Title: Falling Down
Warnings: References to Self Harm, Suicidal themes
Summary: Set before Jack's return. Owen sees Ianto falling apart and tries to help him.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. No copyright infringement intended.
When Owen had joined Torchwood, it wasn't with the desire to lead. But life had a funny way of working out, and Owen now found the weight of Torchwood Three sitting firmly on his narrow shoulders.
It happened through necessity. After the Captains great and mysterious departure, the inner workings of the hub began to crumble, and bickering and snide comments ensued.
The stick Ianto kept smuggled up his ass seemed to have grown exponentially, as he now never so much as sat down anymore. Gwen had become a fretting wreck, constantly complaining about the moral obligations to the community, and Tosh had delved into her work, dissembling ever small alien device she got her hands on. But other than complaining, dissembling and non sitting, nothing was really getting down, and Owen being the pragmatic doctor that he was, stepped up and took control.
Using his year of experience ordering around nurses and interns, he slowly managed to return a bit of normalcy to the job. Things were getting down again; they were even running successful ops without anyone dying or losing any limbs. All in all, Owen thought he made a fairly good leader. Maybe they didn't need Captain America after all.
But as the days turned to weeks, and the weeks stacked up to a month, Owen began to see things weren't exactly as well oiled as he thought them to be. Ianto had, in true Ianto style, faded into the backdrop, which in itself wasn't too concerning. But the more that Owen watched him, the more he realized there was a definite problem brewing under Ianto's well composed exterior.
To the casual observer, he might appear stable, but to Owen, someone who had spent numerous hours cataloguing Ianto's every twitch, it was obvious something was very wrong.
If his suspicions were right, and the usually were, it was only a matter of time before the boy lost his shit entirely. He was so certain it was going to happen, in fact, Owen had started toting around a syringe of sedatives for just the upcoming occasion.
So that's how Owen came to be sitting on the steps that led to Jack's office, watching his charges below and waiting to catch a glimpse of the elusive Welshman.
Tosh was busy pulling apart some piece of alien tech that she thought might be an advanced GPS tracker, but Owen thought it looked more like a vibrator. But after weighing its size and shape, he decided it really was a bit big for that, but he supposed if you were to …
He was pulled from his musings by a flash of movement down below. Ianto. He watched him and ran his hand up to pocket and patted the syringe, assuring himself that he had it on him.
He watched his stiff movements around the Hub. The man was methodical; his was precise and calculated, and the way Ianto handled stress rubbed Owen the wrong way. It just wasn't natural if you asked him.
When Owen had come into the hub that morning, he thought he had finally succeeded in beating the Welshman to work, but to his surprise, he found Ianto had already arrived and was reassembling the coffee maker from what looked like a full on clean and polish session.
They both nodded and went about their business, but an hour later, Owen was stewing again. He wanted to know what he was doing at the hub so early in the morning. There must have been some other reason than some need to molest the coffee maker.
To settle his nerves, Owen pulled up the CCTV footage of the hub and started scanning through the past few days. He quickly discovered that Ianto was essentially living on a diet of coffee with the odd biscuit thrown in. But what he saw him doing in the wee hours of the morning, though, solidified just how fucked up the situation had become.
It was late, or early depending on how you viewed it, when Ianto reappeared through the cog door. Owen thought at first that maybe Ianto had forgotten something in the hub, but as he watched the footage of the young man, he realized something far odder was going on.
Ianto made his way through the lower corridors. He paused at a closet, where he retrieved a small pail and what appeared to be a bottle of bleach. Leaning forward, Owen continued to watch with rapt attention. All the while tabulating all the possible diagnostic codes he was going to be scratching on Ianto's chart later.
The cameras trailed his progress until he came to an all too familiar room, Lisa's room. Fuck. He didn't need to see anymore to know how fucked up this was, but he couldn't look away. It was like watching a train wreck happen.
Kneeling on the floor, Ianto poured the bleach into the pail, and without gloves, Owen noted, he reached into the solution with a brush. Bloody hell! That stupid fucking tosser! Owen was fuming as he watched the young man show complete disregard for his own health. Slowly, Ianto began scrubbing at the stained concrete. Having finally seen enough, Owen flipped the screen off and leaned back in his chair, running a hand through his hair. He knew he needed to put an end to this before Ianto did any more damage to himself.
Because despite appearances, Owen really did give a damn about his team, including Ianto. Especially Ianto. He knew that he could trust the others to come to him if they were hurt, but Ianto, he knew too well how good he was at hiding things. And it worried him.
