Just One Thank You
"I'm not doing this anymore!" stated Ianto quite loudly one morning while everyone was strangely quiet, writing reports studiously. Everyone looked up from their work, a little confused and startled by this strange statement.
Jack got up from his desk and walked over to where Ianto was stood. Ianto was waiting patiently for some acknowledgement of his words and the discussion that would ensue.
"What are you talking about?" said Jack softly into Ianto's ear. He placed his hands gently on Ianto's arms to steer him away from the three pairs of eyes watching this scene unfold before them.
For one second Ianto resisted Jack's firm persuasion to move into the office, then he reconsidered and lead the way away from the rest of the team. Ianto had thought he wanted to air out his anger with the entire group, but he had decided just seconds before that this argument should be between Jack and himself. Jack was the man in charge after all.
Ianto planted himself directly in front of Jack's desk while Jack shut the door to his office so no one would hear them. Ianto had yet to look at his boss' face.
"What was that all about? Since when do you try and take on the whole team in an argument instead of coming to me first?"
Ianto couldn't hold onto his anger any longer. He thought he could have talked rationally to Jack about this issue, but Jack had just proved him wrong.
"I'm sick of being the dogsbody in this place! All I seem to be capable of in the eyes of you and your precious Torchwood is cleaning up after two slovenly pigs and two nice but untidy girls! I clean up after everyone, feed you, pick up dry cleaning, dispose of alien and human remains and change government files. No one here takes me seriously, and everyone takes full advantage. Some of you don't even realise what you're doing."
Ianto had started his speech loudly, and with force, but as he got to his last sentence he seemed to run out of steam.
"I quit. No one will miss me. No one has every just said 'Thank you'," Ianto looked at the floor as he whispered his final decision.
Jack watched Ianto. Ianto made no move to leave, he just kept his gave averted to the floor. Jack had been startled by Ianto's tirade. As he listened he realised that things had gotten out of control. It was true that Ianto got the shitty end of every situation, every mission, every encounter Torchwood ever made, and even those it didn't make eventually ended up at Ianto's door. Jack thought about his team and their interaction with Ianto. No one really acknowledged his presence – it was true, they expected coffee and food, but rarely requested, but demanded. Even Toshiko had fallen into that pattern, thought Jack doubted she realised it. Tosh would never intentionally act rudely to anyone or take advantage of them. Owen was a given for rudeness, he was downright nasty at times, and he treated Ianto like a servant since his first day, and continued to call Ianto 'Teaboy'.
A sigh interrupted Jack's thought, then a shuffling movement. While Jack had been deep in thought Ianto had gradually moved backwards towards the door, but hadn't managed to get it open yet.
"You're right," said Jack suddenly, determined that Ianto shouldn't leave until he'd tried to get him to stay, "I'm sorry. I've come to depend on you, too much it would seem. So much for saying I didn't need a butler. Please don't leave." Jack made a move to the side of his table to get a little closer to Ianto, but trying not to scare him.
"We can discuss this, talk it thought, work something out! I don't know what we would do, what I would do if you left. Say you'll at least think about reconsidering."
Jack's gaze bore directly into Ianto, watching for any sign of movement that he would open the door and flee, or even that he was reconsidering his position.
Ianto could feel Jack's stare on him. He didn't know what to do. He was torn between following thought with his anger and exiting the building, though he had no doubt that Jack would follow him wherever he went, or he could stay exactly where he was, look at Jack and calm down enough to resolve this like an adult.
Two minutes past and Ianto finally made a decision.
He grabbed the handle behind him and flung the door open before rushing through it towards the main cog door exit. Jack stalled for several seconds and pressed a button in his wall then he quickly followed his prey. Ianto made it swiftly up the concrete steps through dimly lit corridors to the tourist office, his tourist office.
Owen, Gwen and Tosh all looked up from their desks to see what all the commotion was about. As Jack raced towards the door he shouted "I've got everything under control. There's nothing to worry about. Keep up the good work," then he was gone.
Ianto dashed around as quickly as he could without knocking anything over. He went behind his desk to grab his personal belongings and finally his jacket and car keys.
What Ianto had failed to do when he arrived in the tourist office was press the small red button hidden beneath the desk which would have sealed the open door connecting the Hub to the tourist office. Which was how Jack managed to trap Ianto behind the desk, still struggling to get his jacket on. Unlike Ianto Jack had not forgotten about the small red button, which he pressed to ensure they wouldn't be disturbed.
"There's nowhere to go Yan, you're trapped. We're going to talk and sort this out. I know you're angry and hurt, and feel like the last place you want to be is here, with people who don't appreciate you, but I can't let you leave. We need to have a rational discussion."
