Prompt: 041. Shapes
Word Count: 2600
Summary: 26 Owen and Ianto moments.
Author’s Notes: Written for alphabetdrabble, which is a lovely and way, way too fun challenge.
They hide it pretty well for three days, but finally Owen fucks up the coffee enough for Jack to notice that the pretty Welshman wandering about in a suit is not actually Ianto.
Body-swapping. Oldest game in the book.
“Alien devices aren’t toys,” Jack points out.
“It was an accident,” Ianto mumbles, looking at Owen’s shoes.
“Did you think no one would notice?” Jack demands, watching Owen fiddle with Ianto’s cufflinks.
“We thought we could fix it,” Ianto says.
“But you couldn’t.”
“Can you?” Owen asks hopefully.
Jack smirks. They both still need punishment.
“Eventually,” he replies. “Maybe next week.”
“You are so unbelievably annoying,” Owen tells him, voice indicating that he’s gearing himself up for a rant. “You never talk about anything but coffee and cleaning products, you actually iron your underwear - I mean, who fucking does that? – and you spend twenty hours a day underground with our potentially homicidal boss and a pterodactyl, so you’re clearly clinically insane. And your flat looks unsettlingly like it’s never been lived in.” There’s a pause. “But… you do have a great arse.”
Ianto rolls his eyes and pulls the duvet over them both.
“I love you too, Owen,” he mutters.
By the time Jack returns, the gunshot on Owen’s shoulder has healed into a scar, Gwen and Rhys are engaged, Tosh has upgraded the security systems, and Ianto has decided that he doesn’t want to call him ‘sir’. The team are angry, but welcome him anyway, try to let the cracks heal over because they’re desperate enough to forgive him. For a while, they attempt to pretend that nothing’s changed and it almost works.
At least until Jack sees Ianto on his knees with Owen’s hands in his hair, and he realises that he couldn’t have expected nothing to change.
They’re trapped in the Hub. Tosh is supposedly working to get them out, but the temperature’s dropping and Ianto is shivering. They have a fistfight over Jack’s coat; Owen wins. Ianto has a black eye and clutches a mug of hot tea in cold hands. The security systems are still leaching the heat from the air and there’s no contact with the rest of the team.
“I don’t know what to do,” Ianto says, and his teeth are chattering. Owen sighs.
“Come here,” he mutters.
They huddle together in Jack’s coat and hope for rescue before they freeze to death.
Owen is a poor substitute for Jack, being far too skinny, far too British, and far too willing to let Ianto top once in a while, but it’s never highlighted quite how much he’s not their captain until the two of them actually fuck in Jack’s bed. Ianto is so lost and lonely that he’s grateful for the barely-there scent of aftershave on the sheets; he shouts Jack’s name when he comes. He doesn’t care enough to listen to the name Owen groans, because no matter what he tries, he’ll never be enough to fill the space Jack left behind.
“What are you still doing here?” Owen demands. Ianto doesn’t look up from his paperwork.
“I have to finish this,” he replies, “Since certain people don’t feel the need to actually do their reports…”
“Ha ha,” Owen mumbles. “C’mon, I thought you were coming for a drink.”
Owen forcibly rips files from Ianto’s hands.
“Right now, you’re coming out with the rest of us.”
Ianto wants to keep arguing, but he also knows that he needs to start rebuilding bridges with the team, besides, if Owen’s making this much effort, maybe he should make some effort in return.
Owen is unsettlingly excited about their latest trip to the countryside, to hunt down an apparent flesh-eating creature. Ianto can’t work out why, until Owen informs him of all the opportunities for sex ‘al fresco’.
“But it won’t be ‘al fresco’,” Ianto feels compelled to point out, “It’ll be cold, and there’ll be mud, and the possibility of being trampled on by livestock or a homicidal alien.”
Owen looks visibly deflated.
“God, Ianto,” he complains, “Why do you have to take everything so seriously?”
“Force of habit?” he suggests. “Never mind, we can always experiment with sleeping bags.”
Ianto’s twenty-sixth birthday passes with Jack still absent.
It’s not the most auspicious of days.
Ianto spends it filing.
It’s late when Owen awkwardly indicates that he has cake. Ianto isn’t sure when casual shagging because it was better than being alone became this, but right now, he doesn’t mind.
“I know you’ve had your sense of fun surgically removed,” Owen says, not meeting his eyes, “But it is your birthday.”
A monitor starts screaming but Owen turns it off; they can’t save everyone, not anymore.
Ianto sucks birthday cake off Owen’s fingers and tries to think of better times.
Owen carefully puts stitches into Ianto’s chin, hands shaking just slightly but Ianto thinks that he’s the one who deserves to be shaking. He was the one kidnapped by cannibals, after all. He was the one on his knees with a meat cleaver shoved up against his neck.
