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sam_storyteller ([personal profile] sam_storyteller) wrote2005-07-18 10:15 am
Entry tags:

Promotion (Torchwood; PG)

Title: Promotion
Rating: PG
Characters: Ianto-centric. Shut up. I/J if you squint hard.
Spoilers: Through 2.04, Meat. Really it's a Missing Scene kind of a deal. Only not precisely.
Summary: Being useful is more important than being afraid.
Warnings: None.

Originally posted 2.12.08; rewritten for canon compliance 10.21.08.

Now available at AO3.
Ianto knew it wasn't good when Jack called him into his office.

Mainly because it was at the end of the debriefing on the Space Whale, as they'd taken to calling it (Ianto had suggested Dark Shark -- brought here by Rift Drift, of course -- to no avail). Jack got a message on his computer right before the end of the meeting and then he said everyone could go back to work except Ianto, I want to talk to you and that was rarely good. One, he would not have said in front of the others if it were anything other than a dressing-down; two, he didn't say it in a good tone of voice. Even Owen, who could be relied upon to snigger and roll his eyes, gave Ianto a pitying look.

And, yes, okay, he'd gotten caught and he hadn't got to the gun in time to keep Rhys from being shot, but after all he was the tea-boy, it was only to be expected when you brought your butler along on dangerous super spy missions.

He followed Jack down to his office and sat when Jack gestured at the chair. Jack sat across from him and clasped his hands on his desk, bowing his head. Ianto waited patiently.

"I've had the medical reports in about the butchers in that little warehouse," Jack said. "The retcon worked."

"That's good," Ianto said.

"They're a little banged up."

"We were fighting for our lives," Ianto pointed out.

"One of them has a broken wrist and three dislocated fingers," Jack said.

Ianto considered this. "I hit one with the door."

He was expecting Jack to react more to that, but Jack just looked at him from under his fringe, head still tilted down. "Concussion and bruising on the face," he said, tapping a few keys on the computer. "It was the other one you hit with the door."

"Oh."

"You handled the boys in the office?"

"Yes..."

Jack tilted his head up slightly. "Broken wrist, three dislocated fingers, two bruised ribs, and a strange mark on his forehead."

Ianto wasn't sure where this was going at all. He hadn't hurt anyone as badly as others had been hurt in the past by Torchwood. To the best of his knowledge, unless you counted deaths and severe unnecessary beatings (Owen), nobody else had ever been called on the carpet before. And those two in the warehouse certainly deserved more than what they'd got.

"Did you break his wrist?" Jack asked.

"Yeah, may have done," Ianto admitted.

"Why?"

"He had a gun in his hand. So I kicked him."

"In the wrist? Did you take kung-fu in school?"

"Yes, but we called it gwnyll-fw," Ianto replied. Jack just looked at him. O-kay, not the time or place for Welsh jokes. "He was already on the floor."

"And you stun-gunned him in the forehead?"

"Yes," he said, defiantly. He wasn't sorry. He wasn't.

Jack sat back in his chair. He studied Ianto for a minute.

"The Rift is still increasing in activity," he said. "Slowly, but noticeably. Torchwood's going to have to expand soon too. New agents, eventually."

"That's good news," Ianto said, utterly bewildered now. "With fewer field demands I can support more staff without issue."

"I was thinking more along the lines of some new support, as well," Jack said.

Jesus Christ, was he being sacked?

"It's been a while since your last promotion -- "

"No, sir," Ianto protested. "I got a pay rise when I came here, and you gave me better security clearance two months ago -- "

" -- which is why I want to consider you for field agent permanently," Jack continued implacably. "I think we've been underestimating you. Gwen agrees with me."

Ianto blinked.

"You did great today. You took care of loose ends. We can use that kind of cleanup support in the field as well as in the office. Are you interested?"

"You know what I did for Torchwood One," Ianto heard himself say. Jack looked annoyed.

"You survived Canary Wharf, which shows -- "

"You've read my file."

"Of course -- "

"I was a researcher," Ianto said. "A very good researcher. Assistant to the senior head, in fact."

