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Ianto didn’t tend to assume the worst in new situations; Gwen Cooper seemed to just bring that out in him. Her arrival to Torchwood was rather...conspicuous, to say the least.

It was simple murders - most were stabbed from behind, there was no pattern with the victims, and absolutely no non-human interference appeared to have occurred. But Suzie needed the recently dead to test the ‘Resurrection Gauntlet’.

Ianto followed the team with the tracking unit in their earpieces and CCTV camera footage, the rain clouding his view slightly. He noticed vaguely when Jack’s head turned to the dark-haired policewoman who was inquisitively peering over the crime scene tape and sighed, exhausted already of the captain’s relentless flirting. With everyone.

He followed the policewoman with CCTV, taking a moment of deep concentration to link to her consciousness. The woman was walking up the stairs of a mainly derelict car park when she grasped at her head, wincing at the foreign feeling of someone else in her mind - Ianto flinched as well, Cooper's mind a thrum of activity, pounding away at his temples, almost unable to be contained by the fortress that was his cranium.

Her first impressions of the team read through easily to Ianto - her mental defences were lacking, to say the least. Most humans had some form of wall or block, but the PC was worryingly bare.

She thought Captain Harkness as arrogant; Ianto snorted in amusement at the read of that thought. Shallowly, she also was attracted to the man’s handsome features...Ianto would be surprised if she didn’t start imagining her and Jack’s wedding in the next few momen- oh, there it was!

‘That dress does not suit you, dear’, Ianto thought to himself frivolously, feeling sharply jealous at the sight of the two kissing - and participating in several other activities - before batting away the emotion.

‘Pompous prick,’ Ianto heard in the back of his mind, in a distinctly female, irritatingly frilly-sounding voice. She’d seen Owen, evidently. He tapped away at his computer for a second, chewing on his bottom lip as the camera footage processed in the facial recognition software.

74 results came up. Luckily for Ianto, the policewoman was in the first 10. According to her file, Gwen Cooper had been a PC for 2 years now, steadily climbing the ranks; Ianto thought he may have remembered Kathy Swanson mentioning her once in one of her rants over the phone about the incompetence of her underlings (Kathy was like that and Ianto was most certainly an enabler). In the recesses of her mind, Gwen imagined herself in bed with Owen, a sickening thought to Ianto; both because Owen was Owen, for God’s sake, and Gwen (from Ianto’s brief background check) had a boyfriend for six years by the name of Rhys Williams.

‘At least I’m not desperately humping men's’ legs,’ Ianto mused pettily. Disturbingly, Ianto had already begun to be bitterly acidic towards the PC that he didn't even know. Well, not yet, anyways. 'Five minutes in her mind will most definitely give me all the information that I need-'

He hissed distractedly at the sudden, nonsensical hatred for someone. A quick delve into Gwen’s mind discerned it as Toshiko Sato, their mastermind computer-genius, and one of Ianto's closest companions. Ianto felt an intense need to crush Gwen like a fly, but he breathed deeply, calming the emotion. He was fiercely protective of his friends, as Gwen would no doubt come to understand if Jack did the inevitable and offered her a position in Torchwood.

‘That weird one with the glove seems like a bit of a charity case. Not too bad tho-Oh my God!’

Ianto glanced at the still-rolling camera footage for a brief second, feeling a harsh burst of shock from Gwen as the once-dead ginger teen, who was lying sprawled on the wet gravel, was revived right before her eyes, writhing suddenly on the ground as if the air had been punched out - or more accurately, punched into - his heaving lungs.

He remembered feeling the same horror the first time Suzie used the glove but still chuckled despite himself. He read similar amusement from the rest of the team when Jack yelled up, notifying Gwen, in his rather flamboyant way, that yes, he did know she was there, and confirming to Ianto, that yes, his obsession with the PC had only just begun.

‘How do you think this one will end, Ianto?’ he heard Tosh ponder in the forefront of his mind, a sweet, calming sound, blocking out Gwen’s incessant panicked rambling.

‘How it always does,’ Ianto replied. ‘With Retcon and tears.’







Ianto was working at his station when the team came in. Suzie was blushing, her cheeks red under the praise of her control over the glove from Jack; Ianto mused vaguely that she looked rather pretty, less downtrodden and defeated when she had a genuine smile, however small, across her sharp, angular face. Tosh waved to him with a small smile, which he acknowledged with a nod.

‘Oi! Tea Boy! Would you mind getting your favourite team some of that mediocre-but-we’ll-take-what-we’re-given coffee, of yours?” Owen blustered, leaning over Ianto’s station (as if the guy paid bloody rent), batting his eyelashes dramatically.

Resisting the urge to roll his eyes, Ianto did the next best thing and elegantly arched an eyebrow, an ambience of sarcasm permeating the space between the two men, before nodding to the steaming cup to his right. “It’s on your desk.” Owen grinned, baring his teeth at Ianto. “I owe you a drink.”

