Notes: The full oneshot for #79 of 'Snapshots of Smiles.' References the Tosh/Mary episode, lightly.

Team Politics

Jack stopped his path over Ianto's shoulder, and stared down at the small scar in the crook of Ianto's elbow for a moment.

"What?" Ianto asked, sounding somewhat irritable that he had stopped.

"What's that?" Jack asked.


"That," and he poked it.

"Oh. Cigarette burn."

"You were attacked?"

"No. Was my cigarette. What've you stopped for?"

But Jack didn't continue, frowning at the mark until something clicked and he stared at Ianto instead, looking slightly nauseous.

"You did it to yourself."

Ianto didn't deny it.

That had been a week ago, and every day and night since, Jack found his thoughts drifting back towards those small scars. He wouldn't have - hell, he hadn't noticed them before. It was only because of what he'd been doing. And that made him wonder whether there were others.

But the bigger thought was that lack of denial. He had accused Ianto of self-harming, and it hadn't been parried. Ianto had simply asked if they were going to continue with the foreplay, or the interrogation, because if the latter, he would happily go home. And Jack - paranoid in those few seconds - had let it go.

Somehow, the idea of Ianto being alone now unnerved him.

It was a stupid thing to think. Jack knew scars. He'd lived a very long time, in many different societies, and he knew scars. And those scars on Ianto's arm were old - very old. Years old. They weren't anything like fresh, and in field work, surely they would have noticed fresh injuries? Owen would have in the physicals - Jack would have in their own, private 'physicals.'

But he couldn't help thinking it.

Jack held back his thoughts for three weeks - practically a record for him - but in the end, he couldn't do it, and he turned to Owen.

Normally, giving Owen any kind of fodder for teasing another team member was idiotic, and usually saved for moments of insane boredom. But although he was a twat in almost every single aspect of his life, Owen was an excellent doctor. His bedside manner left a lot to be desired - although it always seemed to work with Ianto, as they seemed to exist to piss each other off - but he took the health of his patients very seriously.

Even Ianto, unlikely as it seemed.

But when he approached Owen, and haltingly explained what he was worried about, the last thing he expected to get was a laugh.

"This isn't funny, Owen, it's serious!" he snapped.

"Yeah, right," Owen said. "How about you actually ask Ianto why he's got those burns?"

"I did ask, and..."

"And trust me, Jack, it isn't self-harm like you or I would think," Owen snickered. "Let's just say that when he was seventeen, Ianto was the same idiotic prick that every other teenage boy is. He used to be normal."


Jack jumped at Ianto's voice, though Owen simply smirked and had clearly seen him coming. Sometimes, Jack didn't wonder if the two of them were actually friends underneath all the snark and bitching.

"I'm not sure I want to hand over the coffee," Ianto said warily, eyeing both of them as if they were plotting something against him.

"Nah," Owen said, taking his cup anyway. "The Captain here simply needs an explanation as to why you've got burned arms."

"Elbows," Ianto corrected, and Owen raised the cup a little in acknowledgement.

"You said you..." Jack began.

"You did," Ianto corrected again. "But I did, sort of. It was a game of truth or dare, Jack. I was smoking, took dare, and Darren told me to finish the fag and stub it out on my skin."

Jack flinched.

"Why did you?!" he demanded.

"Probably because I was stupidly drunk," Ianto shrugged. "Teenage boys are gits, Jack, even you must know that. And I was a little bastard when I was a teenager. They'd have called me a hoodie these days."

It was a bizarre picture: the neat, orderly Ianto as a teenage 'yoof' with cigarettes and alcohol. Ianto didn't even break speeding limits, and it was difficult for Jack to imagine him smoking and drinking underage. But then, it was hard to imagine Ianto had a temper, and he certainly had that.

"So you didn't...?"

"I wasn't some harming little weirdo, no," Ianto rolled his eyes. "Believe it or not, Jack, I did once fit in with people my age."

"Once," Owen muttered.

"Shut it. And Tosh wants some of those green seeds from the flowering thing in the hothouse this afternoon," Ianto added. "Something about pheromones and weevil reactions."

Jack frowned, muttered something under his breath, turned and bounced up the autopsy bay stairs to talk to Tosh.

"Smooth," Owen said. "Does she really need them?"


"Right, I'll do that now," Owen said, draining the mug and putting it back on the proffered tray. "And by the way, you'll need to come clean about that scar eventually."

"Yeah," Ianto said, "but it's hardly a good idea when he's still twitchy after what Tosh told him she heard in my head, is it?"

"True," Owen allowed. "But I'm not covering for you forever."

"Yeah?" Ianto smirked. "I wouldn't advise dropping me in it, Owen. I have access to archives of poisons, and your coffee."

Owen gave him a mock-salute, pulled a face, and left.