Pairings/Characters: Any and all pairings, any and all characters
Spoilers/Warnings: Basically, proceed with caution. Lots of spoilers, not many warnings.
Summary: 50 out of my 300 drabbles of either 100, 150, or 200 words. All drabbles are 100 words unless otherwise indicated. Each drabble was inspired by a single word prompt given to me by random followers on Tumblr.
The new kid was too quiet for Owen's liking. He slunk about in the shadows, but he didn't seem shy, not at all. There was fire, sharpness and wit that Owen could see behind those observant blue eyes, an opinion and an intelligence beneath silence.
Owen immediately took to prodding the kid with sarcasm, insults, barbs of his own preferred opinion. Of course, Ianto said nothing, just smiled blandly and went on. Until his psychotic cyber-girlfriend got loose.
After, though, Ianto, quiet and unassuming Ianto, starting talking back to him, replying in kind to his snipes and barbs. It satisfied Owen and pleased him greatly, though he tried not to let that show in his voice as they bantered back and forth.
202 Laodicean (Drabble and a half)
Gwen had always wondered why Owen never seemed to care about anything. Despite his abilities in the sack, he’d always seemed apathetic about the team to her. He’d always seemed indifferent to anything going on around him.
She’d seen him hurting after Diane, but a few weeks later, it seemed like had completely forgotten.
Now, though, as she watched the CCTV footage Turnmill had given to them, she winced at her heartlessness. She watched Owen’s face contorted in fear and rebellion, the way he stopped and calmed, face softening over something Toshiko had said, the sad composed emotion in his voice as he had a one-sided conversation with Toshiko, the obvious affection that seeped in, the assurance of love. And the half-rapturous, half-fearful exclamation as he accepted his demise and the camera faded to static. And she wondered why she had never seen his love and passion before he was gone.
“She asked about you, you know?”
There was no reply, so he went on.
“After I’d regenerated, after everything had calmed down from the Sycorax invasion. When we were in the TARDIS going to New Earth. She asked what happened to you. I-I didn’t know what to say. Had to make something up on the spot.”
“What did you say?” Jack leaned forward. He didn’t miss the flinch and shift backward from his companion.
“That you’d died.”
“But you knew I hadn’t.”
The Doctor sighed regretfully. “She would’ve made me go back for you, she would’ve made me find you.”
204 Palingenesis (Double drabble)
“I came back different. Hollow. Like I’m missing something. And I do not want to be like this.”
He doesn’t realize until the moment he’s walking up to the autopsy bay that he didn’t just mean his death less than a day ago. He knows he means everything.
He knows he means coming back from his uncle’s funeral when he was nine, knowing that every person that might love or protect him was now gone. He knows he means coming back from his first two months of residence to find his mother had changed all the locks and her phone number. He knows he means the moment he felt his soul crumble and fall to dust as he stared at Katie’s open, deceased body on the surgery table.
Suddenly he knows he’s been hollow and empty for far too long, and that it really is time to give up his desolate, suffering shell for someone with life and a desire to live.
It fills him with a strange, painful, aching satisfaction and despair to know that he’s even too hollow to be dead.
It was the knife that brought everything rushing back. Martha’s simple black butterfly knife had glinted in the light at she cut off a piece of gauze. The shine had penetrated his brain, and made the screams of soldiers and civilians and Jack come flooding to the front of his memory. The memory of his teammate’s deaths, and Martha meeting up with him to tell him where Jack was and that she’d get them out of this.
He sat down heavily, hands over his face.
“I will be. I just remembered something. Thank you, Martha.”
“Never mind. Just, thanks.”
They stared together at the crosshatched markings of cell floor. Owen closed his eyes at the soft feeling of Jack’s large hand on the back of his head, stroking gently through his hair. He felt protected and strangely comforted that his Captain was here with him, a solid touch in the presence of so much uncertainty and confusion.
And now he was going to lose it all; everything he never realized he might miss.
Neither man mentioned that Owen had never looked at the flecks or felt the bricks before he’d died; he’d spent his time being too wrapped up in his own sorrow.
There were tales about her. Martha Jones, the woman who would save the world. The woman who wandered Earth, telling the story of one man, a story of hope. She trekked alone across foreign lands, grateful for aid from anyone who spared it. She told her story to everyone she met.