“You always say that, and I always end up paying anyways.”

Owen snickered as he wandered over to his station, humming appreciatively at the warmth of the mug. Toshiko thanked him with a beam, her eyes sparkling as the caffeine worked it’s way into her bloodstream.

“Alright, Suzie, Owen, you two can head home now. Toshiko and Ianto, you know I wouldn’t ask you unless it was important, and you’re definitely the best at it here - the policewoman at the crime scene, the one who saw Suzie use the glove? I want a full background check on her, anything you can find out. I think we might be seeing her again very soon.”

Jack concluded with a mysterious (at least, he thought it was mysterious. Toshiko and Ianto only found it amusing, and slightly endearing nowadays) smile. Ianto glanced at Tosh, rolling his eyes discreetly, before pointing to Jack’s office. “Coffee in there. We’ll start work right away.”

Jack grinned delightedly, muttering something about Ianto being a lifesaver, which no, did not cause a pleasantly warm burn in Ianto's lower stomach. Owen and Suzie disappeared quickly after that, and the Hub was silent other than the tap of computer keyboards and deep breathing.

Finally, after ten minutes (a commendable time, given Tosh’s usual impatience when discussing his Gift), Tosh groaned, rolling her chair to stare at Ianto through the gaps in their stations.

“What do you think?”

Ianto glanced at her with a perfectly raised brow. Tosh pursed her lips, leaning her elbows on her desk and almost getting her arm covered in leftover Caesar salad for her trouble.

“About Gwen Cooper, I mean. She doesn’t look all that popular with her colleagues judging by everything we’ve found so far, but I can’t exactly make a clear judgement from their harsh reports about her lack of conduct and common sense during investigations. Can I?”

Ianto laughed softly, picking up from Toshiko’s Broadway-esque emphasis that she wanted Ianto to give her the rundown on Gwen from the eyes of a telepath. He mulled it over for a moment, stalling for time as he struggled to find a way to politely tell her that Gwen Cooper already hated her guts for some inane reason.

“Well, she has shockingly low mental defences, that’s for definite. And she’s already planning for ways to get Captain Harkness into her bed - she’s not particularly inventive, judging by her rather...adult, shall we say, thoughts.”

“She thinks Jack is arrogant but attractive. Owen is a pompous prick, but she still wants his prick, if you get what I mean,” Ianto brooded, grinning internally at Toshiko’s scandalised expression. “She thinks Suzie is a charity case, and...she seems to utterly despise you, for no reason at all.”

Tosh laughed at his last statement, unbothered by the assumption of a - in her opinion, judging from Ianto’s analysis and the many, many complaints from work - selfish, uneducated PC who slept her way to the top.

Whistling lowly under his breath, Ianto sat back in his chair to look at Tosh in a new light, having read the thought from her mind. “You’re rather bitter on the inside, Clover.” Tosh giggled, the otherwise harsh comment made sweet by Ianto’s use of the nickname. ‘Because you’re my lucky charm,’ he had told her when she first asked him.

“I work here; it was bound to happen eventually. Anyways, I’ve pretty much compiled everything I found on our pleasant PC Cooper,” Ianto smirked wickedly at the sarcasm, pleased with Toshiko’s lack of upset from Cooper’s callous comments (a phrase Tosh and him would use more often in the near future to explain most things the policewoman said).

“I am...just about finished. I’ll print it out and then we have our freedom,” Ianto muttered absentmindedly. It took a few minutes, of which Tosh found herself staring at Ianto work, his quick, deft movements over the keyboard like a second nature. It made her wonder again, what Ianto was exactly, what he did before Torchwood Three. She lamented internally - Ianto was very tight-lipped for someone who everyone thought had no secrets.

“Oh, you’re done? Sorry, I was just lost in thought,” Tosh glanced up from Ianto’s hand and was pulled from her daydream at his own intense gaze. She tried to think of anything but speculation about Ianto’s past, knowing the telepath could be upset that she was contemplating him again.

To clear her head, she offered to deliver the file to Jack, awkwardly jumping up to collect it from the printer. Jack received it with a genuine smile, and a wish for the both of them to have a good night.

Ianto was waiting for her, with her coat and bag over his arm, by the cog door. She relaxed, realising that this was Ianto Jones, for goodness sake - he wouldn’t go digging about in her head for the hell of it, he didn’t know what she was thinking all the time. He would never do that to his friends.

She hoped.

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It was a coincidence, Jack assured them, that a Weevil would turn up at the station that Gwen Cooper worked at.

According to the report, Ianto earned from Toshiko, Jack’s long military coat tipped Gwen off of the team’s arrival to the scene. He was exuberant when dealing with Weevils, although the group dealing with them had to be large - they were still working on perfecting a Weevil repellent spray, and Weevils needed at least three people to sedate them if they were at full capability.