He throws up all over Owen’s shoes and even though it’s been a long day and it’s got to be the last straw, having the receptionist wreck his trainers, Owen says nothing, wipes his mouth, gives him a smile. It’s a tiny thing but Ianto is surprised by how grateful he is.
Jack should never have fucking left, but he did and they’re so far out of their depth that it’s hilarious they haven’t drowned sooner.
Well, right now, it isn’t hilarious, but Owen hopes it might be with hindsight.
“It’s going to be alright,” he promises.
Ianto, even with half his chest missing and blood trickling out of his mouth, still manages a withering look.
(Tosh informs him through her comm that she and Gwen have got the creature, but it’s far too late.)
Owen sits on the wet pavement and holds Ianto’s hand until it goes limp in his grasp.
Owen offers to take Ianto out for a drink because it’s been a stupidly traumatic few months and for once the world doesn’t seem to be trying to eat itself.
Besides, he hardly ever socialises with men anymore and Jack’s too fucking weird to count, so that leaves Ianto. Except that Owen had completely forgotten exactly how weirdly attractive Ianto becomes in normal, cufflink-free clothing, and notices this even more now Gwen’s not around getting herself shot; he winds up spending the evening staring at the open collar of Ianto’s black shirt, the pale skin beneath it – inevitably, embarrassingly distracted.
Drunk on cheap wine and Chinese Takeaway, Team Torchwood are showing just how mature they are by playing “who was your last shag?” Jack informs them it was that tentacled alien they had in last month (with a worryingly plausible twinkle in his eye), Gwen mentions Rhys, Tosh blushes, saying she has a new girlfriend.
Ianto is not talkative, so Owen thinks he should get away with it.
“Ianto,” Gwen begins, “I’ll give you a fiver to tell us who the last person you shagged was.”
Owen shoots Ianto a pleading look, but the bastard smiles at Gwen.
On the fourth day, Owen brings him a cup of coffee.
Ianto can’t stop shaking and he can’t feel his legs either.
“Things must be bad,” he says quietly, “If you’re making me coffee,” but Owen doesn’t reply, and Ianto begins to entertain the idea that he will actually die from this.
Jack is down in the cells, trying to beat an answer out of the aliens who infected Ianto, but Owen just sits there, silently admitting defeat.
Ianto drinks his coffee and doesn’t speak again. He reaches for Owen’s hand, though, and it’s impossible to say who’s trembling more.
There’s something about having Captain Jack Harkness as a boss that fucks up your head. Ianto has always suspected this, but he doesn’t really figure out how screwed his view of the world has become until he’s carrying mugs of tea around and can’t take his eyes off the fact that Owen’s got the tiniest smear of chocolate on his lower lip. He doesn’t even notice the Dairy Milk wrapper left on the floor, just the chocolate on Owen’s mouth and the way his jeans tighten across his arse when he bends over.
He’s going to kill Jack for this.
Somewhere between slamming Owen against the coffee machine and not actually caring whether it gets damaged or not (which is Ianto’s third sign that something is seriously fucking wrong), and forcing Owen onto his knees while the other man fumbles with his belt and mutters something derogatory about suit trousers, Ianto manages to gasp through bruised lips:
“Owen, if you have been getting the pheromones out again, I will actually have to hurt you.”
Owen, who is trying to work out where to put a lovebite where everyone will be able to see it tomorrow, decides that it’s worth it.
The day Gwen dies and Tosh ends up in hospital and probably won’t ever recover, Ianto and Owen realise with Jack gone they just can’t keep Torchwood ticking over.
Owen won’t cry but Ianto cries enough for the both of them because someone has to, there in the metal and concrete where humanity and empathy are optional and lost too often to really matter.
“You should go home,” Owen says and Ianto thinks about guns and morphine overdoses and the other ways you can rid yourself of guilt on cold evenings in the Hub.
“I think I’ll stay,” he replies.
Ianto only answers the phone at two a.m because it might be Jack and the world might be ending and he could therefore be required to look awake and make coffee.
It’s Owen. And he’s very, very drunk.
“Ianto,” he half whines, “Come take me home.”
“Take a cab,” Ianto replies.
“Please,” Owen says. “I’m really out of it.”
“I can hear,” Ianto tells him. “I don’t even know how you got my number. I’m trying to sleep.”
That’s all it takes. One last try in that broken, slurring voice and Ianto sighs and asks Owen for the address.
Owen becomes the boss after Jack disappears because no one else wants the job.
Ianto brings him coffee every night and after a month or so it becomes a blowjob Owen never intended to ask for and Ianto never intended to give. Perhaps it’s just the fact Ianto needs a trace of the life he used to live, or he’s lonely without Jack.
