Torchwood FIC: When The Pieces Fall Into Place
(crossposted from LJ)
Title: When The Pieces Fall Into Place Fandom: Torchwood Pairing: Jack/Ianto, Jack/Ianto/Owen Rating: NC-17 Summary: Owen has a knack for puzzles, or maybe it's more a blinding obsession, but he can't solve Jack and Ianto. Spoilers: Mild spoilers for the first season. Note: Huge thanks to astrothsknot for beta reading.
Dedication: This story is a belated birthday present for the lovely alizarin_nyc who asked for: Owen is burning with curiosity about Jack/Ianto. Could be voyeurism or threesome or jealousy or Jack/Owen powerplay. I tried to give you all of that! I hope you enjoy it. *blows kisses*
When The Pieces Fall Into Place By Lenore
Their days at Torchwood are invariably long, but not all action-packed. Reviewing CCTV footage. Analyzing artifacts. Writing reports. Owen's mind wanders at times, his eyes along with it. He fights for his life against the vicious and unlikely often enough, survival instincts all that stand between him and alien-shaped death, so naturally he notices things. Small things. Unimportant, perhaps, in the grand scheme. But he likes knowing.
He knows, for instance, that Tosh's taste in lingerie has taken a turn for the more interesting since her run-in with the sex-crazed alien, a lacy improvement over the serviceable white cotton of old. She has a habit of leaning over her computer, propped up on one elbow, and every time Owen reaches for his mug, he has a perfect view all down the front of her shirt. Here's something else he understands about her. She never catches him at it, because she doesn't expect anyone to be looking.
Gwen has more nervous habits than any other ten people combined. She drums her fingers on her desk. Twirls her hair around her finger. Chews her thumbnail. Worries her lip between her teeth. She'll catch herself at it every now and again and stop. Do a careful look around to see who might have noticed. Gwen always assumes people are watching.
Then there's Jack and Ianto. Nothing really changes between them when they start sleeping together, not outwardly anyway. Coffee, sir? Jack's same, easy smile. Thanks, Ianto. There's just a slight disturbance in the air that wasn't there before, and Ianto loses some of the wounded animal look he's had since Lisa. When Jack comes back from the dead, the proof of what Owen has long guessed is right there for everyone to see, Ianto's face in Jack's hands, their eyes closed for just a brief, brief second.
That's that, Owen thinks. He can stop speculating about it now.
Except, apparently, he can't.
Owen never goes to the same pub two nights in a row. He prefers anonymity after the claustrophobic days at the Hub, where every breath he takes feels like it belongs to someone else. Sitting three stools down, there's a redhead, young and twittery, probably a shopgirl, with her careful makeup and cheap clothes. He catches her eye, and she doesn't look away, so he smiles and raises his glass. She runs the tip of her tongue over her lips, bold and obvious, just the way a nameless shag should be.
That's when it happens. An image floats through his mind, Ianto with his collar askew, startlingly erotic, and Jack's hands, touching the pristine fabric of Ianto's shirt, leaving invisible fingerprints.
Owen blinks, and it's gone, and he picks up the flirtation where he left off. The redhead, though, has noticed the lapse and isn't pleased, her mouth pulled tight at the corners. She makes a show of turning to the bloke on the other side of her, a beige ghost of a man, whose eyes go wide and a little terrified that an actual woman is showering smiles on him.
Owen bends over his whiskey, muttering under his breath, "Bloody hell."
There's no reason to believe it's anything more than a freak occurrence. At least, until it happens again.
They have a Quintar on the loose, a beast from some distant somewhere, with fangs and claws and a sweet tooth for humans. If that isn't enough, its thick scales make it impervious to the usual weapons. The thing may not be sentient, but it's damn crafty at eluding them. Jack knows it only by name, not how to kill it. So they gather back at the office and try to sort it out, sifting through the meager facts, looking for something useful.
"We know the Quintar is territorial," Tosh says. "The attacks have all come in a limited area."
Jack nods thoughtfully, and Owen's brain takes an unexpected holiday.
They're in Jack's office, and Ianto is splayed across the desk, papers crumpled beneath his belly, a mug toppled over, old coffee staining what are probably top-secret files. Ianto's trousers pool on the floor in an untidy heap. Jack goes at him like the world's about to burn down, pressed against Ianto's back as tightly as a second skin, one hand wrapped around Ianto's hip, the other gripping his jaw, fingers digging in, controlling and hot as hell. The familiar slap-slap of fucking sounds huge in the small room, all the more so because Ianto is silent, taking everything Jack has, eyes squeezed so tightly shut it makes the tendon stand out on the side of his neck.