The young PC followed Jack up two flights of stairs, before hitting a sealed off door. And it appeared that she could resist anything but temptation.

She put up a fearless and authoritative front when approaching the Weevil, assuming that it was a worker in a mask, pulling a prank. A porter rather suddenly threw open the door at the end of the corridor, speaking quite merrily, in a slow sort of way.

And Jack didn’t do anything to save him.

Tosh was first up the stairs, finding him crouching, taking in the Weevil and the porter’s interactions, waiting for Gwen to make a move. He seemed to give up the chase when Tosh dashed in front of him, desperate to sedate the Weevil and attempt to save the man.

‘But I was too late, Ianto. He’s dead because I wasn’t quick enough. And Jack? He just...he just hurried poor Miss Cooper out of the scene, and he knows that Gwen wouldn’t give this up, he knows that she’ll come back. He used that poor man as a pawn.’

Ianto bit his lip in frustration, sending waves of telepathic comfort towards his friend. Toshiko relaxed minutely under his ministrations. ‘It wasn’t your fault, Clover. Jack made the call, not you. He was a selfish bastard because he’s too caught up in Gwen. But, it was not your fault that the porter died, Tosh. It’s all on him.’

The team returned to the Hub less than five minutes later. Ianto had already started working on figuring out the porter’s name, age, family, etc. Tosh was evidently still angry from the way she stormed into the Hub, throwing her bags down and slumping down into the chair at her station.

Ianto offered his hand to her, still typing with his left. Taking it gratefully, Tosh squeezed, sighing as the feeling of peace - artificial, but she would take what she was given right now - washed over her.

“Ianto, Toshiko, I want credentials for that por-” Jack began, but Ianto cut him off angrily, a sharp burst of words heightened in both pitch and volume. “Already on it. Sir.”

Jack glanced, surprised at his tone, and went to defend himself immediately. The telepath stopped him again, his voice level and unwavering, but oh-so-dangerous sounding.

“We won’t complain about the extra work you give us, sir, really, we won’t. But when the death toll starts adding up, when we have to start finding more ways to try and tell someone their husband is dead because of your desperate need to figure out Gwen Cooper, that is when your team will begin to have issues with the way you deal with things.”

Ianto’s jaw clenched, and he risked a glance at their captain. His face was impassive, but a faint worry line between his brows betrayed him. Softening slightly, Ianto bit out a quick, but genuine ‘sorry’.

Owen spoke up from where he was sprawled unceremoniously on the sofa, his mouth turned harshly down. “As much as I do hate to say this, Tea Boy is completely right. You put a civilian’s life at risk, and now we have to tell his - what was it Ianto? Wife and three kids, that he was mauled to death. This can’t keep happening and I say that as both a doctor and your team-mate.”

Jack nodded, seeming to think for a moment. Ianto prepared himself to be yelled at, but Jack simply turned to both him and Toshiko. “I’m sorry.”

Jack turned on his heel, heading to his office, his shoulders bowing under what could easily be the weight of the world, was how much Ianto knew about his captain.

Oh, that man was going to break his heart so very many times.

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It took another night for Gwen to figure out where the Torchwood Hub was. Ianto really had to give kudos to her; she was a persistent son of a gun. Tosh informed him via mobile that he was supposed to act as mysterious as possible.

“Well, that shouldn’t be too hard for Mr Gifted over here, should it? Jack’s trying to play our enigmatic aesthetic up as much as possible. He wants Gwen to be, quote ‘amazed by your work ethic’ unquote.”

Ianto chuckled under his breath. “It sounds like it’s going to end up being a mess.” Giggling, Tosh reminded him to ‘play nice’, then hung up.

He only had to wait a few moments before he felt Gwen’s oncoming presence at the back of his mind. It was invasive for a moment, as new connections with people are. But...Gwen’s mind didn’t feel right. It was a constant drumming at the back of his mind like Owen’s mind often was, but it was inconsistent, beats missed out or tempo changing dramatically.
Sharp pain in the back of his skull caused Ianto to double over, grasping at his head as he whimpered quietly. Trying to quell the pain, easing it into the rest of his body, attempting to desensitize himself only made the affliction more agonising.

He felt Toshiko’s mind, like thick honey, spread across his own, shushing and calming, like how Ianto’s mother used to do when his own powers made him curl up in sobbing balls on the floor, blue light (his own element power) encasing him in a painful torture.

He gathered himself, thanking Tosh for the comfort, and walked out from behind the tourist centre, nonchalant and relaxed. Gwen seemed shocked to see him but swallowed it down quickly.

‘Well, he seems like a bit of a tosser. Mustn’t be too important to the team if all he is is their secretary.’ Ianto winced internally at Gwen’s bitterness but chose to smile politely at the policewoman. “Oh, hi...er, sorry I’m late. Someone ordered pizza?”