There were tales about him. Jack Harkness, the man who saved the world. The man whose world was destroyed. He wandered the universe, eyes listless and broken. He told a story of despair and yearning devotion to those who would listen. He reluctantly accepted aid from those who gave. To them he told a story of one man, a story of loss.
208 Psycholinguistics (Drabble and a half, and a really broad interpretation of the word.)
They say the world won't end with a bang, but with a whimper.
It had been so long since he'd said it out loud, to anyone. So long. And he couldn't say it now, he couldn't believe that there was a chance of losing. Couldn't do anything for fear of giving up and crying for years. As Ianto choked out his admission, Jack couldn't respond in kind, couldn't help but cling to the shred of belief that they'd get out of this, clutching even as he kissed cooling lips, tears burning hot against his cheeks, chest tight with grief and death, a raw sound of despair pressing against the roof of his mouth. He didn't know how to say it anymore, couldn't give words to the devotion and grief he felt as he watched his lover struggle and still, to the solid emptiness of loneliness he felt as he watched Ianto's eyes go dark.
They say love is watching someone die.
209 Folie a Deux
Tosh jumped, quickly closing the window and wiping any expression from her face.
“Really? Looks like something.”
“You. Your not in any records, reports or CCTV footage before two weeks ago. You’re not our leader. You don’t exist.”
Jack had the decency to look offended before a slow smile spread across his face. He shrugged and held up his hands in a ‘what can you do?’ gesture.
“What. Are. You.”
“I live by feeding off of memories. And you all have such interesting memories, such unique minds. It’s delicious. And you can’t be allowed to kill me.”
His hands descended on her.
210 Undermanned (Drabble and a half)
“Come on, come meet the team.” Jack beckoned the Doctor to stand with him on the concrete slab. As they descended into the Hub, Jack looked around. Everything was quiet; he could barely even detect the hum of computers.
“Hello? Anyone home?” No answer. He shrugged, turning to his friend. “They’re probably out on a case. We’ll just have to wait here. No point in going topside again.”
“No,” a voice responded, accompanied by the cocking of a gun. “No point.”
Jack and the Doctor slowly raised their hands and faced the storm-faced Welshman. “Ianto? Where is everyone?”
“Dead.” The gun still steady, leveled at the two of them, Ianto approached. “They died two weeks after you left. I was here, directing them. They didn’t know what they were walking into. I’ve been here, by myself, and it’s all your fault.”
Jack felt the bottom drop out of his world.
“Can I tell you something, Maggie?”
She nods. Owen breathes, closes his eyes, grimaces slightly.
“My…my fiancee died. Her name was Katie. She had an alien in her brain, and she died before we could have the wedding.”
“What did you do?”
“I just stopped. It was like all the strings holding me up were cut. I stopped living. I was just existing, just wading through fog. I was too sad and lost to do anything. And…I died before I could start living again. It’s why I want to help you. Live, I mean. You need to start living.”
212 Foofaraw (Double drabble)
Gwen stared down at the team from the gantry, a frown on her face. She didn’t get it. She’d been good-naturedly (but honestly) complaining about something Rhys had done, expecting the others to join in or comment or even commiserate, but they had just stared at her blankly, giving her no sympathy.
She jumped as Jack leaned against the rail beside her, a sad smile on his face. He peered down at the three team members working diligently in their own spaces.
“Don’t expect them to understand what you experience, Gwen. None of them have ever lived a normal life. I know you think Torchwood broke them, but they were worse when I found them. It’s fixed them in more ways than you can imagine. But they don’t know a life like yours, they never have.”
“And what about you?”
“I lived enough lives. But they’ve all been marred by something. They were nothing like yours. I don’t fully understand it either.”
“I’m the odd one out.”
He turned to her, and she could see the weary experience in his eyes. “For once, Gwen, be glad of it. You’ll never have to understand just how broken the rest of us are.”
“Do you even realize you’re doing it?”
“Doing what?” Jack frowned, looking up at Ianto. He’d been lost in the papers documenting their last case; fifteen people had died because they weren’t fast enough.
“That.” Ianto pointed. Tap-tap-tap-tap. Jack’s index and middle fingers unconsciously drummed out a four-point beat on the table. “You do it whenever you feel like you failed something or that you’re not good enough.”