"But -- "

"I filed things for a living," Ianto continued, horrified at himself but unable to stop. "I knew what we were on about but all I did was the research and the filing and then after Canary Wharf I had to stay on. I had to because I needed -- I needed the resources for Lisa, d'you see? I said I'd take any job and I did and I'm grateful for that -- I do the budgeting and purchasing and most of the archival, I don't mind the cleaning. And I could have left when -- I could have left but I didn't, because I haven't anywhere else and I'm good at my job. I like it. Out there -- I can't make things clean, not like I can here. I can set Torchwood to rights when it goes off balance, I can't set the world to rights. I don't want to try. It scares me -- "

"Ianto! Ianto, calm down," Jack said, spreading his hands.

"When I was in the warehouse I was terrified every single second and it doesn't matter that I did a good job because I hated it. The others love it, they do, and that's fine but I don't love it and -- " Ianto looked down at his hands. "And now I'm shaking. I'm sorry. It's the adrenaline withdrawal now that it's over, I imagine."

Jack got up and came around the desk and was suddenly human again, taking Ianto's hands between his, stopping the trembling. Ianto's cheeks flushed hot.

"I didn't realise," Jack said. He touched Ianto's face. "The thing is...you're getting good at putting the world to rights."

"But I like being here," Ianto said. "I'll go if you order me. But sooner or later it'll get someone killed."

"You weren't just a researcher in London. You were a specialist, a logistician. I read all of your file," Jack said. "Don't play yourself down. We can use you, Ianto. And I know that the most important thing to you is to be useful. Can you live with yourself if you're not as useful as you can possibly be?"

"Can you live with yourself if my mistake causes someone's death?" Ianto asked.

"I live with the deaths I've caused. I can carry yours too," Jack said.

"I didn't mean -- "

"You didn't have to. This is me, telling you. I'll carry your deaths." Jack pressed a thumb over his mouth to shut him up. "I will carry your mistakes. The fear won't be as bad next time, and the time after that, and the time after that. And I will always, always be here afterwards."

Ianto cut his eyes away.

"You can still be in charge of general operations. We'll get you an assistant. A really pretty one," Jack said. Ianto couldn't help but snort. "Maybe we'll make Rhys do it."

Ianto opened his mouth in horrified denial, and Jack hooked his thumb on his teeth.

"That was a joke," he said. He removed his hand slowly. Ianto ducked his head.

"You'll always be there?" he asked.

"I can't die, Ianto."

"But you can leave. And last time you left I didn't have the choice. Or the assistant," he added, wondering if he'd pushed Jack too far. Jack stood, pulling Ianto up with him.

"But I won't," he said. "Trust me."

Ianto nodded.

"So...?"

"I'll need to find and train my replacement. That's six weeks minimum. And if you're making any other new hires you know I'll be the one who has to review the CVs and arrange the interviews." Ianto felt better with a list of things to do. "And I'm still in charge of time-drift orientation. I like that bit."

Jack grinned like the sun coming out and Ianto was terrified all over again, but after all -- Jack was there.

"I'll start the paperwork," he said.

***

They arrived back from the mission sweaty, filthy, and too tired to be as jubilant as they should at saving the world without killing anyone who didn't richly deserve it. Gwen had become quite the crack shot, though if Tosh and Jack hadn't got the alien computer system up and running while Owen held the outer wall and Ianto deactivated the robots inside she never would have been able to pick off only the alien's third arm, the one holding the detonator. And if Ianto hadn't gone over the wall like bloody James Bond he would not now be in the centre of the knot of Torchwood agents, all of them fussing excitedly while Owen dragged him down to medical to have a look at his arm in its temporary splint.

"Gabriel!" Jack shouted. "Status report!"

"Police units have been diverted, cover story's in place," a voice called. "Coffee in thirty seconds. Dirty clothes in the hampers, please, not on the floor. That means you, Dr. Harper."

"Can you do something about his smart mouth?" Owen asked Ianto, bending over his arm.

"Torchwood tea-boy prerogative," Ianto replied, sucking in a breath against the pain. "It hurts. Is it broken?"

"Sprain. Elevate and ice." Owen tossed him a wet-wipe to clean the mud from his face with and snapped the activation capsule in an ice pack, handing it to him. "Put that on your wrist. Nice work."