Gwen’s voice was strange, patchy and changing in tone quickly, very much like her elemental aura. Although, she was polite; but Ianto imagined that the clipped, civil words would eventually become sickening to hear.

“Who’s it for?” Ianto asked, amused at Gwen’s surprised reaction to his deep Welsh accent. She must have assumed everyone in Torchwood was foreign.

“I think it’s a Mister Harkness.”

Ianto reached down below his desk, hissing under his breath as the outside door finally slammed shut with the wind. A gust of coldness washed over him, sending fizzes of electricity up his spine which he carefully tamed down. Pressing a button below his desk, he glanced back up at an uncomfortable Gwen.

Part of the wall to the right of the Tourist Office swung open, revealing a long, winding corridor that lead into the Hub. Gwen gasped despite her desperate clinginess to her bored, on-the-job facade.

Gwen glanced once at him, fear glaringly apparent in her eyes. Ianto wanted to roll his, but resisted the temptation. “Don’t keep them waiting.”

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Ianto, finished with his impromptu acting commission, walked slowly down into the main Hub. Gwen’s presence was still thick in the air, pounding against the back of his skull, though less so than usual - he discerned that Jack must have taken her to the vaults.

Assimilating gingerly to Gwen’s aura, Ianto mustered his cheeriest look and strolled into the Hub. Owen greeted him with a wave of fingers, and Toshiko waved him over to her station. Suzie was there, checking over Tosh’s readings on the blade - Ianto had tried to convince her to drop the weapon as soon as she first touched it, sensing a darkness within it, but she had not relented - that she was profiling.

“What did you think of her, then?” Ianto questioned, trying to sound casual. He wanted a group of human’s perspective of the policewoman; sometimes, a Gifted’s viewpoint was very much a tunnel-vision.

“I’m not too sure. I guess she seems nice, just a bit...no, I shouldn’t say that. I would be the same in her situation. I don’t know - Jack certainly seems to like her,” Toshiko sighed, resting her elbows rather forlornly on the desk, her head only supported by her thin arms.

Ianto’s mouth twisted unpleasantly at the words for a moment, but he scolded himself, relaxing once more. Jack didn’t belong to him - Gwen could quite easily have him at any moment, and Ianto was sure that he wouldn’t complain. That was the cold, hard truth. But-
“I think she’s pretty hot. All the right curves in all the right places,” Owen’s lewd voice pulled Ianto out of his anguished pining over the man he would never have.

Snorting, Ianto said, “That’s certainly a surprise Owen.” The man in question simply grinned shamelessly, pointing to Suzie to ask her opinion on the newcomer; or, at least, soon to be newcomer (which seemed the case with the way things were heading).

“I like her, I suppose. She just feels a bit...dim-witted,” Suzie acknowledged, moving back over to her station, her welder’s helmet back down over her face.

“She was rather rude - I suppose it was warranted though. We messed around with her. Owen’s already helped himself to a slice of her bountiful gifts of pizza. And, er, she asked about the porter. She was upset, of course. But...she acted like I was the one to murder him, because I covered it up, because I did my job,” Tosh murmured to him in a low whisper. Her voice was pained, disconcerted at Gwen’s accusation.

Ianto didn’t bother repeating his kind words from the nght before, knowing that they would simply lose meaning if he kept saying them. Instead, he pressed a comforting pressure onto Toshiko’s shoulder, his hand soothing away the tight knots in Tosh’s joints.

At her persistent questioning, Ianto said, “Her existence in my mind is painful. Thoughts all over the place, conflicting emotions, split personalities, double lives. I’ll get used to it though - I think with everything whizzing around in her head, the memories of the Hub, seeing as it’s the largest point in her timeline so far, will resurface rather easily.”



Toshiko started at his words, glancing up to scrutinise him. Puzzled, Ianto schooled his features into an expressionless mask, hoping that it would cause Tosh to let go of whichever notion she had in her mind this time.

No such luck.

“What do you mean by ‘timeline’? Can the Gifted see past thoughts of humans as well as current? Or is it more of an aura thing, like a line graph of the human’s emotions or something?”

Ianto struggled to find a polite way of declining to say exactly what he meant by ‘timeline’; Tosh was a friend and he had no reason to be afraid of sharing his Gift with her, but old habits die hard.

Fortunately, he was rescued by Jack and Gwen returning from the vaults. Wincing at Gwen’s overpoweringly loud thoughts, Ianto smiled apologetically down at a rather disappointed Tosh, glancing back up as Jack began to introduce the team. “Owen Harper.”

‘Right, yeah, the prick,’ Gwen thought, her tone cynical and faux-bored, even inside of her own head (and, although she didn’t know it, Ianto’s). Owen, offended by Jack’s misuse of title, correcting at him, seeming to barely resist the urge to wink at Gwen.

