Characters: Jack, Owen.
Summary: Because of his heavy drinking and resultant tardiness, Jack is having second thoughts about recruiting Dr. Owen Harper to Torchwood.
Word Count: 677
Written For: paceisthetrick’s prompt ‘any, any, perpetually tardy,’ at fic_promptly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
Jack had long since given up expecting Owen Harper to get to work punctually; he hadn’t managed it a single time since being recruited. Sometimes, Jack even had to go and roust him out of bed, hungover and cursing, all but dragging him to the Hub.
In some respects, Owen’s behaviour wasn’t surprising; he was still reeling from the tragic death of his young fiancée, bitter and angry at the world, and at himself for being unable to save the woman he loved. Jack had loved and tragically lost enough times to empathise, but what he didn’t get was Owen’s desire to wallow in his pain and misery to the exclusion of everything else. He’d thought the young doctor would have been eager for the chance to prevent other people having to suffer the way Katie had, but Harper was proving surprisingly difficult to motivate.
Jack had tried sending the medic back to London to investigate the space pig mystery, but Owen had got himself plastered the night before and Tosh had wound up taking his place. Jack suspected Torchwood’s tech genius was more than a little smitten with Owen, the first man, aside from himself, that she’d spent any time with since getting out of the UNIT prison. He only hoped she wouldn’t wind up getting her heart broken.
Owen didn’t seem interested in her though; he was too busy going out on the lash every night, then going home with any woman who’d fall for his pick-up line. Casual sex was the order of the day; his heart was still much too fragile for him to even consider the possibility of starting another relationship.
“What time do you call this, Owen?” Jack snapped as the errant medic stumbled into the Hub at almost noon, rumpled, unshaven, and wearing dark glasses despite the lack of sunlight outside.
“Dunno,” Owen replied, “and don’t yell; I’ve got a splitting headache.”
“That’s hardly news. You need to lay off the sauce.”
“What’s it to you? You’re not my mother; you don’t get to tell me what to do.”
“No, I’m just your boss, the one who pays you the money you use to get hammered every night, but that could change. You’re no good to me coming in so hung over that you can’t even see straight, never mind do your job.”
“You shouldn’t have hired me then, should you? Not like I asked you to.” Owen didn’t even glance in Jack’s direction.
“You didn’t have to. You kept looking for me, remember? Trying to find answers, wanting to know the truth. I just made you an offer; you didn’t have to accept it. If you don’t want to be here, then leave; I’ll find another medic for the team.”
“Not one as good as me.”
“Maybe not, you have a lot of potential, but right now you’re wasting it. Six months, Owen; that’s how long you’ve been here. You’ve shown up late every single day, when you’ve bothered to show up at all. Tosh has had to take time away from her own work to cover for you, and we’ve all tried to pick up the slack, give you time to adjust, but we’re through carrying you. I need a medic I can rely on; I’d like that medic to be you because I believe you’ve got what it takes to do a lot of good, to save lives, but if you want to stay on you’ll have to prove you deserve to be here. That means coming to work more or less on time and sober enough to do your job without putting other people’s loved ones at risk. I’m putting you on a week’s notice; you have seven days to either shape up or hand in your resignation. It’s up to you.”
Turning on his heel, Jack returned to his office, leaving Owen to slump into the chair at his workstation and bury his pounding head in his folded arms on the desktop. He’d heard Jack’s ultimatum; now he had a lot of thinking to do.