Jack slides his lips over Ianto's ear, caressing, whispering, "Tell me. I want to hear you."
When Ianto does, it's torn out of him, "Please!"
Owen comes back to, and Jack has an eyebrow raised in his direction. "Want to share with the class what you've learned about Quintar physiology? Or are we boring you?"
Owen is just off his game enough that he recites the facts without any prefacing sarcasm.
Since he was a child, Owen has had a knack for puzzles, or possibly it's more a blinding obsession. How does it fit together? He was born asking that question. On the mediastinal surface of the lung, you find the descending aorta, arch of the aorta over the root of the lung, right common carotid artery, right subclavian artery, phrenic nerve anterior to the root of the lung, vagus nerve posterior to the root of the lung… Medicine satisfies him with those simple answers. Jack and Ianto madden him with the constant need for guesswork.
No one on the team sleeps much while they're tracking the Quintar, but eventually they get the better of it. The thing may be bulletproof, but a liter of vinegar fells it in its tracks, acetic acid and the Quintar's biochemistry two things that don't mix.
Owen takes himself out to The Admiral afterwards, for a celebratory drink and whatever else might come his way. In the absence of alien aphrodisiacs, it's the best bet for an effortless fuck. The place is small and packed tight with men. Owen has to muscle his way over to the bar, the warmish air thick with sweat and sex. He's two sips into his beer when he catches the eye of the bloke standing next to him, blond and pierced, a bit of a twink. He doesn't remind Owen of anyone, and that's just the way Owen wants it tonight.
The blond dips his head, and his hair falls messily into his face. Owen buys him a drink and puts a hand down his pants, and twenty minutes later, the blond is in Owen's bed, moaning into his pillow, legs flung open wide as Owen fucks away his frustration.
It doesn't take long for Ianto and Jack to take over, more starkly vivid than the body beneath him. Ianto is impeccably crisp in his suit, Jack naked and down on his knees. Jack's mouth turns up at the corner, more than a little smug. Ianto strokes his fingers through Jack's hair, gently enough, but there's that bottomless, smoldering something in his eyes that has long convinced Owen that Ianto is secretly the most dangerous one among them. He fucks Jack's face like it's his property and calls him "sir." So subversively dirty that Owen makes a lost sound and bucks his hips hard, like he's not just shoving into a nameless body, but shoving himself in between the two of them.
Afterwards, the blond is all smiles, unduly pleased with himself. Behind Owen's eyes, Jack and Ianto are still tangled together, still fucking and grabbing and owning each other. And doing it all without him.
Maybe if he could see them, Owen thinks, hear them even, just once, however briefly, he could put it together, problem solved, and stop bloody obsessing about it. He starts staying late--well, later than usual--looking for an opportunity. The Hub is the only logical place for their assignations. Owen can't imagine Jack going back to Ianto's flat--or Ianto inviting him, for that matter. Jack is no paragon of restraint, and Owen can't imagine he'll let an after-hours straggler keep him from satisfaction for long. All Owen has to do is wait.
But night after night, there's only the whisper-thin rasp of pages turning in Jack's office as he reviews reports, the stealthy bustle of Ianto doing the clearing up. Owen lingers until the hour hand on his watch dips well into the next day, and then finally unfolds himself from his chair, stiff-kneed and bleary-eyed. He trudges home feeling ill used, with no one to blame for it but himself, perhaps his least favorite feeling of all.
Puzzles take a back seat to an all-out mystery when alien artifacts resembling ordinary items start flooding online auction sites. They've had one death already, when what looked to be a fancy lighter actually turned out to be a miniature flamethrower from some distant world. The team works round the clock to track the source, and it leads to the most unlikely of places, a dusty cobbler's shop on a quiet, leafy street. They check the owner's bank records and find a sudden, mysterious increase in income.
There's no one inside when they storm the place, a mess of papers littering the floor, the cash register hanging open, nothing left in it.
"Done a runner," Gwen says.
Jack nods. "Tosh, tap into the police mainframe, put out an arrest warrant, make up something colorful. We can use some help catching this guy."
Tosh pulls out her computer and goes to work.
In the back of the shop is a long workbench, a few pairs of shoes neatly lined up on it. Along the wall stand several tall cabinets. Jack breaks the lock on one, and inside there are dozens of cubbyholes, each with a piece of alien technology housed in it.
"Fan out," Jack tells them. "Search everywhere. We need to get everything packed up and back to Torchwood."
Gwen starts on the cabinets, and Tosh comes to help her. Owen drifts across the room to a set of shelves. He sorts through the contents, most of which seems to be proper cobbler's tools. There's a basket of odds and ends, shunted onto a bottom shelf, seemingly junk. Owen is already looking past it when a flash of reflected light draws his attention back. He pulls out what looks like a monocle, and instinct being what it is, pops it onto his eye.