'Ianto watching' had now consumed the rest of Owen's day. He studied his every move, waiting for the right time to pounce. He knew the girls wouldn't understand if he jumped on the Welshman's back and plunged a needle into his neck, so he needed to time his assault for when they either A) weren't looking, or B) weren't there. He was partial to B, but would take whatever he could get.
As uptight man passed beneath him again, Owen decided to act.
"Oi! Jones!" he shouted down at the man below, causing him to jump and nearly drop the papers he was now carrying.
"Yes, Owen." He raised a brow and gave him that look, the one that exuded superiority, a look he was certain Ianto used just to annoy him.
"What are you doing?"
"I would think it to be obvious, but apparently not." Ianto took a breath and let it out slowly, appearing to be trying desperately to maintain his patience. "This"—he held the papers up—"is work. It is what we are paid to do. Not that you would know anything about that."
Owen's face twisted into a grin. "Actually, I am quite familiar with concept. That's why you are going to follow me down to the med bay. You, mate, are due for a physical."
"And if I refuse?"
"I sedate you and do it anyway."
He narrowed his eyes at Owen and took a step back. "You wouldn't."
"I would. Don't think I haven't noticed your little freakish habits lately." Owen glanced down at the reddened skin on Ianto's hands.
He caught him looking and quickly stuffed his hands into his pockets.
Owen, noticing his subtle movements backward, reached into his pocket, ready to grab the syringe when the rift alarm went off. Fuck.
Ianto smiled smugly and nodded towards the door. "After you."
The alert turned out to be nothing more than another piece of interstellar garbage falling through rift, but it had given Ianto the distraction needed to evade Owen. Immediately after returning, he had skirted off to archives, muttering something about needing to reorganize isle 4 of the storage room.
Owen grinned. He knew exactly what was wrong with isle 4, as he had been its undoing.
When he was finally out of sight, Owen made his move. He jogged over to Tosh's workstation and looked over what the girls were up to. Gwen was texting Rhys, and Tosh was back to fiddling with the alien vibrator/GPS unit.
"It's been a long day. Why don't you girls take off early tonight? You can finish up whatever that" – he gestured to the small pile of metal bits on her desk – "is tomorrow. Go get some rest."
Gwen eyed him suspiciously for a moment, but didn't need to be told twice. She grabbed her jacket and headed toward the cog door before Tosh had even gotten up.
"You too, Tosh. We'll be fine. Ianto and I will be heading out right behind you." Owen had to restrain himself from grabbing the back of the woman's shirt and pushing her out the door.
"Alright, well … have a good night, Owen. See you tomorrow."
He put a hand on her back and hurried her along. "Yep, tomorrow, sure thing."
He breathed a sigh of relief as the cog door rolled closed. A wicked grin spread across his face as he realized that he had done it. He had Ianto alone.
Owen checked his watch; Ianto normally appeared from the archives around five. It was half four. Perfect. Owen took the steps down to his med bay two at a time, gleefully humming as he gathered the necessary supplies to sedate and restrain the Welshman.
For a moment, he considered grabbing a stun gun, but decided against it, Hippocratic Oath and all.
"Ianto!" he called the name out loud enough to echo around the hub. "Time for your check-up."
He paused and listened for a reaction. Nothing. "Oi! Yan! Stop wanking it and get your ass up here now!"
Owen grumbled as he made his way down the stairs, pausing by the doorway to the lower levels.
He had expected to hear something in response, but only got more silence. A trickle of concern began to seep in around his irritation. Ianto was a lot of things, but it wasn't like him to blatantly ignore him. He should have at least slammed a cabinet in some passive aggressive tantrum.
Concern finally won over and with one last check of his pockets, he headed down into the archives.
The fact that Ianto found these dank walls comforting said a lot to Owen about just how fucked in the head he really was. He felt kinda bad for the kid, although he would never admit it aloud. Ianto had really gotten the shit end of the stick. He deserved better than the way Jack flounced out on him.
"Ianto," Owen called in sing song voice. His concern mounted, as again, there was no response. His paced quickened as the heavy feeling in his gut urged him forward.
He prayed he didn't find him swinging from a pipe or laying dead with his wrists split open. Was he so far gone he would top himself? He realized he had no idea if he was suicidal. Fuck. Owen berated himself for not knowing the answer.
"Ianto, answer me now dammit!" His tone left no room for misunderstanding. Owen meant business. He was in doctor mode.
He skidded to a halt as he saw an all too familiar pair of black shoes peeking out from beside a desk. Stepping over the fallen man's legs, Owen quickly moved his fingers to Ianto's neck, feeling for any flicker of life. He breathed a sigh of relief when he felt the pulse fluttering under his touch.
After quickly assessing his breathing and finding it satisfactory, he moved onto a more extensive examine. Pulling out his penlight, he checked his pupils; they both were equal and responsive.