"Sir, I can no longer work like this. It's as if you all leave for the day and when you return the following morning you find the Hub clean and tidy, and you imagine a cleaning fairy had been during the night and worked his magic. But it's just me!! Invisible Ianto."
Ianto backed away from his leader and ended up slumped in his chair. Jack made no move to comfort him.
"I haven't been fair to you. You chose to find me and be a part of Torchwood. But I haven't really allowed you to evolve as a member of my team. I know you, and what you're capable of. I will hold a meeting first thing tomorrow morning and set things straight with the others. And I'll do my bit. As of tomorrow you and I will be going through your induction field training. Weapons, hand to hand combat, species recognition and weaknesses. You won't be going on any missions for a while, but this'll be your first step towards working in the field."
Ianto made no movement to look at him or even get his jacket on properly.
"From now on all staff will help out with keeping the Hub clean. But I hope you'll still be willing to supply us with coffee? You're the only one who know how."
Jack stopped and just looked at his colleague. Ianto had lifted his head to stare speechlessly at Jack.
"I'm just sorry it had to go this far before anyone noticed, or you said something. I'm going to leave you to think about what I said and I'd like you to let me know if you're willing to give me, us another chance. Please."
With that Jack turned and walked out the connecting door just seconds after he pressed the small red button under the wooden desk. He didn't answer any of the questioning looks from the remaining team and sauntered back to his office. He told them not to disturb him before locking himself away in his office.
Jack sat at his desk and heaved his booted feet to rest on the desk as he sat. he pressed a button on his brown leather wrist strap which activated the CCTV which was installed throughout the Hub. He chose the correct setting before settling himself in his chair. He thought he was in for a long wait.
Four hours Jack watched Ianto sitting in his chair, thinking. Ianto hadn't so much as moved once since Jack's disappeared back to his office. Ianto still held his car keys in his left hand and his jacket was still hanging from one shoulder. Jack could only speculate as to the thoughts racing through Ianto's mind. If he hadn't tried to make contact in the next hour Jack was going back up there and try to talk him round.
Twenty minutes later Jack was shook out of his watchfulness by Ianto moving up out of his seat and walking though the still open connecting door. This was a positive sign. Ianto had made the first move, and what was more was he hadn't just picked up his comm., he was making his way to the Hub. He might not be moving very quickly, but it was progress.
Jack wondered what Ianto would say, how the conversation would play out, but he had a hard time imagining the outcome.
Another twenty minutes passed and Ianto still hadn't turned up. Jack was starting to worry. He switched the CCTV to the stairs corridor leading down to the Hub's only entrance. Ianto was sat on a step, his head resting on knees that were pulled tight to his chest . That was it, thought Jack, I've waited long enough, and he can't sit there forever.
Owen, Gwen and Toshiko had been called out to a breach of security at a local hotel due to another Weevil escapee. When the call had come through from PC Andy Jack had politely, but forcefully suggested hat the team should go and deal with it alone, so he could sort the problem with Ianto. That was three hours ago, and they'd reported there had been a hitch that was going to hold them at the hotel for several more hours. This meant the Hub was silent and there was no one to overhear or see what was to follow.
Jack ran to the cog door exit, but slowed to a wander when the alarm sounded and the metal door rolled open. Jack popped his head through the open space so he could see up the stairs. Ianto sat about five steps from the bottom in the same position as before. As his head was in his lap Ianto couldn't see Jack's head but he had heard the door open, so he knew Jack was there.
"I'm not quite ready to talk to you yet," mumbled Ianto.
"Well I am, and I think we've both waited long enough. I need to know what's going on in that head of yours."
"I'm still thinking."
"Well think quicker!"
"Do you still stand by everything you said? The meeting and the training?"
"Everything, yes. It's what you deserve. What I should have done from the beginning. But only you can make the decision to change what was to what should be."
Jack moved from the door and up the stairs to sit on the step next to Ianto. The step was colder than Jack thought.
"Aren't you cold sitting here? You have been here for a while."
"I've gone a bit numb, but I'm too busy thinking to worry about it overmuch at the minute."
"The others have gone to capture a Weevil stuck in a hotel across town. They'll be back soon."
"What are you doing?"
"Trying to distract you. You know they say that if you distract the mind with other things then it comes to a decision easier than if you ponder on it for hours like you have. So do you fancy a short distraction?" Jack wiggled his eyebrows as Ianto's head shot up to look in Jack's direction.
"I knew that would get you to look at me."
"I can't believe you sometimes sir. I'm almost on the verge of walking out of here for good, and all you can think to do is sexually harass me," said Ianto with a slight half smile.
"Oh you'd have never gotten through the front door!" exclaimed Jack gleefully.
"What do you mean?" said Ianto suspiciously.
"I took precautions to ensure that if you decided to leave, you couldn't."
Ianto raised a questioning eyebrow as if to say, please elaborate.
