Title: Suspicious Behaviour
Characters: Owen, Jack, Ianto, Tosh
Summary: Owen’s acting decidedly un-Owen like. The team want to know why.
Word Count: 1108
Written For: My own prompt ‘Torchwood, Ianto, Owen. When Owen starts being nice to everyone, Ianto looks for pods,’ at fic_promptly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
“Good morning, everyone, isn’t it a beautiful day?” Owen called out cheerily as he breezed into the Hub at 8am, a big smile on his face and a spring in his step. Ianto nearly dropped his tray of coffees and Tosh spun around in her chair to stare at the medic in surprise at his next announcement. “I come bearing breakfast; muffins and doughnuts from that little bakery Ianto found.”
Said little bakery was a good couple of miles in the opposite direction to the Hub coming from Owen’s flat. Plus, Owen never paid for anything out of his own pocket if he could help it. He padded his expenses to bursting point, not that Ianto allowed him to get away with everything he tried to claim for. Ianto narrowed his eyes and studied the other man suspiciously.
“Who are you and what have you done with Owen?”
“What, I can’t be in a good mood?” Owen asked blithely.
“Not generally, no. Usually you stagger in here over an hour late, hung over, snapping at everyone, and demanding coffee immediately on pain of death.”
“Not this morning.” Owen set his burden of bags and boxes down on the kitchen counter. “Help yourselves, people!” He pulled a stack of plates from the cupboard, piled a few tasty treats onto a couple of them and headed towards his workstation, setting one plate down on Toshiko’s desk as he passed. “I got you your favourites; a chocolate croissant and a raspberry muffin.”
Tosh was speechless for a moment; Owen actually remembered what she liked? “Thank you, Owen.”
Ianto delivered everyone’s coffee, getting an unexpected, “Thanks, mate,” from Owen, then retreated to join Jack leaning on the railing of the catwalk outside his office.
“Soon as I finish my coffee, I’m going looking for pods,” he informed Jack in a low voice.
“Huh? What d’you mean?” Jack frowned back at Ianto, confused.
“Pods. You know, to grow replicas of people and take over the world?” At Jack’s continuing blank look, he rolled his eyes. “Don’t tell me you’ve never seen Invasion of the Body Snatchers’.”
Jack shook his head. “Not that I’m aware of. Sorry.”
“Typical. It’s a classic. Scared the crap out of me when I was a kid. For months afterwards, I had to check under my bed every night to make sure there wasn’t a pod hidden there. I should check under Owen’s bed. And in his closets.”
“Want some company?”
“Better not, someone needs to keep an eye on pod-Owen, make sure he doesn’t do anything weird.”
“You mean weirder than arriving at work early with food for everyone?”
“Good point. Probably best not to eat any of those pastries until they’ve been tested. Get Tosh to scan them.”
“You really think Owen’s a pod person?” Jack sounded dubious.
“This is Torchwood. Stranger things have happened. Can’t be too careful in our line of work.”
Jack couldn’t really argue with that logic.
“Okay, you check Owen’s flat, I’ll check the Hub, and I’ll get Tosh to check the muffins.”
Ianto drained the last of his coffee. “Good. Right, I’ll be off, I’ll let you know if I find anything.”
“Got your bluetooth?”
“Of course. Better put yours in so we can keep in touch.”
Doing as Ianto requested, Jack grabbed his lover’s arm, pulling him back for a moment. “Be careful.”
“Will do.” A quick kiss and Ianto was gone.
“Tosh? Can I see you in my office?”
“Sure, Jack, I’ll be right there.”
Jack retreated to his office to wait for her, pulling up the CCTV to keep an eye on Owen.
“What’s up?” Tosh asked as she entered a few moments later.
“That’s what we’d all like to know. Owen is being very… not Owen. Ianto is worried and frankly, so am I.”
“The Hub monitors aren’t picking up anything unusual,” Tosh said.
“They’re not calibrated to detect everything though, are they? That wouldn’t be possible.”
“What do you want me to do?”
“Check the food Owen brought in, make sure it’s safe to eat. Then, just keep an eye on him.”
“Right. Where’s Ianto?”
“He’s gone to Owen’s place to look for clues.”
“Do you really think Owen’s… what, possessed?”
“I don’t know what to think. But like Ianto said, in this job we can’t be too careful.”
Tosh headed back to her station to start working on her assignment. It proved fairly easy since Owen had retreated to the autopsy bay. She could hear him singing cheerfully, if a bit off key. Picking up a scanner, she ran it over her breakfast first, then took it to the kitchen to check the rest of the pastries under the pretext of pouring herself another coffee. Everything checked out one hundred percent earth normal, which she told Jack by IM.
On receiving the news, Jack popped out of his office, made a beeline for the kitchen, and returned to his office with two loaded plates, deciding he’d better grab something for Ianto before someone else ate it all. Speaking of Ianto… He clicked his earpiece. “Ianto? Find anything?”
“Nope. I’ve checked everywhere, and scanned everything. No pods and the scans are normal.” He sounded baffled.
“According to Tosh, breakfast is fine too,” Jack said, voice slightly muffled because he had his mouth full. “I saved you some. Come on back.”
“Okay, I’m on my way.”
When Ianto arrived back at the Hub, he made more coffee and retreated to Jack’s office for something to eat and to discuss strategy. “What next?” he asked, munching on a muffin.
“There’s only one thing left that we can do. Talk to Owen.”
As soon as he was summoned to Jack’s office, Owen dropped what he was doing and bounded up the steps.
“Reporting as ordered!”
“Take a seat.”
Owen did as requested and looked at the rest of the team gathered around Jack’s desk. Jack decided not to beat around the bush.
“You’re acting weird. Why?”
“I’m acting weird? Says the guys sneaking around and whispering together.”
“This isn’t about us, it’s about you. You’re acting happy. You’re never happy. It’s unnatural.”
“I’ll ‘ave you know I’ve got a very good reason to be happy.” Owen grinned up at them.
“Care to share?”
“Why not? But you only get to look.” Owen dug in his pocket and pulled out a scratch card, holding it up to show the others. “Read it an’ weep! I just won fifty grand!”
“Money,” sighed Jack. “I should’ve guessed.” He glanced at Ianto. “Looks like Owen’s not a pod person after all.”
Ianto couldn’t help feeling the tiniest bit disappointed about that.