Using the tips of his fingers, he began carding through Ianto's hair, feeling over his scalp for any sign of injury. Finding nothing, he moved on to his abdomen, cursing when he felt just how prominent his ribs were.
"Come on, Yan. Time to wakey, wakey." Owen slapped the unconscious man on the cheek. When he didn't stir, Owen used his knuckles to rub harshly against his sternum. That got a response.
His eyes blinked open and he groaned something that sounded like a curse.
He tried to push himself up, but the Owen was quick to place a hand on his shoulder to halt the movement. "Easy, you need to talk to me first, before I let you up."
He laid back and narrowed his at the doctor.
"Don't look at me like that, you stupid sod." Owen sat back on one knee. "Now, did you take anything or do anything which may have caused this?"
"Didn't do anything." Ianto looked disappointed by the slurring of his words. "Just remember feeling tired, dizzy. Then you were stabbing me in the chest."
"Trust me, that wasn't a stab." He punctuated his point by jabbing a finger into his chest. "I fully intend on making sure you are perfectly healthy before I kill you for being such an ignorant twat."
"Shut it, Owen."
Owen scoffed. "Look, Yan, I need to get some supplies. Can I trust you not to get up and tip the fuck over until I get back?"
His head rolled to the side, and he raised an eyebrow, making a noise that Owen took as agreement.
"Try and relax, I'll be quick."
"Can't wait, he said dryly.
Grumbling under his breath about stubborn, irritating Welshmen, Owen disappeared down the hall. When he reached the med bay, he grabbed his kit and hurried back. He had already narrowed down the list of possible reason for his fainting spell by the time he reached his side again.
True to his word, the Welshman had remained on the floor. Although, Owen thought it probably had more to do with his inability to get up, though, rather than complying with his request.
Pulling out the scanner, Owen began sweeping it over his prone form. His stomach lining was inflamed, probably from his all coffee diet and stress, and he found the reason for the stiff gait; the muscles of his lower back were practically seized up. He had to have been in pain.
He set the scanner down and took out a blood glucose meter. Pricking his finger, he checked his blood. He suspected it would come back low. He was showing all the signs of being hypoglycemic.
Unsurprisingly, he was right. Had the levels not been so low that they were frightening, he would have taken a moment to gloat about his diagnostic skills. But his blood sugar levels were ridiculously low, and Owen felt a genuine twinge of concern for his friend. He quickly pulled open his kit and grabbed an IV setup.
"So, tell me, Ianto, were you purposely trying to kill yourself, or are you just that daft you forgot to eat?" He snapped the tourniquet tightly around his arm, causing him to yelp in pain.
Owen wasn't just pissed at him; he was also pissed at himself. He was a doctor, and a good doctor at that. He should have seen the signs sooner, before things got to this. He was seriously regretting his decision not to have just tackled the man and jabbed him with a sedative days ago.
"W-what are you doing?" Ianto tried to pick up his head to see what was happening.
Owen ignored him as he inserted the cannula and taped the port in place.
"That hurt," he whined.
"It wouldn't have hurt nearly as much if I hadn't had to try twice because you were so dehydrated."
Owen hung the IV bag from edge of the desk and turned back to his kit.
"Yeah, among other things. Like I said before, were you trying to kill yourself?
"For someone not trying to die, you have been doing a great job neglecting yourself."
He closed his eyes as Owen began checking over his vitals again.
"You should be feeling a bit better in a few minutes. And while I have you here, I want to see your hands."
Ianto looked at Owen and then nodded and offered up his hands for inspection.
He had seen the footage, but once he pushed up the young man's sleeves, he could tell last night wasn't his first time pulling that weirdo act. His cuticles were red and jagged, and his skin was dry and there were some faint scars he would want an explanation for later. The skin on his knuckles was split and looked painfully sore; thankfully there was no sign of infection.
He rocked back on his heels and looked over him. He had done a psych rotation like everyone else in med school, but he was no expert. If he was going to be any help to him, he was going to need to do some research. It's not like he could just send him off to a regular therapist, he laughed to himself as he thought of what the referral page would have to say. No, this was going to have to stay in-house.
But Owen wasn't Jack, and he sure as hell wasn't going to start shagging the fucker just to cheer him up.
A soft snore drew Owen's attention away from his thoughts. The stubborn twat had managed to fall asleep on the cold floor.
Unwilling to wake him just yet, Owen shrugged out of his lab coat and laid it over him. "What am I going to do with you?" He sat down in the chair beside him and watched the slow rise and fall of his chest. It was going to be a long road ahead, but he wasn't going to let him go it alone, not anymore.