Characters: Ianto, Jack.
Summary: Something has gone seriously wrong and Jack and Ianto are blaming each other.
Word Count: 1385
Written For: Challenge 81: Accusation at beattheblackdog.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
“This is all your fault!” Ianto snapped accusingly, the heat in his eyes as he glared at Jack enough to make the immortal draw back slightly, even if it wasn’t enough to prevent his vociferous objection.
“My fault? It’s not like I forced you!” Because he would never do something like that; not to Ianto or anyone else. A bit of fun with a willing partner was one thing, but forcing his attentions on someone was John Hart’s style, not Jack’s.
“No, but it was your bloody idea to use that time dilation device!” Ianto threw back at him, clenching his fists and getting right up in Jack’s face.
Jack’s posture mirrored Ianto’s. “And you were the one complaining this morning that we hadn’t had any time to ourselves in nearly three weeks, what with it being Weevil mating season, and now the Rift acting up! I was just trying to make to you happy, and this is the thanks I get!”
Ianto opened his mouth to yell back at Jack again, but stopped himself; he was being unfair. He was sure Jack had meant well, and hadn’t intended for this to happen. In theory, it had been a good idea; speed up time in a specific area so they could steal a few hours for themselves and then get back to work without the rest of the team being any the wiser, only now they were trapped because the device wouldn’t shut down as it was supposed to.
His shoulders slumped as the fight drained out of him. “You’re right; I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have yelled, it’s just… We’re stuck, and with no idea how long for.”
“It could be worse,” Jack ventured, and Ianto inclined his head, conceding the point. Jack had waited until the rest of the team had left for the evening, then set the time dilation field to encompass the whole of the main Hub, including the cubby-hole beneath his office, so they wouldn’t be restricted to one small area. It meant they had access to Jack’s en suite bathroom, the kitchen with its well-stocked cupboards, freezer, and refrigerator, and most importantly, the coffee machine. “At least we won’t starve for a week or two, or suffer caffeine withdrawal,” Jack continued. “Think of it as a short vacation; you can catch up on your sleep while I try to work out why the device won’t turn off, and figure our how to fix it.”
“Almost makes me wish Tosh had decided to work late,” Ianto said wryly. “Bet she’d have it fixed in no time.”
“Are you doubting my ability to solve this problem?” Jack threw Ianto a hurt look.
“Of course not. I’m just saying Tosh could do it faster. There’s a reason she’s our tech expert.”
Jack nodded. “Because she’s a genius who can figure out and fix pretty much anything.”
“Exactly. Look, why don’t you take a look at the device while I make us a coffee? We’re probably going to need it.”
“Good thinking,” Jack agreed. As Ianto started to turn away, Jack called him back. “Ianto? I really am sorry I got us into this mess.”
Ianto shook his head. “It’s not all your fault. You’re right; I could’ve said no.” Turning away again, he headed for the kitchen, leaving Jack trying to figure out what had gone wrong.
Three hours, four cups of coffee, and a stack of grilled cheese sandwiches later, the two of them were wading through all the information on the device that Ianto had managed to dig up from Mainframe’s databases. Ianto rubbed wearily at his eyes before trying to focus on the page in front of him again.
“It’s late. Why don’t you take a break and get some rest?” Jack suggested. “I’ll wake you if I come up with anything.”
“No you’re not; you’re practically falling asleep. Look, from what I’ve been able to work out, time outside the field is passing at approximately three point five seconds for every hour we experience, which means time is one thing we’ve got plenty of. You were already tired before we landed in this mess; it won’t help anyone if you run yourself into the ground.”
Sighing heavily, Ianto agreed. “Fine, I’ll go get some sleep; just promise you’ll wake me if you figure out how to get us back to normal time.”
“I will; count on it.”
“Okay then. Goodnight, Jack.” Ianto pushed himself wearily to his feet and leant over to give Jack a brief kiss.
“Goodnight, Ianto. Sleep well.” As Ianto disappeared down the manhole to Jack’s quarters, Jack turned his attention to the piles of papers on his desk, hoping that what they needed to solve the problem was in there somewhere.
Ianto woke at just after ten the following morning, according to his watch. Outside in the ‘normal’ world, it was still somewhere around eight the previous evening, less than a minute having passed since Jack had turned on the time dilation device. After showering and dressing, Ianto made his way up the ladder to find Jack sitting at his desk, chin resting on the heel of his left hand, elbow braced on his blotter, staring gloomily at the small and deceptively innocuous piece of alien machinery responsible for their present predicament. He looked like he hadn’t slept at all.
“How’s it going?” Ianto asked, perching on the corner of the desk and looking down at his lover. “Figure anything out yet?”
Jack looked up at him, eyes tired and red rimmed. “You were right; it is all my fault,” he admitted guiltily.
“No it’s not. What’re you talking about?”
“When I set this thing, it never occurred to me to recalibrate it for earth time. It’s Daiclonesian, which means it’s calibrated to their measurements of time, so when I thought I’d programmed it to turn off in three hours, I’d actually set it for three days.”
“Oh.” Ianto considered that. “Well, that’s not too bad, that still works out at only just over twenty minutes in real time.” He stopped speaking as Jack shook his head.
“No, it doesn’t work quite like that. Daiclonesian days are the equivalent of just over eighty seven earth hours.”
“Really? Huh.” Ianto ran some quick calculations in his head. “That means we have a bit under eleven days to kill while an hour and a quarter passes in the outside world.”
“Yes. I’m sorry.” Jack looked so forlorn that Ianto immediately felt bad for placing the blame on him the previous day. Jack had obviously taken his accusation to heart.
“Eleven days… Well, I’m sure we can think of some way to pass the time.”
Jack looked up at him, surprised. “You’re not mad at me?”
“I was yesterday, but…” Ianto shrugged awkwardly, offering Jack a sheepish smile. “I was tired and cranky, but now… Well, I’ve just had the best, completely uninterrupted night’s sleep I’ve had in months, so I’m in a far better mood. Now that we know the device will turn itself off at the appropriate time, I think we should do like you said and treat this as an unexpected vacation. We get little enough time off anyway, so we really shouldn’t waste it when it practically falls into our laps. Call it serendipity, a happy accident. I know we’ll have to stay in the Hub, but there’s all those movies I downloaded that we’ve been trying to find time to watch, as well as… other things.” He winked at Jack, who perked up immediately.
“I like the way you think, Mr. Jones!”
“I rather thought you might. So, how about I make coffee while you fix breakfast, and then we can watch a movie while we eat. After that, I guess we can play it by ear.” He stood up and offered Jack his hand, pulling his lover to his feet and into his arms for a quick kiss, and wrinkling his nose. “You have morning breath.”
“Hardly surprising. I’ll brush my teeth after breakfast, I promise.”
“Good enough. Right, what’s for breakfast?”
“Bacon butties?” Jack suggested.
“Sounds perfect.” Ianto smiled to himself as he followed Jack towards the kitchen; getting trapped wasn’t so bad now he thought about it. A stay at home vacation might be just what they needed!