Tap-tap-tap-tap. Jack pulled his hand away as if he’d been burned.
“You didn’t.” Ianto’s voice was soft. “Fail, I mean. You’re not wrong. I know you think you are,” he nodded to Jack’s hand. “But you’re not. You’re a good man, Jack.”
He still remembers his first patient. A young girl, peanut allergy, serious anaphylactic shock. Epinephrine was not acting quickly enough, and her heart rate was skyrocketing, her throat so swollen she could hardly breathe. He remembers the surgery, saving her, falling tiredly into a chair when he was done, relieved.
It was because of her, and so many others, that he had finally shown his mum how not useless he was. Proven to her that he was not worthless, not the waste of time her dark, hateful eyes had hissed at him. He had proved how much he was worth.
Sometimes Ianto loved it when Jack talked about the future, when he described some of the fantastic things humanity would do. He loved it when Jack spoke of the things he’d seen, the aliens he’d met. All embellished, of course, but he knew there was quite a bit of truth to those stories.
But then there were the ones that made Jack fall silent, staring into a dark corner of Ianto’s bedroom, into distance only in his mind. And Ianto would nuzzle Jack’s jaw, pushing his nose under Jack’s chin to kiss his throat gently, letting him mourn the future-past, ready with the comfort he knew his captain needed.
216 Acrasia (Double drabble)
Alice is almost unsurprised when an energetic man in a blue box appears in her front yard. Almost. Her father had often told her stories of such a man, name of ‘Doctor,’ who’d whisked him away to other times and worlds.
She is surprised when the man takes her back three years prior, says he has no self-control and can’t help doing this, has her go into the reception of Steven’s primary school and call him out of class for an “appointment.” He whispers in her ear to go spend the day having fun, then slips away quietly.
She nearly cries when Steven bounds happily up to her, cheerful but confused. As they walk out of the school and down the road, he asks “What are we doing?”
“I just wanted to take you out and spend some time with you, that’s all.” She’s forcibly holding back tears, a lump in her throat.
They go for ice cream and play at the park. She pushes him on the swing and watches him run around. Too soon she sees the Doctor a distance away, and knows it’s time to go. Back at the school, she pulls Steven close to her, and despite her best efforts, a few tears leak into his hair as she breathes him in.
“See you, Ma.”
217 Bangstry (Drabble and a half)
They’ve been sitting in the cell for weeks. It’s gotten monotonous, enough that they’re reduced to sitting in a haze of their own thoughts and memories. Ianto has been thinking about Jack, of course, and then about his sister. He misses them.
He’s yanked from his stupor at Owen’s raw, harsh scream. He can see him with their captors, straining against the bloodied restraints as the man’s precise blade and exact blows bring him more pain than thought possible. Ianto flinches, trying not to retch as the scream changes from pain to agony to something black and inhuman and impossible to process.
It’s Jack’s fault they’re in here, being tortured by a master. And not for any information, either. The man wants to leave their broken and bloody bodies on Jack’s doorstep; a cruel calling card from an old friend.
Ianto doesn’t think either of them are getting out alive.
When Owen was a child, he used to sit on the stoop in front of his depressing flat, looking out into the sullen grey streets, and count the beautiful things he knew of. Really, he could only count up to two hundred. It was less of a study in beauty and more of an attempt to be as dissimilar from his mother as he could possibly be.
As he got older, he stopped counting. He stopped caring. He became more like his mum than he cared to admit. Then Katie died and he felt nothing. Then he died.
And he counted again.
And he could count into the thousands.
There’s a reason Jack doesn’t want to be who he was in the past.
He can still remember when he was on the squad, his second foray into battle after his best friend was killed. His superior was a Baram’kif named Galo, who’d run his troops with an iron fist, but loved them as close as sons.
He can still remember when ambush came, and he cared little whether he killed comrade or enemy, running blindly, fighting thoughtlessly, until his blade had sunk into flesh and he’d found himself staring into the dead eyes of his own beloved general.
220 Expergefaction (Drabble and a half)
Jack came back with a start, gasping stale, noxious air into his lungs. Already he could feel himself dying again as the poison the 456 had released coursed once more through his renewed veins.
