Author's Note: Well here is the final chapter – I'm a bit scared about this one so I hope you like it. You're probably going to be getting a lot of updates from me today! There's this, 2 chapters of Wishes and another one shot (hopefully) to go up. I'm off to prepare for my wedding tomorrow (its on Saturday) so I'll be on hiatus til after the honeymoon! Have a great summer!
Edit note: I have re-uploaded this as there was a tenses mix-up that was really irritating me!
He had heard them all speculating what he did when he left work once as he delivered the coffees. Owen had sworn blind he didn't actually leave and slept on a shelf in the archives because he'd once found a pillow and blanket down there. He hadn't had the heart to tell him that was from the last time he had come back too early following an injury and Jack made him take a nap. Gwen thought he probably went home and cleaned his own house as thoroughly as he cleaned the Hub. Ianto hadn't broken it to her that he didn't spend enough time at home for it to get messy. Tosh postulated that he must go and read Wikipedia – how else could he know everything? Ianto definitely hadn't had the heart to tell her that his photographic memory made recalling the details that amazed them easy.
Ianto did none of those things. He didn't even settle down with a James Bond DVD or Ian Fleming book – or at least not until he's finished his out-of-hours tasks.
It started sometime after the events with Lisa, a desperate need to make amends to a team horrified by his betrayal. No grand gesture would be sufficient to earn their forgiveness, and Ianto was too shattered to think of something appropriate anyhow. So, it was in the small gestures – making sure he picked up a bar of chocolate for Gwen when he knew she'd had a bad week, noticing Tosh's visits to the local art shop and providing her with the occasional tube of paint, seeing Owen on the CCTV alone at night, and just keeping that extra eye out for his safety, even indulging Jack's foray into gardening. They were tiny unspoken gestures to help the rest of them find some peace at the end of the day. He wasn't good at talking, didn't know the right thing to say if they unburdened themselves to him – so instead, he did what he could to help them and in doing so tried to earn his own forgiveness and lessen the crushing guilt in his heart.
When he found out about Flat Holm Island it was almost second nature to do the same thing. First the staff, a box of cakes, a bunch of flowers anything to let them know their work was not going unforgotten. Before long though he was engaged in conversations with families, or in researching their latest patient's records; and if he finds out that Jenny loved jigsaws, or that Jonah likes football – then really it's no hardship to slip something appropriate in with the next food shipment.
Owen would call him crazy. Tosh would look at him sympathetically. Gwen would be surprised that she wasn't the only one who could care. Jack would tell him he was working too hard. But it wasn't work, not to Ianto. Instead it was his way of making peace with the mistakes in his past, and a way of coming to terms with the cruel randomness of life on the Rift. He can't make the people at Flat Holm better, any more than he can take away the nightmares that haunt the team, but he can improve their day to day lives, and let them all know that someone cares.
He doesn't expect thanks, doesn't want them, particularly not from their team. Working for Torchwood is gruelling, and they all wear their armour to work to protect themselves from any more hurt, himself included. If they all gave way to the emotion that threatened to overspill sometimes, he thinks they might all shatter and break. So, silently, unnoticed, he does his best to hold them all together, and in doing so finds calm within himself to stop him falling apart too.
He's not as unnoticed as he once thought, although the responses from the team are equally silent. Gwen arrives with breakfast for him in the morning, and leaves work at night with a hug. Owen bites his tongue on the most sarcastic of his retorts and even offers to collect the lunch one day when the rain is pouring and a gale is blowing outside. Tosh leaves him little gifts occasionally, often Ian Fleming books in an array of different publications, but once a tiny picture; incandescent and complex swirls in a dazzling array of colours, he had admired the intricacies of the design, a lump rising in his throat as he sees his name printed carefully in the bottom corner. And Jack, gives him the most precious gift of all, he drops his barriers, and as they sit in the garden he tells Ianto stories of his past, and his journey with the Doctor – and although they often fill him with horror, he treasures each of them.
So after work, he waits until the others have left – and Jack is engaged in either paperwork or the endless battle with the weeds in his garden, before he slips out to the shops to find items that will brighten their days. It's not what they would think, and it's certainly not what they would call relaxing, but finally Ianto Jones is at peace with himself, and so is the rest of Torchwood. And nothing could make him happier.