Pairing/Characters: Jack/Ianto, Owen
Warnings/Spoilers: no warnings, spoilers for S2E11, Adrift
Word Count: ~1960
Beta: sariagray ♥
Summary: Owen wants to help with the patients out at Flat Holm, and Ianto takes it upon himself to convince Jack to let him.
Notes: Written for redisourcolor challenge #18. The theme is medicine, with the words tightwad, creamy, babbling, and the sentence Well then, how about you try it, and see how it goes? sariagray did a wonderful job in helping me make sense of my ideas here (and also removed approximately several hundred commas :P) but then I fiddled, so any remaining mistakes are my own! ^_~
Anchor (n) - a device used to connect a vessel to the bed of a body of water to prevent the vessel from drifting due to wind or current or other elements.
Anchors can either be temporary or permanent.
“It’s a medical facility, Jack. And in case you hadn’t noticed, I might be dead, but I am still a doctor.”
Ianto half-flinches from his post outside Jack’s office door at the sound of Owen’s hands meeting the surface of the desk with a heavy slap.
Owen’s voice, quieter now, filters through the thin barrier.
“I could have helped, Jack,” he hisses. “I can still help.”
Ianto takes a deep breath and counts to three before he knocks sharply on the door and then enters, a mug of coffee balanced confidently on the tray in his hands.
He’s just in time to hear Jack tell Owen, his voice exasperated, “Well then, how about you try it, and see how it goes?”
Then Jack glances up at Ianto expectantly.
Ianto lips don’t quite smile, but his eyes meet Jack’s briefly; there’s understanding there, and gratitude, just for a second.
When Jack turns his attention back to Owen and speaks, his tone is just a hint softer than it had been.
“I know you’re serious about this Owen,” Jack says, and leans back in his chair with a creak. “But I just don’t know what you want me to do.”
Owen gives Ianto a curt nod of acknowledgement and fixes his eyes on Jack. He lets out a long breath.
“I’m not trying to be difficult here,” Owen says as Ianto makes his way for the door. “I know the logistics may turn out to be a real bitch, but…”
Ianto takes his leave, sliding the now-empty tray under his arm, and closes the door to Jack’s office behind him with a soft click.
At half eight, Jack sends the rest of the team home – the third time he’s sent them home early this week, but no one seems to be complaining.
Ianto busies himself in the archives, and at half-nine he cheerfully sets up Indian take-away in the boardroom and pings Jack.
Jack’s response is short, a little curt, but it’s not until halfway through their makeshift dinner that Ianto starts to sense that there’s something more going on here than Jack’s normal aversion to paperwork, the fact that it’s Wednesday, and raining.
“So what’s going on with Owen?” Ianto asks carefully around a mouthful of curry – creamy, and just a tad spicy, exactly how he likes it – and then dabs at the corner of his mouth with the edge of his napkin.
“Nothing,” Jack offers, and Ianto rolls his eyes.
“I was there, remember? He wants to help, with Flat Holm?”
Jack sighs and meets Ianto’s eyes a little reluctantly.
It had taken a long time to build, and at times it still feels tenuous as hell, but Ianto knows that Jack trusts him. Jack trusts him with this, especially. In fact, Jack has trusted him with this for a long time. Up until this week, he and Jack had been the only members of the team who knew that Torchwood had any sort of connection to Flat Holm at all.
After another few seconds pass and Jack still hasn’t said anything, Ianto quietly nudges their calves together under the table.
“You had to have known there was no way he’d let this go.”
Jack lets out a long breath and Ianto watches the muscles in his shoulders slacken a little.
“He’s a good doctor,” Jack concedes, finally.
“A really good doctor,” Ianto agrees. He smiles at Jack across the table and watches as his features soften as he wraps his ankles around Jack’s leg affectionately.
“I should have told him before,” Jack says. “I should have told all of them.”
Ianto shakes his head. “You did the right thing at the time.”
Jack laughs, a little bitterly. “No, you did the right thing. I just stood by and watched.”
Ianto doesn’t know what to say to that, so he doesn’t say anything.
They finish the rest of the meal in silence, but Ianto’s legs stay where they are, firmly pressed up against Jack’s under the table.
“I’ve been thinking,” Ianto says on Friday, bright and early, before the first light has even properly settled over the city.
“Uh-oh,” Jack says amiably, and presses his shoulder against Ianto’s.
It’d been Jack’s idea, of course. A brisk walk along the Plass before the others arrived and the day began in earnest.
The travel thermos of coffee he’d brought along is a good one, Ianto observes – it barely warms his hands as he clutches it between his fingers and looks out at the water glistening on the bay in front of them, dark and shiny where the sun’s rays haven’t reached it yet. They’re barely five meters from the entrance to Ianto’s tourist office, but somehow being out here with Jack feels like a novelty, almost as if he’s on holiday.
Perhaps Jack is right – perhaps they do need to get out more during daylight hours. The sun is a bright orange-yellow stain on the horizon in front of them, contained beyond the docks, but rising fast.