Ianto’s body was cold beside his, slumped in a ragdoll position. Sluggishly, Jack moved his lover’s heavy limbs into a more comfortable shape, curving protectively around the lifeless body which had once held the soul of someone who had loved him despite all the odds. He pressed his face tight into the back of Ianto’s neck, hoping for one last wave of Ianto’s scent and found it, fading. He breathed in deeply, ignoring the poison, and memorized the essence of his lover as he sank into death.
Three days passed after Jack’s disappearance, the tension in the Hub building higher and higher as the silence stretched on.
No one was sure who threw the first strike, but suddenly Ianto and Owen were fighting, dirty scrapping, punching and kicking and biting unmercifully, Ianto’s mouth quickly bloody and Owen’s fingers crooked and raw.
And then they were sinking to the ground, Ianto’s arms tight around Owen, whose shoulders were shaking as he sobbed into the Welshman’s ruined shirt, clutching the fabric in his fingers. Ianto’s eyes were closed, face a broken grimace.
Neither was sure which one hurt worse.
Jack rounded the bend in a full sprint, skidding to a stop only inches from a bearded man looking around with a bewildered expression.
“Did you see someone—”
“Aye. Big, hunched over lad. All tanked up. Growled at me, ‘e did. Got fangs like a dog! Oughta get ‘em checked up on, ye ask me. Run that way, ‘e has.” The man pulled his frock coat closer around him and shrugged at Jack. Sometimes Jack liked living in this century. Many people were just too apathetic to question things.
“Much obliged.” He took off again in the indicated direction.
You’ve been obsessed with him for so long, you can’t even remember when it started. It’s like watching from behind thick glass. You cherish the few smiles he gives you, the far-between kindnesses, the single kiss from Christmas Eve.
Then it changes, and the second and last time he kisses you, his lips are cold and bloodless, and feel strange on yours despite the urgency. And you don’t know what to do. So you stand on the other side of the glass and scream and yell and plead to help, but there’s nothing you can do. He is nothing. You have nothing.
224 Tabula Rasa
Jack leans across the table, voice dark with desperate anger.
"You said the century would turn twice. It has. Where is he?"
She doesn't react to his intensity, simply gazing back at him with those old, old eyes full of Sight.
"I said that I could See him coming. Time around him shifts and shimmers. I cannot be exact."
Jack growls in his throat and sits back. "What am I meant to do? There's no one left."
She pulls a card from her deck and sets it in front of him. The Wheel of Fortune. "You are all that's left. You have a clear slate. Begin anew, create anew, and you will flourish and find him as well."
The first time Suzie gets the glove to work, a small orange goldfish gasps back to life. Its mouth works silently, black eyes wide, white-edged gills flapping frantically as it flops about in the palm of her hand. Though it dies again moments later, out of water and out of place, Suzie clings to the spark of life she felt, the gasp of return she watched occur. It’s a beautiful thing in this underground world full of horrors and death and darkness, and Suzie cares too much. She needs something to hold on to so this job doesn’t kill her, too.
He was a conman. A makeup artist, a mask-maker, hiding his true self from the world. His deception was a threat, a danger of the worst kind. If his actions were repeated, and they undoubtedly would be, the whole world was at risk and people were going to suffer.
But Jack still would not kill him. He could not execute him, much as he wanted to. Because he knew what it was like to sacrifice everything for love, to devote life to loyalty. The makeup artist, when his mask was wiped away, was simply a traumatized, vulnerable kid who was doing the right thing the wrong way.
227 Wahala (Drabble and a half)
He didn’t expect them to remember, or to care. Of course he didn’t. Jack had too much on his mind and Tosh and Suzie, well, they didn’t even know. He didn’t expect them to remember, but he couldn’t give a shit if he was inconveniencing them, either.
He got sloshed that night, drunkenly wobbled to the cemetery where her headstone was— she wasn’t buried there— and sat for hours in the cold. Finally the caretaker found him, half asleep and clutching the grass and gravestone in either hand, and shoved him in the direction of home. When he got home, he sifted through boxes of her stuff until he could barely stay awake, then slumped into bed with her favourite shirt tucked under his head.
In the afternoon, he woke up to two dozen calls from Jack and Tosh about some pig thing in London and didn’t care. It was the one month anniversary of Katie’s death, and he was going to mourn in peace.