To spite him, Jack announce Toshiko as ‘Doctor Toshiko Sato’. Owen was unamused. Suzie, Tosh and Owen’s introductions were short and sweet, but subconsciously, Ianto prepared himself for a flirty remark and a leer in his direction (and then to be ignored for the rest of the week other than to satisfy Jack’s need to tease and seduce. But that was self pity and Ianto was anybody but a self pitier).

“And this is Ianto Jones. Ianto cleans up after us and gets us everywhere on time,” Jack explained, an almost smug, confident grin plastered over his face. Ianto, impressed at the captain’s self restraint, was undeterred by Gwen’s rather back-handed - considering her polite smile - comment about his ‘need for attention from Jack’. Paired with other, less plain comments about his ‘sluttiness in the bedroom and at the workplace. No wonder he’s panting over Jack like a bitch in heat’.

Okay, damn, Gwen Cooper was bitter.

“I try my best.”

Jack winked at him, mouth twisted into a lascivious smirk. Ianto had applauded his lack of provocation far too soon. “And he looks good in a suit.” Resisting the urge to cover his suddenly flushed cheeks, Ianto grinned unabashedly back, settling into his often used facade of a man simply humouring his over-sexual boss.

‘Careful. That’s harassment, sir,” Ianto replied smoothly, reminding himself sternly that Jack’s comments meant nothing. He had to accept one day that Jack just didn’t see him as anything but Tea Boy.

Ianto was pulled out of his thoughts once again - Gwen began to speculate about what awful things would happen to her and Ianto read clear enjoyment from the rest of the team. If she had nothing else going for her, Gwen would certainly be a source of constant amusement.

Jack doled out orders to the team, before departing with Gwen in tow. “How many hours of respite do you think we have from Cooper before she comes wandering back?” Tosh all but groaned, irritated that she was going to have to work almost the entire night on the assigned calibration for the beginning of her and Ianto’s alien language translator.

“I’ll say two days? And I could help you with that calibration, if you want - you can come over to my place. I was planning on making tonkatsu, in case that changes your mind,” Ianto offered, grinning when Tosh relaxed against his strong frame, humming gratefully in acceptance.

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The aromatic smell of pork wafted throughout Ianto’s kitchen and into his lounge, filling the room with the pleasant, nostalgic odour of Tosh’s mother’s delicious home-cooked food. She breathed deeply, her stomach protesting as she tried to focus back on her work.

“We’re about halfway through this calibration, but it’s so mind numbingly boring that it’ll probably take all night with how much we’ll end up procrastinating on it,” Tosh called to the telepath, typing something into the third section of her work.

“I don’t imagine we’ll be very well rested tomorrow - unless Gifteds don’t need as much sleep as humans.” Ianto chuckled under his breath at the allusion. Tosh had been attempting to gain knowledge about his community for the past few weeks now.

He set an alarm on his phone to alert him for when the rice would finish boiling and the pork cooking. Wandering into the lounge, Ianto flopped gracelessly onto the space besides Tosh, grumbling at the sight of undecipherable numbers and equations on the screen.

He pulled his own laptop towards him, finding Tosh’s email with everything that she had been working on so far. For little over fifteen minutes, they worked in near silence, only speaking to confirm things with one another and bounce theories back off each other for the translator. Ianto served food and three bottles of wine he hadn’t gotten round to drinking.

Frustrated, Tosh threw herself bodily back against the sofa, folding her arms. Ianto felt a jarring sensation in his mind quite suddenly, a shock and gaining exhaustion. He assumed (correctly) that Gwen must have been given Retcon and opened up her home intercept immediately in a background tab.

A moment later, his mobile rang. Jack’s name flashed on his screen. Tosh raised an eyebrow in such a perfectly sarcastic way that it could have rivalled Ianto’s own. Ianto flipped her off, unconsciously preening himself as he answered the phone.

“Good evening, sir.”

Jack heard Ianto’s voice deep and gravelly in his ear, and shivered despite himself. There was alcohol on his tongue and although in a few hours he would be completely sober, he still felt a lack of inhibitions, which lead to his next words.

“Tell me what you’re wearing,” he purred, smiling ecstatically at Ianto’s bark of laughter. “I don’t think that this is that kind of call, Captain. Have you been drinking?”

Jack hummed quietly, revelling in how comfortable they were both with each other in that moment, how much he wanted to always be like this, but they couldn’t. Ianto’s breathing was heavy through the phone and Jack wanted it hot down his throat.

“Yes, and you sound like you're rather tipsy too. But, to ruin your wonderful night, I need you to make sure anything Cooper writes down about Torchwood is deleted.”



“And if she writes something down on paper?”