Jack sighed, "I couldn't let you leave, so I locked the tourist office door so you couldn't slip out when I wasn't looking."
"Very sneaky sir"
"You really should call me Jack you know. Especially if we're going to be working so closely together during your induction."
"I hadn't said I was going to agree to your terms."
"Ianto Jones. I Captain Jack Harkness hereby apologise for all your sad times since you started working here. And I would like to personally thank you for all the joy you've brought to my life by way of your fabulous coffee beverages. Since I tasted your sweet elixir I could never subject my taste buds to the devil that is instant coffee. Please tell me you forgive me for taking advantage of your generous nature, and say you'll come back to work?"
"Sir…I think you can stop grovelling. You obviously knew I was never going to leave as I never tried the door you sneakily locked. I-I agree to your terms but I'd like to make just one alteration."
"And what would that be Mr Jones?"
"Well Captain Harkess, please could you not speak to Owen about this? He'll only get worse than he is now. But might I suggest he's the first person to be put on nest cleaning duties for Myfanwy and Janet? For a whole month?" Ianto looked hopeful.
"Ianto? That's the least I can do. In fact we'll call it two months to see if he gets the message."
Ianto made to stand as he said, "Well I'll get back tow work then sir."
Jack grabbed his hand and pulled him back down to the concrete steps.
"Not so fast."
Jack placed his hand, still holding Ianto's to rest on his chest, just above his heart.
"From the bottom of my heart, Thank you."
When Jack had moved Ianto's hand it brought Ianto a short distance from Jack's face. Jack couldn't help himself, and his eyes slide down to stare hungrily at Ianto's lips. A minute passed and Ianto coughed, which broke Jack's spell, but he still had his eyes on Ianto's lips as he said, "Sorry. That could be classed as sexual harassment couldn't it?"
"Yes sir, it could," but Ianto kept his hand where it was on Jack's chest. Ianto's other hand came up and caught Jack under the chin, which brought Jack's eyes to look into his own.
"But so is this." Ianto moved swiftly and captured Jack's lips with his own. The kiss was more of a touch of skin to skin but before Jack could take it any further Ianto pulled away and released his hold on Jack's chin at the same time.
"You should probably fire me now," said Ianto slightly breathless.
"What was that?"
"That was…well you're Jack Harkness, you should know what that was."
"A kiss, yeah I got that, but-but it was a kiss from you!"
"Yes from me. But don't worry I won't be making the same mistake again," murmured Ianto haughtily. He struggled to stand again, to move away from Jack and back up the steps where he was safe, in his comfort zone.
Again, Jack grabbed Ianto's hand and pulled, but the difference was this time Ianto had twisted and he ended up sprawled untidily in Jack's lap.
Jack didn't give Ianto any time to back out, so he kissed him, hard and passionately. Ianto tried to fight Jack, but Jack quickly won by distracting him with his tongue as he softened the kiss. They could have stayed like that forever, but an unconscious thought tingled at the back of Jack's mind to remind him that his team could return at any moment.
Jack regretfully pulled away. He opened his eyes to see a lusty look linger on Ianto's face, who's eyes were still closed.
"Now I can't fire you, as we're both in the same boat."
Ianto slowly opened his eyes. He first saw himself sprawled undignified across Jack's lap. Ianto scrambled to right himself and sit on his own, but Jack had somehow managed to wrap himself around Ianto so he couldn't go anywhere unless Jack permitted it.
Ianto took a deep fortifying breath before he said, "Can you please let me up sir?"
Jack frowned and gave Ianto a hard stare.
"Jack?" said Ianto hesitantly.
"Better. And about time too." Jack smiled cheekily then helped Ianto to stand.
"If you're still ok with your decision you can finish for the day and get some rest. You're going to need your strength for the start of your training. And bring some gym clothing if you have any. You'll need them."
Ianto was still flustered by his recent passion and his brain had yet to fully engage. He mumbled a 'yes sir' and made his way to the tourist office. As he covered the last steps of the flight of stairs he heard Jack call,
"You're good Mr Jones, but you could do with some practice. I look forward to it."
'The cheek!' thought Ianto, so he shouted a response.
"I hope you'll kindly remember to unlock the front door so I can go home. I can't be at your mercy forever."
"I'll make sure it's unlocked before you get to the door."
"See you tomorrow then sir."
As promised Jack had unlocked the tourist office entrance before Ianto reached the office. Jack turned back to the CCTV monitor and watched Ianto leave Torchwood, and he monitored him all the way to his hours, just to make sure he got home safely.
He'd deal with his unappreciative accomplices when they go back, then he'd dig out the induction manual to refresh himself on the induction of a new worker. He might add some other elements to hopefully amuse himself, and Ianto if he was open to it, though that kiss could prove he most definitely was.