A/N: Finally, an update! xD As I said in the summary, this story will have nine parts, each one centred around one of our beloved characters from Torchwood, figuring out that Jack loves Ianto. And Ianto is the last one to know. This was inspired by John Barrowman's version of the song 'I Won't Send Roses' (beautiful song!), and while I don't think the whole song applies to Jack, there was one phrase that stuck out, which inspired this story. So, here goes! Part I: Tosh contains spoilers for 1x12 "Captain Jack Harkness" and 2x04 "Meat". It was heaps of fun to write, because let's face it - who doesn't love Tosh! :D Enjoy!
I Won't Send Roses
And should I love you
You would be
The last to know
I. Captain Jack Harkness
Tosh wasn't stupid.
Far from it, of course – she was rightly named the Behind-The-Scenes Genius of Torchwood, the Computer Queen, the Maths Geek. Taking these titles into account, it was only natural that some might assume that Tosh would be far too absorbed in her technology to notice the goings-on of people around her – specifically, their interactions, or their emotions and feelings...
But Tosh had a secret weapon.
Tosh was, simply put, a female. And any female, even Tosh – quiet, dedicated, hard-working, sweet Tosh – could tell when two of her colleagues were acting... less than strictly professional.
Not that Tosh was surprised by such knowledge, when Jack Harkness was involved. He had collected a fair amount of titles himself, including the defining name of the Flirt. And yet, Tosh couldn't help wondering if this – this... thing that she had noticed... if it was more than mere flirting.
Ever since they'd arrived back at the Hub – Jack had sent Gwen home, and sent Tosh inside while he parked the SUV – Tosh felt rather than saw Ianto's burning glances at her. When she chanced a look in return, however, his eyes were always trained on the computer screen in front of him, looking utterly fascinated in his attempt to trace Bilis Manger.
Owen, on the other hand, was busy glaring at them both, although his gaze softened when Tosh wordlessly held out her hand for the metal container that he was dumping bloodied gauze into. Amongst Owen and Ianto's bickering, she felt a tension that was entirely separate from their argument about the rift – more personal. Tosh could see it in the way Ianto's shoulders tensed – or perhaps it was the sound of Jack's footsteps that did it. Anyhow, his eyes were suddenly stuck to the computer screen with what could have been the strongest alien super glue as Jack stepped up to their platform. He was playing by the book, Tosh knew – she'd acted out a similar pretence many times herself.
"It was wartime, I know... but it was beautiful," Tosh said with a soft smile crossing her face. Mostly to deter Owen, to stop him antagonising Ianto even further.
"There were angels dancing at the Ritz." Jack passed her, concealing his face, but there was no veiling the bitter knife edge to his words. More eyes burned into her, from both Ianto and Owen this time.
"Jack –" Owen started, but Tosh interrupted.
Owen, predictably, watched as she followed Jack into his office, but that didn't mean anything – he was only dead curious as to what had happened. But Ianto... his eyes darted from her to his computer to Jack's office again so quickly that Tosh wondered how he could see anything – and that was coming from Tosh, whose eyes could scan a computer screen faster than you could draw breath.
Oh yes, there was definitely something there.
Perhaps it was just the whiskey running through her veins, but a sudden confidence rose up through her throat, bringing words with it.
"He's worried about you, you know," Tosh said casually, watching Jack innocently. Jack lowered his glass marginally, and she inwardly celebrated at the flash of surprise in his eyes, which was quickly blinked away. He didn't say anything, but turned his head to look out of the glass wall of his office.
And Ianto was caught, having just tried to sneak another glance. Tosh was silent as Jack and Ianto stared at each other, for no longer than a few seconds – and though Jack's eyes were near unreadable, his features softened ever so slightly, and the corner of his mouth was trying to quirk upwards. But then Ianto ripped his gaze away, even turning his body away to angle closer to the computer, and Jack gave a small sigh, swirling the amber liquid around in his glass.
"He was right, to shoot Owen for opening the rift."
Jack turned his bright eyes back onto Tosh, a tiny humourless smile taking hold of his lips.
"I... I don't think that it was entirely about opening the rift," Tosh measured out her words, absently swirling her own whiskey now. "You know that Owen can rile people up in exactly the wrong way – well, the right way, really."
Rolling a shoulder into a shrug, Jack leant back against his desk and allowed his eyes to wander back over to Ianto. Well. Maybe 'allowed' wasn't perfectly accurate.
"Whatever. He was still right."
Both avoided the obvious objection – what if Owen hadn't opened the rift? What if Tosh and Jack were still stuck in 1941? What if, indeed.
Tosh carefully placed her own glass on Jack's desk. She sent Jack a comforting smile that she wasn't sure he noticed, and left the office. It was satisfying, Tosh had to admit, to ignore Owen's now heightened curiosity, and head straight for Ianto. She bent down so that her mouth was close to Ianto's ear.
"Go. I can monitor for Bilis."
Ianto's head now flicked around, his lips now parting in surprise. Honestly. And they thought she had no idea. If the situation hadn't been as sombre, Tosh would have giggled at the pair of them. Ianto took one more look – unconsciously, or at least unwillingly, it seemed – at Jack, who was running a hand through his hair before tipping the last of his whiskey down his throat.
"Thanks." Ianto spoke so quietly that Tosh wasn't sure he had said anything – but he stood, and strode slowly across to Jack's office.
Tosh watched for a moment longer – watched Jack give Ianto a tired and slightly pained smile, watched Ianto's fingers lightly brush Jack's upper arm – before she let herself display one of her secret smiles and got settled in to find the elusive Bilis Manger.