"No slouch yourself." Ianto knew that if he hadn't been there Owen wouldn't be breathing. He wasn't sure Owen realised this, though, and perhaps just as well.

Gabriel descended the stairs with a tray; there were two mugs of coffee on it and a small plate of chocolate biscuits. Owen took his mug and shoved two biscuits in his pocket absently, already moving on to more interesting topics than Ianto's sprained wrist.

Ianto took a biscuit, setting it on the sterile hospital table next to him, and lifted the cup of coffee off the tray with his good hand. Gabriel watched him carefully as he sipped. It wasn't quite perfect yet, but nobody else would notice. And it was hot coffee that he hadn't had to make himself.

"Thank you, Gabriel," he said. "Have you got those weather printouts?"

"They're on your desk, sir, along with the hospital reports for collating."

"Job well done."

The young man flushed with pleasure. "I do my best, sir."

Jack leaned over the railing, looking down on them. "No harassing the tea-boy, Ianto."

"Wouldn't dream of it, Jack."

They locked eyes as Ianto sipped his drink. Jack tilted his head; Ianto nodded slightly.

Are you all right?

I am.


It meant that the fear, still present, didn't win this time. And that Jack had yet to have to carry any of Ianto's sins on his soul. Ianto fought hard, every day, to keep Jack from bearing that burden -- which might have been what Jack intended all along.

"Do you need anything else, Mr. Jones?" Gabriel asked, pulling him gently back to reality. Ianto wondered if he'd ever been as young as Gabriel. Didn't feel like it.

"No," Ianto said. "I'm fine."

END

[identity profile] guestyperson.livejournal.com 2008-02-12 12:54 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm slightly torn here. On one hand I feel like being fussy and worrying about your wrist with all this typing you're doing, on the other hand this was AWESOME. I LOVE your Ianto. You capture his personality so well, and I like the whole "The rift is expanding, Torchwood is going to have to expand too" thing. It's a very Jack line and a imagination-fodder concept, and a plausible way to introduce OCs without it seeming cheap but without having to justify yourself too much and edging into "Methinks he doth protest too much" territory.

But yeah, I'm rambling again. TL;DR version: Awesome as always. GO YOU!

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-02-12 02:59 pm (UTC)(link)
It if helps (and I wouldn't admit this if it were porny :D) I typed most of this one-handed....
ext_1798: (Default)

[identity profile] wildestranger.livejournal.com 2008-02-12 12:54 pm (UTC)(link)
Most delightful. Except you forgot the comfort sex in the end. ;)

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-02-12 02:58 pm (UTC)(link)
LOL! It didn't seem to fit. But I'm sure it happened!

[identity profile] meritjubet.livejournal.com 2008-02-12 01:02 pm (UTC)(link)
Ianto cut his eyes away.

I really liked that line. Well done with Ianto's POV, seemed very him.
ext_1345: (TW  - tart)

[identity profile] dubhartach.livejournal.com 2008-02-12 01:13 pm (UTC)(link)
"I do my best, sir."

Jack leaned over the railing, looking down on them. "No harassing the tea-boy, Ianto."


Like the almost repetition of Ianto in Everything Changes.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-02-12 02:57 pm (UTC)(link)
That was the aim, yeah. I wanted to go a bit deeper into how incredibly weird it must be to see basically yourself-two-years-ago, but it felt right to end where I did.

(no subject)

[identity profile] amanuensis1.livejournal.com - 2008-02-12 17:19 (UTC) - Expand

[identity profile] farwing.livejournal.com 2008-02-12 01:14 pm (UTC)(link)
This is truly excellent. *scurries back to work*

[identity profile] forest-rose.livejournal.com 2008-02-12 01:14 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, how lovely. I haven't been watching Torchwood recently - don't have a TV at uni - but I may just have to after this.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-02-12 02:56 pm (UTC)(link)
alluc.org has all of s1 and s2 to date linked on their site, and I think you can stream episodes from the BBC (I can't, 'cause I'm coming from an American server. I can't even visit the official UK website, the fuckers).