“I’ve run some preliminary numbers for Owen,” Ianto says and sets the thermos down carefully on the bench next to him before he sits, and watches Jack follow suit. He pulls a notepad from his inside breast pocket and flips through until he finds what he’s looking for.
“What’s this?” Jack asks curiously.
“It’s a proposal,” Ianto says, pointing to the top of the paper. “Owen wants to set up a fee schedule for bringing medicines out to the island – he’s still got contacts at the hospital who could help with getting things nearly at cost from the manufacturers. He’d train the staff out there to administer the medicines, naturally. After the first month or two, there’d be a fairly established pipeline, but to get things started, we’ll probably have to make a few trips back and forth, maybe even a few times a week, give or take.” Ianto pauses, smiles a little. “I told him the ride out is nothing to write home about, even during high tide, but apparently he’s prone to seasickness, so…” He stops, realizing that he's babbling.
Jack is staring at him, his expression unreadable.
“The patients have medicine, Ianto. There’s just not much we can do for most of them, medicine or not.”
“We’ve researched what they currently have available,” Ianto starts.
“Owen and I,” Ianto says, trying not to let his burgeoning agitation creep into his voice. He starts again, calmly. “There’s a genuine need for certain drugs there, and certain treatments. I believe that Owen can help. ”
Ianto reaches for his coffee and takes a generous sip. It's just as warm as it had been when they set out. He wonders if maybe this had been a mistake after all; Flat Holm is Jack’s thing – even though Ianto had known about it, had seen the financials, and knew some of the ins and outs, Jack hadn’t ever really shared all that many details about the facility itself with him.
Ianto takes a deep breath and another sip of coffee, allowing it to warm his throat. He stretches his legs out in front of him, crossing his ankles and trying to relax, before he speaks again.
“Sorry, Jack. I know you don’t want that many people involved in this. Owen knows that too. We’re not going to argue with your decision if you want to kill this.”
The sun is advancing quickly now over the bay – it looks to be a clear day, for once – and the rays that warm Ianto’s cheeks make him think of spring, of flowers and dirt between his fingers and toes. He closes his eyes for a moment.
“It’s good,” Ianto hears Jack say. He opens his eyes, and stares at Jack, confused. “It’s good, Ianto. A solid plan.”
Jack smiles, and Ianto can’t help but squirm a little in his seat.
“Talk to Owen. Make it happen,” Jack says, his voice authoritative, definitive. “Oh, and you might want to find out if there’s something Gwen can do to help out. Only if she wants to,” he adds, nodding thoughtfully.
Ianto just nods, a bit dumbfounded. He’d told Owen he’d convince Jack, of course, but part of him hadn’t really believed it would be this easy. In fact, now that he thinks about it, he’d gone into the whole thing with a bit of a chip on his shoulder, expecting Jack to shoot them both down. He glances at Jack, at how calm he looks now, staring out at the bay. He shifts his body closer to Jack's on the bench, feeling a little guilty. He’d underestimated him.
“Gwen took this whole thing pretty hard, you know,” Jack says. “Maybe helping with the shipments, or on some of the training with Owen would help her put this behind her.”
“Of course,” Ianto says, nodding.
He watches as Jack flips a page in his notebook.
Jack grimaces when he sees the figures Ianto has scrawled in the left hand corner.
“We’ll probably need to take these numbers down by about twenty percent... But it should be doable.”
Ianto smiles. He has no idea how they’ll make this work after cutting twenty percent from the budget, but at the moment, he doesn’t much care. He can always delegate that part to Owen, or maybe Gwen, if she'd have it, he figures.
“Tightwad,” he mumbles under his breath, and his smile widens as he watches Jack gape at him in surprise.
“Who, me?” Jack grins brightly. “Never.”
Ianto's cheeks warm a little when Jack places a hand on his knee and squeezes. The sun is brilliant and enormous in front of them, and Ianto is struck by the sudden thought that this, right now, is one of those moments that he should hold on to and remember, to look back on later.
He blinks, and his heart pounds in his chest steadily as he tries to soak it all in, determined.
"Thanks," Jack says quietly.
Ianto turns his head in Jack's direction, his eyebrows raised in question.
"You've probably noticed, but this whole thing has weighed pretty heavily on my mind for a while now. It's nice to have someone to share it with."
"That's what we're here for, Jack," Ianto says, and then clears his throat when the warm smile on Jack's face doesn't show signs of fading any time soon.
He's about to suggest going inside when he feels Jack's broad hands against his neck, warmed a little from the sun. They steady his jaw as Jack leans in for a kiss.
For once, Ianto doesn't wonder if a passing jogger or dock worker (or coworker, for that matter) is bearing witness to this display. He just concentrates on the strength of Jack’s hands, on the sense of purpose the kiss gives his lips as he earnestly strives to maintain contact.
The sun warms his nose and his cheeks as Jack's tongue parts his lips and Ianto's mind illustrates the moment for posterity, lingering only slightly on the shiver that runs down his spine when Jack deepens the kiss, and the morning sun slides further across the clear water of the bay.