Characters: Jack, mentions Ianto, Lisa, Owen, Katie, Tosh, Gwen, Rhys.
Spoilers: Fragments, Cyberwoman, tiny for Small Worlds.
Summary: In Jack’s opinion, he doesn’t really have any vices. His team has a few though, or at least they think so.
Word Count: 1474
Written For: Challenge 71: Vice at beattheblackdog.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
Jack doesn’t have vices; or maybe it would be more accurate to say he doesn’t see them as such. The future is a freer place, where behaviour like his isn’t frowned on the way it is in this time. What’s wrong with a bit of lust as long as it’s reciprocated? And Ianto certainly reciprocates very enthusiastically. All Jack’s previous lovers did too, because Jack would never force or compel anyone to sleep with him. There’s no pleasure to be found in an unwilling partner.
Despite what people might think, he isn’t lazy, he merely knows how to conserve energy, a habit he learned early in life, and which was further drilled into him during various military campaigns, both before and after getting stranded on earth. When you grow up in an area that’s mostly desert, you learn not to overexert yourself during the hottest parts of the day. Similarly, in the middle of a war, you save your strength for the coming battles, only doing what you have too between times. He still does the same now, even though he doesn’t strictly need to since he’s powered by vortex energy. On the other hand, if he gets killed too often, it can take a while for him to recharge and then rest is essential; it speeds up healing.
Food helps a lot with that too, so some people think he’s greedy, but that’s not true either. He needs to fuel his body, like anyone else, but recovering from death and regenerating replacement parts takes a lot of energy. Even the vortex energy within him would have a tough time creating matter out of nothing, so plenty of food helps things along. Plus, of course, when the Rift is in a very active phase everyone on the team burns off more calories and needs to eat more.
There’s another lesson learned from the military; you eat whenever you have the chance, whether you really feel hungry or not, because you never know how long it will be before you have the opportunity again. It does mean he tends to eat fast, just in case he gets interrupted, but he has excellent digestion, so why not? There’s not always time during the workday for a leisurely meal, although when there is, he likes to make the most of it. Food tastes better when you can actually savour it instead of just gulping it down.
Really, when he thinks about it, he’s mostly free of anything popularly considered a vice. He doesn’t even smoke, although he did back when it was fashionable to do so, just to fit in, and he doesn’t drink to excess these days, or at least not very often. Most of the time he chooses water over alcohol. He used to get roaring drunk all the time, but soon found that he couldn’t stay drunk for long, so really, what was the point in trying? He was just wasting money. The same is true of drugs; he can’t get addicted, and though he can get high, the effects don’t last long. There’s no harm in the occasional aphrodisiac of course, although usually he’s not the one taking it… He can keep going all night long, but regular humans sometimes need a bit of help.
The rest of the team are typical of people from this time period; they have their vices, or at least things they or others might consider vices, but Jack tries not to lecture them. What they do on their own time is their own business; he only intervenes if their ability to do their jobs might be compromised.
Owen drinks too much, and knows it, but there’s little Jack can do about that. He knows Owen is self-medicating to numb the pain of losing Katie. He also knows it’s not really helping, but people have to work through their grief their own way and Jack won’t take that right away from his medic. He’s experienced the grief of losing a loved one too many times for him to criticise how others choose to deal with it. Owen will clean up his act in time, or he won’t; it’s up to him. As long as he restricts his boozing to his off hours, the only problem arising from his drinking is that he often comes in with a hangover. Good thing Torchwood has a pill for that, thanks to some helpful aliens.
Ianto started smoking again right after the Lisa incident, but quit when he resumed sharing Jack’s bed. This time he’s quit for good, or so he’s promised; that’s something Jack is happy about. He definitely prefers Ianto tasting of Ianto and coffee, rather than having his unique flavour overlaid by tobacco and nicotine. Perhaps Ianto has traded one addition for another, but Jack’s of the opinion that being addicted to him is a more sensible and far less harmful option.
Tosh… Well, if the quiet and reserved tech expert has any vices at all then Jack doesn’t know about them. Maybe she gets envious of Gwen for attracting men so easily, but she never shows it openly. She does have a bit of a chocolate addiction, but then, doesn’t everyone? Even their pet Pteranodon is afflicted most enjoyably with that one. Besides, Jack sees chocolate as a harmless pleasure everyone should be free to indulge in.
If any of the team gives Jack cause for concern over their vices, it’s Gwen. She has a boyfriend, yet cheats on him for the thrill, without Rhys’ knowledge. If Rhys knew and accepted that Gwen sometimes needed more than he could offer, Jack wouldn’t have a problem with it; such arrangements are common in the time he comes from. It’s the way she goes behind her boyfriend’s back that bothers Jack, not to mention that she’s cheating on Rhys with Owen, who she must know Tosh has a crush on. That strikes Jack as a bit mean spirited, even if Owen was the one who pursued Gwen. Come to think of it, Owen’s motives for that are a bit suspect as well, like he wanted to break up Gwen’s happy relationship so she’d be as miserable as he is. Jack is interfering a bit there, pushing Gwen back towards Rhys wherever possible, and he hopes the woman will eventually see sense. She has a good man and he doesn’t want her to lose him. Rhys is the stabilising influence in her life, and even if she’s not aware of it, she needs him.
The other thing that concerns Jack about Gwen is her addiction to the adrenaline rush she gets from being in danger. She needs to learn to be more careful; there won’t always be someone there to save her when she behaves recklessly and it’s not fair of her to continually put other people at risk. He’s tried talking to her about it before, but she just shrugs it off, as if she thinks nothing bad could possibly happen to her because she’s protected in some way. He really should have seen that in her during their first meeting, and maybe he would have if he hadn’t been so busy showing off.
Ah well, never let it be said that he doesn’t learn from his mistakes. He just wishes Gwen would, and until she does he’ll just have to keep her on a tight leash and watch out for her in the field. He hopes she won’t get the wrong idea. It’ll annoy Ianto if she starts flirting more than she already does. Jack’s all for a good flirt, as long as people realise he doesn’t intend to follow through. You have to be a little careful about who you flirt with; it doesn’t do to have people thinking you were promising something you weren’t.
Speaking of which, there is a promise he made which he intends to keep, eventually, when there’s time, namely taking Ianto out for a nice dinner, hopefully one of those rare leisurely meals if the Rift will only cooperate. It’s his way of saying thank you for Ianto’s efforts above and beyond the call of duty, helping sort out Estelle’s affairs and plan her funeral. Admittedly it’s a bit belated, things have been hectic for the past three months, or is it four? It’s so easy to lose track of time in this job. Better late than never though, right? If anyone deserves a reward for their hard work, it’s Ianto. This isn’t a date, Ianto’s not ready for that kind of relationship yet, it’s too soon after Lisa, but maybe in a few more months… Despite his lack of vices, Jack does have one significant virtue; he can be very patient, and he doesn’t mind waiting as long as he needs to. He has a feeling Ianto will prove well worth it.