"I thought I should apologise for shooting you."
Owen blinked at Ianto, entirely taken aback. "Well. I suppose now that we know the world's not going to end and our boss has vanished into thin air, it's nice of you to say sorry."
Ianto's mouth twitched. "You'll notice I didn't actually say sorry. I just acknowledged the possible need for it."
Owen snorted, and swivelled around in his chair a little. "Did you come over here just to be rude? Because I can outdo you at that on your worst day. Just clear away the coffee mugs and stop wasting your time."
"Ah yes, I should have known it would be a waste of time," Ianto said, unruffled, and turned to walk away.
It took only a few seconds for Owen to stand up and interrupt him again. It was late, Jack was missing, Gwen and Tosh had gone home, and there wouldn't be a better time to ask the question that had been bugging him for weeks.
"I don't get you."
"That doesn't surprise me in the slightest," Ianto didn't even look at him as he answered. "Do you mean in general, or is there something specific that's bothering you?"
"Well. When we were… before you shot me," Owen began, awkwardly, and couldn't work out how to go on for a moment. He expected Ianto to interrupt with another snide comment, but he just stood there, waiting. "What I said about you and Jack and… being his part-time shag… I was just throwing it out. Trying to hurt you. But then when he came back, I saw you two…"
"Ah, right, yes," Ianto nodded, with only the slightest trace of embarrassment. "You guessed right."
"Yes, I noticed," Owen nodded. "The thing I don't get is, though. If you and him really are together, why was I the one who wanted to open the Rift to get him back? And why were you the one who was ready to shoot to stop me from doing it?"
Ianto sighed, put down the rubbish bag he'd started to fill and walked back towards him. "Firstly, I don't think we've ever been 'together', and even if we're going to call it a part-time shagging arrangement, at the moment it's one that should definitely be in the past tense."
Owen's shoulders tensed just a little more at that reminder, and he shifted on his feet.
"And secondly," Ianto continued, with a sympathetic look that Owen didn't really care for, "I would thought you of all people would understand why we took the sides we did that day. I may be the one shagging him, but why would you think that means I'm the one who cares about him the most?"
Owen pressed his lips together and refused to look up. Ianto almost felt sorry for him.
"If it helps, I could remind you that the day after I shot you, the two of us were in complete agreement about wanting to kill him."
"And I was the one who pulled the trigger." Neither of them seemed to know what that meant. Owen covered his face with his hand.
"He came back. Twice."
"Fat lot of good that did now he's gone again."
"He might come back." Owen didn't seem to find that very comforting, and Ianto took a deep breath. "And even if he doesn't, well, you and me, we'll get by."
Owen was certainly a little surprised by the hug. He was annoyed because Ianto should be the one who needs a hug, what with his… with Jack having disappeared just after coming back to life just after averting the apocalypse. He was annoyed because he didn't like Ianto and he hated letting Ianto seeing him vulnerable. This wasn't the way it was supposed to work. He wasn't supposed to need comforting, or to let anyone comfort him with anything other than alcohol and sex.
He wasn't supposed to like hugs, and he wasn't supposed to hug back. But this time, he did, and he gripped his arms around Ianto's waist, buried his head in the taller man's chest as Ianto gently ruffled the back of his head. For a moment, with nobody watching, he let himself just let go.
A minute later, without any warning, Ianto gently pulled himself away, picked up the empty mug on Owen's desk and began to walk away without even looking at him.
"Ianto…" Owen couldn't quite let him just walk away without saying something. He spoke haltingly, hands in his pockets and shoulders hunched. "I should… um… I should, as well…"
"I forgive you," Ianto said, with a pleasant smile.
Owen blinked at him.
"Given that you're not used to apologising, I thought I should jump in with the response before you hurt yourself."
"I hate you," Owen added, helpfully.
"I hate you too," Ianto said, his pleasant smile not budging an inch, and resolutely walked away.
Owen finally turned back to his work. Surprisingly, they both felt better.