Characters: Ianto, Jack, Owen, Gwen, Tosh.
Summary: Ianto is used to being the responsible adult at work, but he can usually count on Tosh’s support.
Word Count: 1119
Content Notes: None necessary.
Written For: Challenge 86: Urge at beattheblackdog.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
There were many days when Ianto had an almost irresistible urge to strangle one of his colleagues, usually Owen, but quite often Gwen or even Jack. All three of them could be a gigantic pain in the arse without even trying.
Jack, for instance, had a bad habit of leaving his paperwork for as long as he could possibly get away with it and Ianto sometimes wondered if he’d learned that from Owen, who could be just as bad in that respect, or if, on being recruited to Torchwood Three, Owen had simply followed his boss’s example.
Jack could also be relied upon to interrupt whenever Ianto was trying to get actual work done, which although irritating was usually immensely pleasurable, once he convinced Ianto that work could wait a bit.
What was less enjoyable was Jack’s far too cavalier attitude towards his immortality, which resulted in him throwing himself into danger for no good reason Ianto could think of. Just because he could come back from the dead didn’t mean he had to keep proving it. In all honesty, it made no sense for Ianto to feel like killing Jack because he was perfectly capable of getting himself killed, but there you go; love doesn’t have to make sense, and despite Jack’s often annoying behaviour, Ianto did love him, very much, meaning he usually wound up forgiving his lover’s… eccentricities. It was very difficult to stay mad at him, although Ianto thought it only right to try.
Then there was Owen, who had his own bad habits, such as putting his experiments in the kitchen refrigerator, even though he had a small one in the autopsy bay for that purpose. Worse than that was his even more disgusting habit of getting so distracted studying his specimens that he’d ‘forget’ to clean up after doing an autopsy, leaving the dirty work for Ianto.
As if that wasn’t enough, and probably because he knew how much it would irritate Ianto, Owen wouldn’t order fresh supplies of necessary items when he was starting to run low; he’d wait until he ran out completely then bitch and moan over the time it took for them to arrive. Come to think of it, complaining was one of Owen’s favourite pastimes; Ianto was happy to trade insults and snark with the medic, but found his constant griping tedious at best.
Gwen was her very own brand of annoying, with her thoughtless remarks and know-it-all attitude, her incessant nosiness about things that were none of her business, and her dog with a bone refusal to let go of anything she was told to leave alone. He often wondered if she understood what the word ‘no’ meant, or is she merely thought it didn’t apply to her.
She was forever asking Jack for extra time off to be with her boyfriend, and she nagged him so much he usually ended up caving if only to get some peace and quiet, even though the rest of them hadn’t had a decent night off in weeks. Then there was her even more infuriating habit of trying to mother everyone, calling them ‘pet’ and ‘sweetheart’, trying to get them to confide in her by showing them how much she cared. She meant well, probably, but she came across as condescending and patronising, especially towards Ianto since he was the youngest. Young he might be, but he’d seen and lost more in his short life than she could begin to imagine. He’d set her straight on a few things except that would mean dipping into personal matters and he wasn’t a sharer; he preferred to keep his private life to himself. Knowing Gwen, whatever he told her she’d immediately turn around and tell the rest of the team anyway, which mad him doubly determined to keep quiet.
Thankfully, Tosh’s behaviour was usually beyond reproach; it was nice to know that he worked with at least one person who could be relied upon to act like a mature adult rather than an oversized and undisciplined toddler.
“Tosh, put that down please, sweetheart.”
“No!” Tosh giggled and ran away, taking the small toolkit he needed with her.
Ianto repressed an urge to scream, and possibly throw something. ‘It’s not her fault,’ he reminded himself. ‘She doesn’t know what she’s doing.’ Actually, when he thought about it, it was Owen’s fault; he’d been the one messing about, bouncing a tennis ball off the wall until a poor shot had sent it ricocheting into the device Tosh was studying, causing it to short circuit, and regressing her into an actual toddler. Technically, that meant it was Owen Ianto should feel like strangling, and not poor, innocent Toshiko, who was merely the unfortunate victim of Owen’s carelessness.
Still, here Ianto was, alone in the Hub with a two-year-old Tosh, trying to fix things by himself while babysitting his friend, because the others had gone out to deal with a Weevil that had encroached on a busy residential area near a school. For obvious reasons, rounding it up and returning it to the sewers took precedence over everything else. The trouble was, Ianto needed another pair of eyes at the very least, and a few more hands wouldn’t go amiss either. There was simply no way he could keep Tosh out of trouble and fix the device at the same time. Groaning in despair, he dropped his head into his hands and somehow resisted the urge to start tearing his hair out by the roots, telling himself that Jack wouldn’t approve; he liked Ianto’s hair where it was.
Suddenly he felt a small hand tugging at his trouser leg, and a worried little voice said, “Don’t cry.”
Ianto looked down into wide, dark eyes and reminded himself again that none of this mess was Tosh’s fault. “I’m not crying, sweetheart, I’m just tired.” Frustrated and exhausted was closer to the truth, but he thought that would be a bit more than a two-year-old would understand. He lifted her into his lap, relieved to see that she was still clutching the toolkit in one chubby hand. At least he wouldn’t have to go searching for it. “Want to help me fix this thing?”
“Right, let’s take a look at those tools and see which ones we’ll need.” Somehow, even without Tosh’s genius to help him, he was going to have to fix this and get his friend back to normal. She may not be aware of it right now, but she was depending on it. After all the times she’d rescued him from weird situations there was no way he was going to let her down. He owed her, more than he could ever repay.