228 Xesturgy (Drabble and a half)
Ianto had no idea why he’d ever considered Owen’s autopsy/examination table to ever be cold or impersonal. He had just watched a little girl’s autopsy through the window of the theatre and had been disgusted by the detached and unfeeling coldness of the examiner as she lay on the polished unfeeling metal.
Now he watched Owen autopsy a human or alien victim, or patch him up, or any of his teammates, and he could see a careful, heartfelt approach to the craft. Owen always thought of his patients first, alive or dead, and tried to give them as much comfort as possible, even in his gruff way. His hands were gentle and calming and steady. His tools, though cold to the touch, were wielded with kindness and purpose. There was love and caring and warmth in the little examination bay, something that victims would not come by outside in the real world. But in Torchwood, everyone cared too much.
Two seconds ago, they had all been staring down their guns at the three humanoids.
Now, Jack had sunk to his knees, arms outstretched, hands cupped in a reverent gesture. He gazed up at them with an awe Torchwood had never seen before.
“Iezn’os, I welcome you to Old Earth.” Jack announced. The three men nodded. “We are Torchwood. We will do whatever we can for you.”
When Jack had finished talking quietly to the men, his head bowed in deference, Ianto asked him as they walked toward the Hub, “Who were those men?”
“They’re the rulers of the planetary system Boeshane is in. They’re the leaders of my home.”
People tend to think that Owen just loves to find the wrong and bad in everything. That he’s angry and bitter and pessimistic.
But Owen knew once the beauty in the world. Then it all came crashing down. And really, it’s not that he loves to find the negatives. It’s just that now, with his life like this, it’s hard to see the light through the filter of darkness.
And more than ever, it’s hard to see the light within himself. Everyone doubts him, everyone yells at him, everyone shits on him, everyone thinks him stupid and laddish and barbed. He can’t see past the fact that he can’t do anything right, and no one expects him to because he’s nothing.
A mask is mailed to him his second day of employment with Torchwood Three. Ianto stares at it; the mask grins emptily back.
He feels eyes on his back staring through his mask and shield as he walks the dim stone corridors and hides behind coffee and suits and politeness. He shivers.
Suzie calls him over to help with the glove one evening. No one else is around, and when he looks into her face as they stand side by side, he sees the blank maddened grin of the mask staring back at him, knowing.
She never says a word.
Just a little scribble in the corner of a document. That was Ianto’s first clue. The second came from another paper documenting the reprimand of an unnamed agent for sexual misconduct.
The scribble, though, caught his interest, and he searched for more of the familiar writing. In the margins, corners and backs of so many old and crumbling pages was Jack’s writing, going far, far back. And Ianto was smart. By the time Lisa was discovered, by the time betrayal was inevitable, he knew. He knew and he couldn’t think whether he was angry or grateful that the Captain was one thing he would never lose.
233 Hogenhine (Drabble and a half)
He wasn’t ashamed of his mother, not at all. Not like his father was. His father had gone from her side as soon as she had left her mind. She was his mam, though, and she’d been in his life until he was ten, and he wasn’t going to throw that away.
But he could only visit her at night, or when she was asleep. He would sit in a chair and sing soft lullabies to her, or read from her books of poetry, or simply sit in the dark and stare at the curled shape on the bed.
He could only visit her when he could not see her eyes. For when he looked into her eyes, he could see himself falling, collapsing, crumbling. He glimpsed the yawning darkness, the swirling universe of half-formed convoluted thoughts and unreasonable terrors inside her. He could see what he would someday become.
234 Inahiloquent (Drabble and a half)
This is your problem. Around Gwen’s new workmates, you have no idea how to act. You run off at the mouth because, well, the handsome American makes you nervous. You’ve seen the way Gwen looks at him.
The only other Welshman in the group— Ianto, his name is— smiles at you. He seems to understand. Maybe Captain America makes him nervous, too.
You just don’t know what to say. They’re so professional, so efficient. You don’t know what’s going on, and you wish they’d just stop and explain. You’re not an idiot. You pick information up fast. And really, they have no right to treat you like a complete dolt. You’ve helped them once. You could help them again. You know you’re smart and capable and quick.
And Gwen, maybe she’ll change back to the sweet girl she used to be, instead of the hard, seasoned liar you know she’s become.
