senseless all over the Hub, and probably thought Ianto was hypocritical for brining it up at all, considering what had been happening between them before and after Lisa's death.
All Ianto could do was wait for the inevitable day when it was Toshiko who made the unwelcome discovery and Jack had to deal with a full-blown nightmare of wounded feelings from his technological wizard. Today was the day.
It hurt to see Tosh in so much pain, but at least Jack finally had to deal with the situation besides just shrugging and putting it down to Torchwood. He managed to keep the smirk off his face long enough to chastise Owen and Gwen for doing it in the loo for god's sake, although not nearly as strongly as Ianto would liked, and then put on his most sympathetic face as he told Tosh to go home early.
When they were alone in the Hub, Ianto had confronted Jack, demanding an explanation.
"How could you let this happen?"
He was hoping for an admission that hiring Gwen had been a mistake, or at the very least that Jack should do a better job of protecting the people who were already working for him.
"I thought I'd get there first."
That was Jack's version of remorse; telling Ianto point-blank that he had every intention of fucking Gwen, and was merely annoyed that Owen had beaten him to the punch, precipitating Tosh's emotional ordeal.
Ianto assumed his dismay at this revelation had been obvious, leading Jack to smooth things over in the usual way. There was no possibility of saying no. His passion for Lisa became a more distant memory every time Jack touched him, but the fresh pain grew worse every time Jack acted like Jack.
"Just go over to her flat and make sure she's okay."
Now, he decided Tosh was worth his attention, although not enough to make the trip himself, or even pick up a phone for that matter.
"I could call," he offered, hoping to put off the inevitable.
"She'd lie. Tell you everything's fine. I know how these things are. When you fancy someone and they don't seem to know you're alive. It hurts. You need to talk to someone who understands."
It was impossible to imagine Jack experiencing that. His so-called sympathy was an affront to anyone who'd actually suffered a broken heart.
Fine, then. This was Torchwood and Jack gave the orders, meaning that Ianto was shortly dressed and heading out in the rain, mentally cursing Jack before turning his mind to the assignment.
He was still convinced that after her initial outburst, which had including some very creative cursing in at least two languages, Tosh had gone home and composed herself. She was currently reading or doing research or even watching something mindless on television. She was most certainly not sitting in a darkened room brooding over the carnal activities of Owen Harper.
Two tentative knocks produced no answer. Ianto had already used a key to get this far, but didn't feel right walking into the actual apartment. He was tempted to go back to the Hub and tell Jack that Tosh had been out, with friends, leading her life.
Why kid himself? None of them had anything outside of Torchwood, except Gwen, which made what she was doing with Owen even more appalling than simple infidelity. One minute she'd be casually mentioning Rhys, throwing her "normal" life in all their faces, and the next…well the next Tosh was finding out exactly what could be done in a bathroom stall, so here he was and here he'd stay until he made sure she was all right.
The door opened. Tosh stood there in bare feet and a black sweater dress; she had obviously been crying.
"Did Jack send you?"
Her voice was quietly devastated, but Ianto could hear a bit of defiance. Good for you, Tosh. Don't let the bastard (or the bitch for that matter) get you down.
He nodded, knowing there was nothing he could say that would make this better. All he could do was lead Tosh back into her own flat, and resist the urge to turn on the lights. Instead he went to the kitchen to make tea.
How many times had he played this scene when he was at Uni? Or even when he was traveling with the band. Aside from humping amps and scoring drugs, his designated role had been dealing with ex-girlfriends and abandoned groupies. Jack had picked the right man for the job whether he knew it or not.
First the tea, then the ego bolster in his most soothing voice.
"He's not worth it."
"You're hardly one to talk," she snapped back, taking Ianto by surprise. Her anger was supposed to be aimed at Jack and Owen and Gwen, not at him. He was the good guy, and if Tosh was going to make cheap shots about Lisa, they were heading for trouble, except he realised she wasn't. So much for any illusions that his and Jack's relationship was a secret.
"Jack's given them a both a thorough talking to. Nothing like this will ever happen again."
"Bollocks," she announced succinctly, shocking Ianto with her vulgarity. "Do you know where Gwen is right now? I do. Her car is parked outside his apartment building. They're probably having it off right now. And they're going to keep on doing it. She told me that herself."
Ianto didn't bother asking how Tosh knew the whereabouts of Gwen's car or Gwen herself. Torchwood could find anybody, anywhere, anytime.
"It's funny," she continued, picking up her tea, "you don't plan to be a stalker, do you? It just happens. You want to know everything. Where? When? How many times? Why her? Why her, Ianto?" Tosh's voice was rising in pitch. "What makes her so bloody special?"
"I honestly don't know," he said. He'd been against bringing Gwen into Torchwood from the beginning, and that was before he'd been forced to hear Jack's crude intentions. He just couldn't understand what an overly curious PC brought to the organisation. "You're far prettier." He honestly believed that, although perhaps he wasn't the best one to judge a female beauty competition. The words "and cleverer," were on his lips, but that was probably the last thing Tosh wanted to hear.
How could she not know how amazing she was?
"Owen Harper is a bloody fool."
So true. For so many reasons, not the least of which was the fact that he'd never acted like Ianto was worthy of his respect. Not that Ianto cared, mind you, but having his friend in this much pain, brought back every slight and sneer he'd suffered since arriving at the Hub. Sometimes he still wished that Lisa had….no, he wouldn't think that, because then Jack wouldn't have been able to forgive him, if he actually had.