“You know, Ianto,” Owen mumbles thoughtfully with one hand tangled in Ianto’s hair, “You really need to aspire to be more than the boss’ part time shag.”
“Don’t make me have to shoot you again,” Ianto mutters.
“I’m not sure,” Ianto mumbles, “That you should be enjoying this.”
Owen isn’t sure either, but it’s not his fault Ianto needs tetanus shots and is bent over the table with his trousers around his ankles. With an arse like that, Ianto can’t blame him for enjoying the view.
“Just be grateful I’m not Jack.”
Ianto flinches at the next needle, and Owen’s mouth goes dry. This isn’t fair.
“That hurt,” Ianto complains, completely unaware that Owen is going out of his mind.
“Sorry,” Owen mutters sarcastically. “Want me to kiss it better?”
Owen shrugs, and does it anyway.
Owen is leaving Torchwood and so his memories need removing.
He’s lying in bed, stripped to his boxers, a glass of retconned water in his hand.
“Drink up,” Ianto tells him quietly.
The sedative is sparkling in Owen’s eyes as he drains the glass and reaches for Ianto, pulling him onto the bed and into a dangerous kind of kiss.
“Always wanted to do this,” he murmurs.
This is bad.
This is very, very bad.
But Owen won’t remember this tomorrow and, Ianto realises, tasting retcon on Owen’s teeth, he probably won’t either.
Maybe it’s not so bad after all.
He can see it all in the frown on Owen’s face, the anxiety in his trembling hands. A lot of days, Torchwood is Too Much To Handle, and the stress stays with Owen long after he leaves the Hub.
“In case it’s escaped your notice,” Ianto says, “I am stark naked here, and so are you, and this is a good thing.”
Owen looks doubtful, and Ianto pulls him closer.
“Let it go,” he whispers, “Just for a bit. Focus on the moment.”
For an hour or so, everything is [almost] perfect.
And then the real world crashes back in.
“You have no reason to stay here,” Owen says, a week after Jack’s disappearance. His shoulder hurts more than usual and Ianto has been wandering about all morning looking vague and sad, in a pretty but irritating fashion. “Your cyber-girlfriend is dead. Torchwood One actually tried to kill you, as did the cannibals. And Jack’s not around any more. You don’t have to stay.”
Ianto looks at him with disdain in his eyes, and manages a bland smile.
“I’ve got nowhere else to go,” he replies. “Torchwood is everything that I have left.”
Owen knows. It’s the same with him.
It should have been meaningless.
That was the whole point, Ianto catching his arm, bitterness in his voice: “fuck me ‘til I forget. You don’t care where you get it from, so get it from me.”
Owen would’ve been an idiot to refuse.
Ianto is skinnier, though, than he looks under those suits and his hands tremble where they clasp Owen’s shoulders, and Jack is gone and Lisa died and Diane could be anywhere and Owen’s shoulder isn’t even healed yet but he kisses Ianto anyway, deep and hard, and it should have been meaningless and it isn’t, it isn’t.
Owen hates the Welsh.
He hates their stupid accents, that send shivers down his spine.
He hates their ridiculously ironed suits, which should in no way be sexy, but are in an embarrassingly irresistible way.
He hates their bland smiles and snide, sarcastic comments, which always seem to be directed at him.
He hates that they can make perfect coffee when the rest of Torchwood can’t even get the fucking machine to turn on.
And he hates the way they’re sleeping with Jack, but won’t even look Owen in the eye.
[Or maybe he just hates one Welshman in particular.]
When he is clean and no longer covered in exploded-alien-type-goo, Owen is going to track down and murder Jack. Or whoever it was that decided communal showers would be a good idea. The close proximity of naked, wet Ianto is unsettlingly arousing and Owen can feel his whole body shaking as he attempts to scrub goop out of his hair and not look at the pretty, firm, dripping body not two feet away. A walking masturbation fantasy rubbing soap down his chest and-
Owen makes a strangled noise and decides to just keep his eyes closed until they’re both clean.
“You’re kidding me.”
Ianto’s too-broad grin splits his face in an alarming way.
“But…” Owen is floundering and also quite drunk, “But… you’re so boring.”
“And you’re so charming,” Ianto snaps back.
“Ha ha.” Owen looks at him blearily. “So, why do you have a tattoo?”
“Uni,” Ianto explains, “Everyone was doing it. It’s what counts for entertainment in Aberystwyth.”
“Where is it?” he asks. Ianto flushes, leans over, and whispers in his ear. Owen chokes.
“Oh yes.” Ianto sits back and drains his pint glass. “Play your cards right, and I might show you.”