[identity profile] cobweb-diamond.livejournal.com 2008-02-12 01:15 pm (UTC)(link)
Um.

YAY!!!

Yep, that's all.

[identity profile] frenzied.livejournal.com 2008-02-12 01:24 pm (UTC)(link)
Lovely Sam! I completely died over the Dark Shark and the Rift Drift, that is SO Ianto. :D

<3 Welsh jokes.

Thanks for sharing this!

[identity profile] ruisseau.livejournal.com 2008-02-12 01:25 pm (UTC)(link)
"In the wrist? Did you take kung-fu in school?"

"Yes, but we called it gwnyll-fw," Ianto replied.


We (my husband and I) LOL'ed (in the strict meaning of LOL). Brilliant. I love Ianto so much. :)

Oh, and it's always time for Welsh jokes!

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-02-12 02:54 pm (UTC)(link)
Well, that's my feeling on the matter, but Jack is still getting used to Welsh humour....:D

[identity profile] exuberantself.livejournal.com 2008-02-12 01:45 pm (UTC)(link)
You wrote Torchwood!

And it was pretty good too. ;)

I love that Ianto still wants pieces of his old job when he's a field agent, that he doesn't need to be coddled (consoled, maybe), and, above all, he has a thing for rhymes (rift drift!).

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-02-12 02:53 pm (UTC)(link)
I think possibly one of my favourite moments in the whole of season one is when Jack takes the giant blade out of storage and says, "Ianto?" and with great dramatic timing Ianto replies, "The Life Knife."
such_heights: amy and rory looking at a pile of post (tw: ianto's got a gun)

[personal profile] such_heights 2008-02-12 02:26 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, wonderful! Loved your take on Ianto, most enjoyable. :D

[identity profile] 20thcenturyvole.livejournal.com 2008-02-12 02:26 pm (UTC)(link)
Eeeee. Ianto Jones: more awesome every day. :D

[identity profile] majrgenrl8.livejournal.com 2008-02-12 02:27 pm (UTC)(link)
Awesome. There needs to be more good Ianto fic like this.
ext_74: Baron Samadai in cat form (British flag)

[identity profile] siliconshaman.livejournal.com 2008-02-12 02:51 pm (UTC)(link)
Sam my man... they really should hire you as a script writer for Torchwood.

Because that's bloody brilliant, miles better than some of the crap they've gone with and as good as the best of it.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-02-12 02:52 pm (UTC)(link)
Awww, thank you!
misscake: (Ianto)

[personal profile] misscake 2008-02-12 04:16 pm (UTC)(link)
Here on [livejournal.com profile] heidi8's rec.

Brilliant voice for Ianto: his dedication to his current job contrasted with the desire we are clearly seeing in S2 to do more. And the interactions with Jack are ♥!

Very nice read!

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-02-12 04:46 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you! :)
fyrdrakken: (Ianto)

[personal profile] fyrdrakken 2008-02-12 04:40 pm (UTC)(link)
That's brilliant, and as someone who found the tea-boy's unexpected field competence in that last ep to come largely out of nowhere I greatly appreciate there being an explanation of sorts for why someone so notably competent is mostly sitting back in the office cleaning up after people.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-02-12 04:45 pm (UTC)(link)
I can relate to him. I've only just discovered that when I get angry I get really good at crushing my opponents. It blew me away. It's kind of the same thing with Ianto I think -- he never really realised he could be good at that, and it terrifies him :D

[identity profile] dyingfire.livejournal.com 2008-02-12 05:26 pm (UTC)(link)
Gabriel, Sam. Are all your fics so interconnected, or do you just like the name? I could be misremembering, getting older every day :P, but I do believe this Gabriel is a bit like Sweet Home's Gabriel...

That aside, looks like you're hooked now. Abandon all hope my friend! :)

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-02-14 02:56 pm (UTC)(link)
I plucked a name out of my head, I'd forgotten about Gabriel Lareaux! I just wanted something that sort of presented "innocence". I almost went for "Paul", as in Apollo, god of order, but I thought of it after I'd posted :D

[identity profile] sophie-spence.livejournal.com 2008-02-12 05:36 pm (UTC)(link)
"Did you take kung-fu in school?"
"Yes, but we called it gwnyll-fw."