Tosh had started crying again. Ianto reach out to hold her to his chest, continuing to speak soft words of encouragement, stroking her hair and even rubbing her back gently. Standard operating procedure, but also a renewal of the connection he'd felt briefly when they were barricading themselves against those cannibals. Before that, there hadn't been time to forge a friendship when he was busy trying to make sure she didn't discover Lisa, and in the months since then, they'd each been dealing with their own pain, in their own private ways.
Ianto felt Tosh's breathing return to normal as the crying subsided. Mission accomplished. A good cry and a friendly word. She'd get some sleep and show up for work in the morning. Maybe things would be tense for awhile, but there'd be a new threat soon enough to pull them all together. Either that or they'd kill each other by the weekend. It would be all right, as long as he died with Jack.
In the meantime, he could return to the Hub with Tosh's tears on his jacket as proof that he'd done his job.
Ianto planned to stand up and suggest that Tosh go to bed, but before he could move, he felt Tosh's hand come to rest on his upper thigh, causing his body to tense up. He told himself he must be misunderstanding, but he wasn't. Tosh had started kissing her way up his neck, while her hand moved inexorably toward his crotch.
He couldn't respond; wouldn't let himself because this was exactly how things had started with Lisa. A late-night comfort session between co-workers that had gone too far. The only one who'd been more surprised than Ianto was the man he'd been ostensibly dating. He'd never considered himself bisexual. It was just that Lisa needed him so much and he needed to be needed. Before that, only men, and afterwards, only Jack.
"I'm sorry," he managed to choke out. "I can't do this."
"You said I was prettier than Gwen."
"You are. I promise. A hundred times. And far too clever to need to prove it this way." Her eyes narrowed. Oh hell. Never tell a smart girl how smart she is. "It's not you, it's Jack! I'm with Jack."
Tosh's expression changed to something between incredulity and pity.
"He fancies her too," she said spitefully, as if Ianto didn't know that. "And I know he was with Suzie before you and Owen before that. He's always got someone around the Hub and god knows how many outside. Face it, Ianto. Jack doesn't care if you sleep with me or not."
Jack would do it in a heart-beat, of course, as much as he hated to admit it, and then the real horror hit him. Jack wanted him to do it. That was the reason he'd been sent here. He'd whored himself to Jack to save Lisa and now Jack was attempting to pimp him out as though he were some kind of gigolo. If he was supposed to be flattered, he wasn't. All he could fee was a mixture of anger at Jack and chagrin at his own stupidity.
Tosh had obviously sussed out Ianto's lack of sexual interest, one more wound to add to the day's pain.
"I'm sorry. This isn't what I…if you want to talk…I can…"
She shook her head, fresh tears forming in the corners of her eyes.
"You deserve better," he muttered, knowing he'd failed to provide any solace whatsoever, another thing Torchwood had taken from him. More fuel in his developing anger.
"Go!" Tosh demanded. Quite rightly. "Tell Jack…tell him I'll be in tomorrow."
Ianto had a lot of things he intended to tell Jack, but Tosh work schedule wasn't high on the list.
Jack, of course, appeared to be having a fine time on his own. He'd made popcorn and was watching a movie, while tossing kernels up to the pterydactyl. Their pterydactyl, damnit.
"Hey, you're back early. You could have stayed the night, you know. Made her breakfast or had a…."
Jack stopped in mid-sentence. The expression on Ianto's face combined with his no-doubt unwelcome return must have told him what had or more importantly what hadn't happened.
"You miserable bastard! How could you do that to me?"
His volume sent the Hub's resident pet flying out of range and even seemed to take Jack by surprise.
"I gave you a job to do. A pretty cushy one if you ask me."
"That's not part of my job."
He could only feel a mixture of shame and outrage in the face of Jack's raised eyebrows, cruelly reminding Ianto that he'd been the one to imply that he'd provide sexual services, an offer that Jack had accepted with perhaps more gusto than Ianto had expected.
"This is Torchwood. We take care of each other. All I asked you to do was help a friend."
The weight of Jack's disappointment was so crushing that Ianto actually considered apologising until he realised exactly what Jack was saying.
"Do you really think you can fix anything just by sticking your cock in it?" he exploded.
"It worked for you, didn't it?"
There it was, out in the open. He'd be sick any minute, he thought, wondering if the night could possibly get any worse.
"Then why the hell didn't you go over there yourself?" Suddenly Jack's bravado and arrogance seemed to seep away, leaving him genuinely uncomfortable with the question. Ianto was unwilling to let go of this minute advantage. "Come on, Jack, why send a rank amateur when the master is available?"
Jack let out an exasperated sigh.
"Toshiko…she's been through a lot. You saw how she was with Mary. She tends to latch onto people and fall in love too easily." Great. Not just a pity fuck, but one that Jack was more than willing to turn over to the hard luck case. "You two would be good together."
"You can't play with people's lives like that."
It wasn't that Jack didn't understand him, he thought watching as Jack put on his coat, not bothering to ask for Ianto's assistance. It was more like Jack couldn't even hear the words.
Ianto watched him leaving with his usual determined stride, like a man with a mission, presumably the one that Ianto had failed to complete. With Jack's parting words, Ianto found out that his night could deteriorate further.
"I didn't want her to end up like you."