Jack smirked at Ianto’s sarcasm, stifling a laugh. It was a large reason why Jack relied and was so attracted to Ianto - he challenged him despite being low in authority in Torchwood. “I have faith in your abilities, Ianto Jones.”

Ianto arched his back, easing out the kinks in his spine. His sight was slightly hazy with the alcohol consumption and his body felt light and heavy all at the same time. His face was flushed with the wine and pleasure at Jack’s praise.

“Oh, and tell Toshiko to take it easy on herself,” Jack added as an afterthought, his voice silky smooth in Ianto’s ear. The telepath passed on the message to the woman next to him, laughing quietly when she told him to tell Jack to ‘go screw himself’.

Covering the phone speaker with his shoulder, Ianto replied snarkily, “I’m not entirely sure that you want me to say that.” Tosh glared at him, as if daring him to challenge her again. She tore the phone from his grasp.

“Tell me, Captain Harkness, when you say take it easy, does that mean I can have a few more days to finish this calibration?” Tosh’s tone was hopeful, but Ianto could tell without her confirmation that Jack hadn’t bitten.

“No, we are not drunk! Just kinda tipsy...Ianto supplied tonkatsu and wine, isn’t he just fantastic? Mmm, and you’ve ruined our lovely evening with this calibration-”

Jack felt a foreign pang in his heart at Toshiko’s words; he determined it rather quickly as jealousy, envy that Tosh would be granted a night with the Archiver. But...they weren’t together, were they?

He tampered the feeling down, sending it into the recesses of his mind - he was not jealous of Toshiko, he had no reason to be. Ianto and himself never had anything between them. There was simply an allure to that man-

“We’ll have that calibration on your desk by tomorrow morning, sir. Good night.”

And with that, Jack was left to walk alone in the cold Cardiff air.

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“It’s been over four months since you told me that you’re a Gifted,” Tosh began to speak, her voice slightly slurred with the wine. Ianto interrupted. “No, it’s been over four months since you figured it out.”

The pair had only been acquainted with each other for around five and a half months (a shockingly large amount of time, Tosh once told him, considering the mortality rates at any Torchwood) when Tosh had found him out.

She had grown accustomed to the strange dullness that occasionally electrified suddenly in the back of her head, the thing she couldn't quite focus on, like something in the corner of her eye. However, when Ianto’s voice began to permeate through that strange dullness, she became nervous, afraid that she was going mad.

But when several trips to the doctor’s (and other psychiatrists’) discerned her as completely sane - with some anxious and depressive tendencies, which were to be expected given her job - she realised that alien interference must have occurred.

Her first reaction was that an alien must be controlling her mind; Tosh anticipated that it would be Ianto. Ianto was an alien that had infiltrated Torchwood, and he was an apparent threat that had to be neutralised.

Toshiko ambushed him when he was in the Lower Archives. Ianto remembered the utter terror he felt when he heard Tosh’s yell to turn, with his hands up, and then coming face to face with the barrel of a gun.

“What are you?”

“Toshiko, listen to me. I’m Ianto, I’m your friend. Please, put down the gun,” Ianto replied levelly, attempting to calm the tech. Unsuccessfully, apparently, given the fact Tosh only motioned for him to go to his knees and pressed the gun to his forehead.

“Don’t play games with me. What are you?” Tosh hissed, her voice displaying no emotion - it was her trembling everywhere but in her gun hand that showed her anger, fear, betrayal. Ianto sighed, anguished that it would come down to this.

“I don’t know.” At Tosh’s imploringing face and the safety being clicked off, the sound reverberating loudly around his head, Ianto continued reluctantly. “W-we’re not...there are different theories as to what we are, but we found no records of ourselves anywhere, so nothing can be proven. I-I didn’t mean for it to come to this, but I couldn’t tell you, I couldn’t put my community in danger like that, I’m sorry-”

Toshiko retreated suddenly, discarding her gun on the table Ianto had been working at. She pulled up a chair for the both of them, gesturing for Ianto to sit. “I keep hearing you in my head. Is that because of your...community?”

Ianto relented, nervously going to sit in the chair offered to him. “We call ourselves...er, Gifted. It’s not the best title, but that’s, that’s not what you, er, asked. I, erm. It’s telepathy. That’s our main power, or Gift. We sense elemental charges within people or objects, and we can, of sorts, latch onto them.”

“So you latched onto my mind? Like a leech?” Toshiko asked, horrified, going to press at the back of her skull protectively. Frantically, Ianto shook his head. “That was a bad way of explaining this, I’m sorry. I can latch onto people, but it’s more a temporary Line between my mind and theirs.”
Ianto turned to his side, grabbing for a piece of paper. Flinching, Toshiko went for her gun again, ashamedly pausing when Ianto made no move to harm her. Instead, the telepath drew one thin line on the blank sheet of paper, and wrote in neat lettering ‘Temporary - No immediate connection with person - Gain more thoughts than emotions - Less personal’.

