Picking Teams

All characters belong to the BBC

Author's note: This is set shortly after Jack's disappearance at the end of S1.

Thank you so much for all the reviews, alert adds and favouritings of this story! I am revising for exams and TW is my escape so it made me all fuzzy inside! So here's a short one shot sequel. I'm also working on another conversation between Owen and Jack but it will appear as a separate story.

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"Owen?" the tentative question was almost lost amid the sounds of frantic typing emanating from one of the many keyboards that littered Tosh's workstation.

Owen sighed and bit down on a frustrated and probably about-to-be-unkind retort. He knew what was coming, they all did, but another surge in rift activity was not Tosh's fault and he had to stop shooting the messenger.

"Yes Tosh?" he finally ground out.

"Weevils again, I'm afraid. Six of them, in the playground in Splott," she typed some more rapid-fire codes before rising to her feet. "I've sent the postcode to the SUV navigation system."

Owen reached across his desk for the stun gun he had left discarded on their return from their previous foray – less than an hour ago.

"What could they possibly want in a children's playground?" Gwen mused, as she hunted around for her own weapon, hidden amongst a pile of reports.

"I imagine it's the swings. A few years ago I'd have said the roundabout, but they got rid of that. Health and Safety apparently." Ianto's crisp Welsh vowels were full of humour, as he reached over to catch the sheaf of papers Gwen had sent tumbling to the floor.

"Yes, I imagine that's it Ianto" rebuked Owen, his voice laden with sarcasm, "Alien life from all over the galaxy is coming through the rift to Earth to try out the swings!" he paused, then softened, ever so slighty, "Well, it's as good as reason as any I suppose."

Gwen watched the exchange with fond amusement. She couldn't say just when after Jack's departure it had occurred but there had been a definite change in Ianto. Not outwardly of course, no matter how casually everyone else dressed he still arrived in his full suit, still terrifyingly early in the morning. But his demeanour was certainly different. It had been a subtle, gradual change; the offer of a witty riposte to Owen's sarcastic rants, his new tendency to join in with the CCTV "Snog Watch" on a Friday night (Owen remained convinced it was a viable seasonal alternative to Spring Watch for the BBC), the development of his surprising talent for thinking up hilarious and often, frankly shockingly rude names for their occasional trips to the local pub quiz.

It suited him, being part of the team, Gwen realised, and she regretted not noticing sooner that he had spent so long on the outskirts of their banter. Watching him and Owen trade quick grins it became clear to her that despite the difficulties, not least the rise in rift activity and the killer overtime hours, Jack's departure had at least one benefit. With a start, she suddenly realised she had been staring at the two men for a moment longer that was strictly proper, even accounting for the Torchwood team's admittedly loose grasp of the concept of personal space.

Owen in the meantime had not noticed her attention, busy as he was rummaging in his desk. Without looking up, he questioned Ianto.

"So teaboy? What's on the agenda for the evening for you?

"Ohhh... I don't know, clearing up after you lot, trying to perfect my new computer translator program for putting your reports into comprehensible English, maybe some filing?"

"Nails or reports?" Owen queried without skipping a beat. Without giving Ianto chance to respond he straightened, triumphantly, and tossed the fruits of his search to the Welshman who deftly caught it in one hand.

It was a stun gun, Ianto realised as he looked down at it. He couldn't even begin to fathom why it was in Owen's desk, not the armoury, but thought it safest not to ask.

"Broken?" he queried.

"Shouldn't be," Owen replied with a grin, "Wouldn't be much use to you if it was. No, you need some fresh air Ianto, before you turn into an archive content yourself, and we need a hand, what do you say?"

Ianto faltered for a moment; conversations with Jack in the past had made it perfectly clear that he was only needed in the field if the world was literally crumbling around them. Since their encounter with the cannibals in fact, he had only been back out once, and only then because Jack had deemed that the weevil he had been sent to track was probably the least dangerous thing roaming Cardiff that day.

"Are you sure?" he asked tentatively, "Jack was nev..."

Owen cut him off.

"Jack isn't here," he pointed out, "and sometimes Jack can be wrong. Actually Jack can be wrong a lot of the time, but that's beside the point. At the moment it's my team and I say that I'm picking you to be on it. Are you coming?"

Ianto put the remainder of his half formed objections to the back of his mind. He had been trained for this at Torchwood One. Hell, he'd met Jack helping him wrestle a Weevil to the ground, something the Captain seemed to have conveniently forgotten. His constant role of dogsbody and coffee boy had long since worn thin, it was time to start seeing some action.

With a grin of uncharacteristic glee, he lifted the stun gun, tested its weight and put on his best "action hero" voice.

"Make my day!"

Owen sighed. He'd created a monster.