Breakfast is a nearly foreign concept to most Torchwood members. Specific meals in generally, really. Practically living underground can seriously mess up your concept of time. And anyway, it’s not like there’s a rigid schedule. Eat when you’re hungry, sleep when you can, play when there’s time, and fight when it’s needed.
One might call Torchwood’s ways a bit savage, but it’s not. It’s simply survival. Very few members of Torchwood function well in normal society. The chaos underground works for them. They’re already messy and broken. Going out won’t fix them, not ever.
Gwen is the only one who surfaces intact.
Really, Ianto had no idea why Torchwood even thought they were a secret organization. He’d heard of Torchwood long before he ever joined London. All of Cardiff and the surrounding areas talked about it. Any strange goings-on, and they blamed Torchwood.
Besides, not only did their leader dress like a prize-winning costume partier, they had the name of their organization stamped, pasted, and engraved on nearly every possible surface. It was really quite impossible to miss.
Ianto supposed the good thing was that the city seemed to be totally distracted, and had no idea just how many times they’d been saved from incredible danger.
Oh god oh god oh god
The whirring behind her gets louder. She keeps running, her side burning, her pack bouncing heavy against her spine. She’s sweating too much in her black fatigues and her shirt is sticking to her back.
A shout from her left, a familiar accent for once, and she knows it’s what she wants. She swerves, leaps, and ducks into a darkened doorway, blockade slamming closed just in time. The whirring zooms past.
“Hello, Martha Jones.”
“Welsh, actually. I’m Ianto Jones. I’m an employee of Jack’s.”
“Pleased to meet you, Ianto. Where am I?”
She sighs. “Thank god.”
After everything was over, he went down to the showers. Ianto didn’t follow— he just stood there, staring after him, looking lost and worried.
He stood under the water for hours. He felt numb. The water changed from hot to cold to hot again many times, and he felt nothing. It pounded against him, scraping off layers of skin and he could still feel the dirt closing in on him, the sweat clinging to his skin, the ice crystals and spittle and the dank sticky residue of his brother’s betrayal all over.
He didn’t think he’d ever be clean again.
239 Nocency (Based on smallwaldo’s fic PTSD)
Jack writes Ianto’s Letter. At first, he writes it to be nearly impersonal, a notification so the others can write their own Letters. But he crumples that one up, throws it across the room. Pen goes to paper.
By the time he’s done, he’s spilled his heart and Ianto’s life onto the page, his guilt and the Welshman’s bravery and love flood the words. It’s his fault Ianto died, it’s his duty to write the memorial. Ianto had wondered who would write his Letter for him. Jack was the answer to that question. Another survivor, gone. One more Letter sent.
She doesn’t know whether to love him or hate him sometimes. He’s so strong for her. He loves her. It’s just so fucked up.
But he’s so brave. He pulled her from the wreckage, cared for her in that horrible basement flat for four months before sneaking her to Cardiff. He joined Torchwood Cardiff despite his PTSD and fears. He braves the Captain every night. Braves the whole team every day. He keeps his secret safe.
She can feel it eating away at her mind, taking it in pieces. She doesn’t want it to. She begs him to kill her. He can’t. He isn’t brave enough.
They were there when he stepped into Jack’s office the night after he left. Shoes. Big ones for him to fill. Footprints for him to walk upon.
He’d always wanted to be like Jack. Always. He’d looked up to Jack since the night he’d brought him to the Hub and told him that he could maybe make a difference here, that he could be saved. Owen had always respected Jack for his leadership, wished he could be like him. But looking up to Jack and being Jack were two different things.
There were footprints to follow. And he wasn’t ready.
242 Quagswag (Drabble and a half)
Owen found out early, during one of his first Weevil hunts. He’d been on plenty before, but that had been with both Jack and Tosh. This time, Tosh was stuck at home with a cold.
The Weevil had sent them on a wild goose chase across Pontcanna and through Bute Park. Jack had wandered a few yards away when it hit him side-on. Owen had frozen, and the Weevil had grabbed Jack in its jaws at the junction between neck and shoulder and shaken.
Jack had collapsed, and died quite quickly once Owen had shot the Weevil in the head four times and then sprayed it for good measure. Owen had never questioned, never asked. It didn’t seem his place at the time. And then he’d forgotten about it.
So when Jack was dead, really dead after Abadon, it had devastated him. Somewhere in his secret heart, he’d believed Jack would live again.