As soon as Owen's gravelly voice had graced the comms – "They're armed" – Tosh knew that things were starting to go wrong. Gwen was starting to panic, Jack was doing his best to calm her down, while trying to hide his own anxiety from her and Tosh. However, it seemed that Owen was the bringer of all bad news.
"They've got Rhys and Ianto."
Tosh instinctively turned to Jack, as a follower to her leader – but for that split second after Owen's words, Jack didn't look like much of a leader. For that moment, Jack looked as old as he claimed to be, a tired shadow passing over his face.
A shadow that said Not. Again.
But Jack didn't have the luxury to dwell on his feelings – not like Gwen, who had spun around without thinking, forcing Jack to drag his eyes open and launch himself after her. Tosh's mouth was hanging open – what was she supposed to say? Jack's earlier words to Gwen were echoing in her mind.
You love him. Makes you vulnerable.
"It will be okay," Jack bit out. Sounding as though he was trying to convince himself as much as her. Holding Gwen tightly to stop her running... but also to stop himself from doing the exact same thing.
"We've got to get out, we can't help them from here," Tosh's voice was steady, gazing at the pair of them. It was Jack who shook himself out of it first, and ran to check their possible exits.
But things were rapidly going from wrong... to worse.
Ianto and Rhys were suddenly right there in front of them. With their captors, unfortunately. This time, Tosh couldn't miss it. Jack pressed himself against the wooden cartons, looking like he wanted to disappear into them. His eyelids weren't quick enough shutters to conceal a raw agony, an ancient despair that seemed impenetrable to Tosh.
It all happened too fast, after that. Gwen, being as careless with her emotions as Jack was being careful with his, gave herself up. The situation was crumbling beneath them, so it was no surprise – but no less infuriating – that she and Jack were spotted too. Holding their stun guns in the air, they slowly stepped out from behind the cartons.
Only Tosh, the closest to him, would have noticed the slight tremble that ran through Jack's body as they saw Ianto with a gun digging into his chest.
Jack was speaking – doing his leader thing – but Ianto's face was contorting with something – how could they tell the difference between concentration and fear at that moment? – and Jack stopped. So Tosh took over. It was the least she could do. Gave Jack enough time to gather his determination. To save Ianto, save them all. Again.
The gun shot... the fight... the alien, out of control... all too fast, too panicked, it was all out of control... and Jack and Tosh were trapped, unable to help –
And then Owen – her Owen – arriving just in time to save them all, including Rhys.
It was all over, just like that.
Tosh raised her head from where she was standing with Owen, and saw Ianto limping over to them. Owen didn't notice, of course – he was busy being... well, being a human being. That was bit harsh. Maybe publically showing that he was a human being was a better way of putting it. Tosh drew some more courage and squeezed Owen's hand tighter, before focusing back on Ianto.
Ianto hadn't even reached them before Jack suddenly snapped out his daze – his sorrowful salute, a piece of last goodwill towards the creature – and hurried over to Ianto.
"You're hurt," Jack said lowly, placing his hands on either side of Ianto's waist. To an innocent observer, it could possibly be seen as Jack steadying the slumping Ianto.
Not to Tosh.
"A scratch," Ianto said roughly, his breathing heavy. He did, though, gave a wry smile, which Jack half-heartedly returned.
"That's what Mercutio once said."
Unspoken words hung in the air between them. That's what he said before he died.
"I don't think bruises and cuts have ever killed someone, Jack."
Ianto, of course, was brushing the whole thing off, trying to reassure Jack that he was completely fine. When he clearly wasn't. Tosh could have rolled her eyes. Typical.
A scrape above Ianto's eye was dripping a trail of blood into Ianto's eye. Jack gently wiped it with his thumb, and let his hand fall to rest on Ianto's shoulder, cradling his neck. It was uncanny, Tosh thought, how utterly unreadable both Ianto and Jack's expressions were – to her at least. Jack... perhaps if you peered closely enough you might notice his jaw muscle twitching, or the unusual gleam shining his eyes. And Ianto... he had his mask in place, except there was one tiny crack, as if the cut above his eye had slashed through it – every drop of blood in his eye caused the smallest tremor to run through Ianto. Reminding him.
Tosh had to look away. The intensity, if not their expressions, held a meaning that was all too obvious, and it was far too private to intrude on. She could only hope that they could read each other's expressions better than she could.
Owen's fingers moved in hers, and Tosh momentarily forgot about Jack and Ianto, what with the spark of heat that ran from Owen to her hands to her heart. But then Owen sighed and turned, to tend to Rhys properly, now that the creature was dead. His movement seemed to alert Jack and Ianto to where they were, and Jack cleared his throat decidedly.
"Well, you certainly turned into a fighting, kicking, stunning machine today, Mr. Jones," Jack said, his drawl injected with a trace of his usual charm. "Although you already were one of those things." He finished with a wink, and Tosh really did roll her eyes at that.
Ianto blinked at that, and forced his mask into a dry smile.
"Well if it's alright with you, sir, I think I deserve a shower at the very least."
"Oh, definitely. I reckon I've earned one too."
Tosh let the banter wash over her – Ianto's witty retorts, Jack's dazzling grin, Mr. Jones, sir – they were just part of a cover, really.
Tosh knew, then.
Knew that behind the easy flirting and joking, that Jack was trying to veil what he truly felt. Knew he probably wouldn't be satisfied until he had examined every inch of Ianto's body – and in a completely non-sexual way, Tosh would bet all of her computer systems on that. Knew that what Jack held in his hands – which were still settled around Ianto's waist – was the most important thing in his life at that moment.
Tosh knew that Jack loved Ianto, no matter how he tried to hide it.
Review? It'll give me a silly smile, I promise! :) And who shall be the star of Part II...? -suspenseful music-