“See, this is a bond with someone you probably don’t know too well. We show it as one line because it’s weak and fragile, and because... certain Gifteds can see bonds between other Gifteds and humans. They always describe this particular link between a Gifted and human as one line.”

Tosh listened attentively, only asking questions when Ianto went to draw a second link. “And you? Do you have this ability?” Ianto glanced at her with a shy smile. “I’m not old enough to have it. Most of those who do are well over two hundred years old. But Gifteds only get to that age through elemental interference, it isn’t natural.”

Looking to Tosh for confirmation first, Ianto drew two more marks, like a simplified DNA strand, waving in and out of each other. Next to this drawing, he scrawled ‘Only formed over time - With friend or companion - Trust in relationship - Strong and easy to read thoughts and emotions - Personal’.

“This is usually what we call a Link, rather than a Line. It’s stronger and both parties must trust each other; it’s possible for enemies to form this Link, but it’s more fragile and it’s harder to read thoughts or emotions, similar to a Line.

“This is what I was attempting with you, but your mental defences were stronger than the others, so I had a bit of difficulty. And I know, I know! It’s like an invasion of privacy, but I did it to try and keep you safe. There are people in my community who are looking for me, and if they somehow find you, I can keep you unharmed with this Link. I can keep you unharmed from anything, actually. I can give you power, even for a short while, so you can protect yourself. Please, try and see it from my point of view. I was trying to help.”

Tosh’s face was a war of emotions for a moment. Ianto knew that she was conflicted between anger and hurt and forgiveness and care, but he refused to try and change her mind himself. After a moment, she chewed her bottom lip, gazing at Ianto with a fierce intensity.

“How would you finish this...Link?”
Ianto and Tosh had been Linked for months now and Toshiko had gradually relaxed into it, growing to share things telepathically and allow Ianto to delve into her mind further, uncovering old memories whilst he meditated (a method that Toshiko had introduced to him to help with the headaches caused by having so many thoughts inside his head).

“Predancticts, Ianto. I want to know anything and everything about the Gifteds. You’re so very secretive all the time, and I’m curious. Tell me, just this, at least. What are your powers? What can you do? What makes Ianto Jones inhuman?”

Ianto groaned despite himself. “If I wasn’t tipsy, you would be none the wiser of any of these things. But...well, telepathy, of course. And some shifting abilities-”

The woman beside him started suddenly, sitting up and almost choking on her wine. Ianto giggled, his voice high pitched and trilling, cutting out into a choked ‘ouch’ when Tosh smacked his arm. “Show me.”

Puzzled, Ianto asked, “Show you what?” Tosh grinned, turning to him, and setting her wine glass aside. Her excitement thrummed through Ianto’s mind, lurching down his spine. “Show me what you are, Ianto. Show me your transformation.”

Shifts were personal, incredibly personal, in the Gifted community. They showed everything about that particular telepath and so were saved for loved ones - the rune work, the extensiveness of the change, even the colour the Gifted’s eyes changed would determine something about them.

“Our marks change over time, you know. As we mature - and also, if there’s a traumatic contact, l-like, err…a near-death experience, for instance. Bu-u-u-ut, I could show you something.”

Tosh grinned at his words and Ianto rolled to face her, pulling his knees up against his chest in a protective movement, unsure of whether or not Tosh would revel in this discovery or be horrified by it. Closing his eyes and focusing his elementality on his change, Ianto shifted.

Tosh was met with a shockingly blue gaze when Ianto opened his eyes. There was faint runes, barely noticeable, swirling across his skin - it was reminiscent of Aztecian symbols, though with more curves, following the lines of Ianto’s cheekbones and jaw. Tosh was still staring at the runes when they flickered and faded suddenly.

Confused, she turned her sight to Ianto’s eyes. His irises were also faint, slightly darker than the electric blue of the rest of the orb. His pupil was slanted, like a cat’s eye, breaking out into fading veins to the circle of his iris. It was startling bright to look at, so Tosh moved her stare away.

“You’re really quite amazing in this form. But, er, I just...how different are you like this?” Tosh wondered aloud, unnerved by Ianto’s almost cat-like comfortability as he stretched out, arching his spine and then crossing one leg over the other. He chuckled lowly at the question, his voice deep and rather pleasant.

“Our true form matures separately to our human facade. Meaning, our physical features also mature separately - the runes that you perceived at the beginning of my shift? They will not become any brighter or any more consistent in shape until my Gifted form sophisticated.”



“Mentally...my speech is more halting, often I am unable to speak properly - though that is mainly due to trauma, not elementality. Our kind communicate more often with our minds; through emotion and thoughts and direct links or bonds. So, my mentality is less human. I am not human, and in this form especially, I struggle very much to talk with them. I am used to speaking with emotion, not words.”