I clicked through to see if by any chance I could follow the story (not my fandom, and "no") but this bit completely cracked me up.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-02-12 06:13 pm (UTC)(link)
Yeah, Torchwood fic's not easy to pick up, especially Ianto-centric stuff because there's a lot of backstory and it's not like Ianto to actually talk about any of it.

But essentially, Ianto is the office boy for a secret quasi-police force charged with protecting Cardiff from aliens and scavenging what they leave behind. He makes the coffee, orders the food, files, tidies, etc. and only very rarely goes out in the field.

In the last four or five episodes, however, he's gone from being slightly pathetic and stay-at-home to a badass secret agent who kicks people when they're down and gets all the really good sarcastic lines. :D And the fic was just me puzzling out why the change and how Jack, his boss (and, depending on how you read things, either casual-shag or boyfriend) would react.
poisontaster: (Ianto Jones)

[personal profile] poisontaster 2008-02-12 05:42 pm (UTC)(link)
You know...I was reading this and really enjoying it; the voice, the characterization, the interplay... And then you got to here:

"Can you live with yourself if my mistake causes someone's death?" Ianto asked.

"I live with the deaths I've caused. I can carry yours too," Jack said.


And every thought in my head just kind of...went away. It was like getting punched (and I mean that in the best possible way) My bookmark summary for this (because oh, YES, totally bookmarked) is just that quote and then *HEARTCLENCH*. Really excellent. I loved it.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-02-12 06:07 pm (UTC)(link)
Awwwww. *grins* I'm glad.
snakeling: Statue of the Minoan Snake Goddess (Doctor Who: Tardis)

[personal profile] snakeling 2008-02-12 05:48 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm all whee! about this new Torchwood fic :)

I liked the contrast between Ianto's expectations and what really happened :P And his near breakdown at the idea of going back to the field.

which might have been what Jack intended all along.
I think that's the line that transcended the fic from good to excellent, for me.

Thanks!

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-02-12 06:06 pm (UTC)(link)
aww, thanks :D I do think that the urge to protect Jack from having to carry Ianto's burdens is one way to keep Ianto focused....*grins*

[identity profile] attaccabottoni.livejournal.com 2008-02-12 06:13 pm (UTC)(link)
Ianto's promotion: PLZ BE CANON LIKE THIS FIC, THNX!

I've always wondered if Ianto's clean-up activities have written reports and what they would have been like, and I love that the details for this particular case came to Jack's notice, because the details of Ianto's job usually isn't taken into account by the rest of the team, but maybe not so much now in S2 (what with the increasing displays of his potential) and it's not going to look so much like it's the boss' favoritism if this were to happen. :D What I like most about Ianto is the way his meaningful self-control extends to not treating the responsibility of power inherent in Torchwood blithely, but you could still suspect he trades in the galactic stock exchange during slow days or when he needs extra income for more of those stylish suits.

Also, love the wordless dialogue of looks between Jack and Ianto.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-02-14 02:51 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm guessing the stuff like body-disposal is logged euphemisticially, but the stuff that Ianto generally does isn't something you want written down. I'm surprised Torchwood stores as much as it does, really; that kind of organisation generally doesn't like a paper trail. I felt really sad that Ianto got this GREAT moment and nobody else saw it...

[identity profile] beadslut.livejournal.com 2008-02-12 07:04 pm (UTC)(link)
"tea-boy prerogative"

Go you.

[identity profile] abby1000.livejournal.com 2008-02-12 08:17 pm (UTC)(link)
Fantastico!

[identity profile] marauder-teddy.livejournal.com 2008-02-12 10:06 pm (UTC)(link)
So much love for this, Ianto is perfect, especially him objecting to field work by saying he was only an accountant.
Loved the line about bringing the butler along on danerous spy missions!

[identity profile] ladyoflisquill.livejournal.com 2008-02-12 10:55 pm (UTC)(link)
"I live with the deaths I've caused. I can carry yours too," Jack said.

This line just killed me because Jack so does, every day and forever after!

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