It wasn’t hard to believe that the Doctor hated him. Not really. He knew he was denying it, deluding himself. He could remember nights when he’d stare down at the bubbling jar that held his Doctor detector, the only fragment he had left.
Sometimes the hand made a claw. Like it was desperate to get out. Sometimes it shook angrily, like it was furious with what he’d done. Sometimes it was as if it was pointing at him, accusing him, hating him. He wondered if it despised him for caging it.
It really wasn’t that hard to believe the Doctor hated him.
When it happens, when it starts, he barely notices it. It’s been there for as long as he’s worked for Torchwood. He’s always had a better memory than most, always been rather OCD.
When he blacks out, it gets his attention. He nearly crashes his car. He calls Owen.
Tests show something there, in his head, expanding. Not organic. Owen rushes away and Ianto can hear him retching into the bin in the other room. He comes out looking determined.
Something is wrong. Some strange thing inside him is malfunctioning. It’s only a matter of time before everything gets worse.
“What’s going on?” He feels snug, like he’s wrapped in a warm blanket in the dark. Her smell surrounds him.
“It’s all right. This is where we all go. To join again.”
Her arms are around him, her lips on his. He sinks into her. Darkness. Time doesn’t matter. Time doesn’t exist. Time goes by. Time is still.
She covers half of him, tucked against his side. Her smell swirls in his head. He smiles. Dimness. Time.
He is surrounded, warmth pools within him. Affection blankets him. Lips cover his own. He smiles. Darkness.
She didn’t choose the flat, of course. Jack did. UNIT had made him. It was close to the Hub, and apparently Jack had done his research, because it was everything she loved.
He dropped her off there, presenting her the key like it was a trophy, which perhaps it was.
“Enjoy, Toshiko. You’re free now. Know that.”
She nodded once, shyly, and he drove off. She entered the flat, and spent a good two hours running her hands over the walls, the pre-furnished sofa and bed and dresser and desk. This was hers, her own. Her new home. She was free.
“What is that?”
“It’s a grapeshot ray. Or, at least, that’s what you’d call it in English.”
“And that is?”
Jack hefted the device to demonstrate. “It shoots out a cluster of energy balls that are packed together. As they leave the gun, they spread out and capture whatever’s there when they land.”
“That’s something we can use, right?” Owen asked.
“Bit of a problem.” Ianto spoke up. He gestured to the gun in Jack’s hands. “One of these is documented in the archives. The energy balls explode whatever they capture in about ten seconds.”
“Not something we can use, then.”
248 Mislove (Drabble and a half)
Ianto walks. He’s not supposed to. He’s supposed to stay in the hotel until time is unknotted. He walks.
His mind is a knot. His stomach is a knot. His muscles are a knot. He keeps walking.
“Get in.” Jack’s beside him in the flashy sports car. He does.
“You’re not supposed to be out.” Ianto doesn’t respond. “You okay?”
“Look, Ianto, I just want everything back to normal. I know how you…feel. I want to prove to you that you can trust me. I want to come back to you being there for me again. I missed that while I was away.”
Ianto stares. They stop at a light. He looks ahead again.
“Things aren’t going to go back to normal. I love you, Jack. But I am not yours.”
Ianto won’t let himself be owned or kept. There’s silence the rest of the drive to the hotel.
It really isn’t mature. Ianto knows that, and he knows Owen’s perfectly aware. But this is Torchwood, and as whole, Torchwood’s members have quite the record of being exactly what they’re not supposed to be.
They really shouldn’t stop in the middle of firing and fighting and defending the earth and ro-sham-bo for the killshot to this alien’s head, but they’ve been keeping score and they really aren’t mature enough to have grown past this, no matter how much Ianto may sigh and complain about Owen’s childishness. Owen loses and sticks his tongue out at him as Ianto turns to fire.
Jack’s first act of the head of Torchwood, besides putting his colleagues’ bodies away, was to modify the rulebook. Get rid of the whole “number one enemy: Doctor” business, toss out the bits about killing everything, erase the No Sleeping With Your Coworkers rule.
Not that he had anyone to sleep with. But he liked his options open, and he didn’t mind if his staff had theirs open too. He knew ill-advised affairs would undoubtedly happen. He also knew that if there were no rules against them, they were much more likely to end on at least a civil note.