Ianto smiled sheepishly as the electric colour retracted from his eyes, flashing and quivering for a moment before dissolving completely into Ianto’s usual burning cornflower blue. Tosh seemed almost disappointed.

They finished the calibration.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Suzie was the murderer.

Ianto remembered a time when things were so much simpler, when he and Jack had drunken phone calls and Tosh would be amazed by his true form and he knew everything about Torchwood.

But, they were no longer in those times. He sighed, staring down into the bottomless amber of his whisky - a drink he only bothered with when he craved the burning in the back of his throat - and thinking back.

Gwen had returned to Torchwood, to the Roald Dahl Plass. Almost as if the evening was scripted, Suzie emerged from the shadows like Death chasing the merchant from Baghdad.

A gun, shock stark and clear racing through Gwen’s mind, a staccato rhythm pounding against Ianto’s skull.

Alerting Jack that Suzie was threatening Gwen - the look of pain across his face for the woman he was completely unfamiliar with. The pang of jealousy in Ianto’s heart and the uncertainty when Jack ordered him to turn off all security cameras, to not watch the footage unless absolutely necessary.

Jack rising on the ‘invisible lift’. Fear, like a stone, in the pit of Ianto’s stomach, when Suzie instantly recognising the corner-of-your-eye feeling as she saw Jack.
Recognition from Gwen, not enough yet to make her any more knowledgeable than the scavengers that insisted they knew everything about Torchwood. And then...Suzie turning the gun on Jack.

Pain, harsh and heavy and agonising, at Ianto’s temples. Gasping breath, the loss of a link, the loss of Ianto and Jack’s Link. Mourning, even for a few moments, and then a bombshell effect when Jack stood right back up again.

Jack couldn’t die.

But Suzie could, and Suzie did. Jack dragged her body with him, setting it away on the invisible lift, calling Ianto to take it down and put it in the morgue. A sick feeling in Ianto’s stomach when he saw Suzie’s lifeless body, the coldness on his tongue like he had been running for too long.

“Oi! Stop moping, Tea Boy. was a murderer and she made the decision herself to off herself. It isn’t our problem anymore, so drink up. I finally bought you one with my own money,” Owen clicked in his face, gesturing pointedly at the new glass of beer.

‘Yes,’ Ianto thought to himself, ‘the problem is, however, that I couldn’t tell. That my link with her, my attempt at keeping everyone safe failed and now four people are dead - five if you include Jack before his resurrection.’

“Gwen is almost certainly going to be hired now. What do you think about that?” Tosh mused, trying (and failing, but Ianto appreciated the effort) to avert Ianto’s focus from his mistake. ‘Which really isn’t your fault, by the way.’

Now that Ianto thought about it, he was hurt that Gwen was being hired, and he had no idea why. Jack owed him nothing.

“Well, and I hate to say it considering she does have a rather lovely body, she’s pretty pathetic. I had hoped that she would have fainted in the vaults so we could just inject her with Retcon and be done with it. But she seems rather entertaining, in an annoying sort of way,” Owen answered quickly, before Tosh could even get a word in edgeways.

Ever the polite one, Tosh smacked Owen’s arm lightly, a brash show of confidence, if anyone would have asked Ianto. “Consider the circumstances - you were a mess on the first day too, I’m sure. I just get the feeling that Gwen is gonna be more trouble than what she’s worth.”

Expectantly, a glaze over Owen’s eyes already from alcohol, the pair stared at him, waiting for his input, a change from Owen’s brashness during work. Sighing, Ianto took a long swig of his drink, throat burning unpleasantly at the heat behind the liquid. Chasing the pain, he drank again, prolonging the inevitable answer he had to give to the question.

“She’s just fine.’

Tosh had never seen quite so easily through his blatant lies before.

Date: 4/20/17 10:47 pm (UTC)
eliona: (Default)
From: [personal profile] eliona
Okay I just re-read this part and although I skimmed quite fast I just realise that how British you are lmao but it is irrelevant, isn't it?

By the way I was trying to send you a private message on this but it seems to be unable because dreamwidth refuses to do so since your email isn't confirmed yet.

Welcome to dreamwidth! There are some neat communities for people with similar interest(s). There is [community profile] theijs which stands for The Ianto Jones Society, where we can post our love for Ianto by sharing fannish work we make for him (fanfic, fanvid, etc.) You can share your fanfic there.

For the entry format, I highly recommend you to use cutid/cut tag. It basically allows you to hide part of the entry, so you don't post a wall of text, just some beginning parts. You can read about it here https://www.dreamwidth.org/support/faqbrowse?faqid=88

If you need help about theme setting or anything else, I am always here to help.

PS: Is there anyway I can chat with you instantly (via skype or google hangout, social media, anything!)

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