Tosh gasps loudly. "Owen! We don't know what--"
Her voice fades out, all sound recedes, as Owen's vision becomes so super-humanly sharp his head spins. He looks around, and the walls just seem to dissolve. Two buildings over, there's a woman pulling her T-shirt over her head, flicking off her bra, reaching past the shower curtain to turn on the water.
"--could be dangerous." Tosh puts her hands on her hips. "Are you listening?"
Gwen watches curiously. "What does it do?"
Owen doesn't answer, in part from dizziness, in part because he'd like to keep this his secret. Gwen plucks the monocle from him and tries it for herself.
"Gwen!" Tosh's voice rises in exasperation, but then she can't help asking, "What do you see?"
Gwen shrugs. "Nothing."
Tosh takes it from her and hesitates just long enough to remind them, "Alien technology isn't a toy." Then she puts it on. "Of course, this may just be a piece of glass." She drops it back into the basket.
Jack pushes off from the workbench where he's been leaning, watching, silent until now. "Is that what you think, Owen? That it's just glass?"
The intensity of Jack's gaze makes Owen hesitate, but just for a moment. "Worthless waste of time."
Back at the office, they start classifying the seized technology based on its potential to destroy the world, from "Lock It Away, Lock It Away Now!" on down the line. The monocle is tossed into a box of broken and otherwise useless things. Owen's fingers twitch, and he has to fight himself to keep from staring at it. He waits three long days before he lifts it, sleight of hand, tool of the trade. The rest of the day he feels it in his pocket, the weight against his leg, an uneasy sensation of energy, as if it might suddenly burn through fabric and skin at any moment.
A different person, Owen realizes, might have some compunction about using technology stolen from the office to spy on his co-workers' sexual adventuring. Owen has never been happier to be himself. He takes to loitering in the streets after he leaves for the day. The weather has turned suddenly raw this week, and he pulls the collar of his jacket up around his neck. He buys tea at a shop to keep warm and waits and watches.
And still, every night, it's the same thing. Will there be anything else, sir? A shake of Jack's head. Have a good evening, Ianto.
A solid week of lurking about without anything to show for it, and Owen is starting to get suspicious looks from the local shopkeepers. He can just imagine one of them phoning the police to report a vagrant. The next day at work, he waits until no one is looking and drops the monocle back into the box of jetsam. Maybe there are just some things he's not meant to know.
Torchwood's annual reauthorization takes place at the end of the month, and that means loads of paperwork in the intervening weeks. Owen is practically drowning in research reports and budget projections. He puts his head down and gets to it, and when he looks up again, it's three days later than he thought, the middle of the night, and the place is utterly empty. "Am I the only one who works around here?" he grumbles, uselessly, since there's no one to hear him.
Owen rubs his eyes and reaches for his mug, grimaces at the cold, day-old tea, but doesn't stop until he's drunk it down. There's just one section to go in his draft budget for the global shield project, and he's going to feel like shit tomorrow anyway. He may as well finish it up. He pulls the keyboard closer, types in a search, and gets a rude noise from the computer for his trouble, along with a message that access to the data he needs requires authorization from his supervisor.
"Fucking unbelievable." He pushes up from his desk, angrily enough that the chair goes rolling across the floor. "If you'd unlock the bloody shield data, I could do my damned job."
But Jack isn't in his office.
Owen hesitates. He's never been to Jack's room, one line he doesn't cross, and he really should just call it a night. Probably would if waking Jack didn't seem like proper payback for being such a tight-fisted bastard with information. He thuds down the stairs to the lower level, and he hears it before he's even halfway down the corridor, sounds spilling out of Jack's room. If Owen were someone else, no doubt he'd turn back, but he is thoroughly himself.
Ianto is bent across the bed, just as Owen imagined, only not, because Jack isn't pounding into him. Every thrust is a slow, gliding tease, and when Jack touches his lips to Ianto's throat, it's barely a whisper. Owen should have realized that this is how it would be. Jack's power is all in the seduction.
"I was wondering when you were going to show up." Jack smiles over Ianto's shoulder. "There are some things you really should see for yourself, not through a Thracian personal vurometer."
Owen hates it when anyone, Jack in particular, gets the better of him, but that doesn't stop him from staring in embarrassingly slack-jawed fashion.
Jack's grin broadens. "Yes, I know all about your toy."
"But why didn't--"
"The 'personal' part means it calibrates to the brain functions of the first person to wear it. That's why it didn't work for Gwen or Tosh."
In Jack's eyes, there's that maddening, knowing look, and Owen has the urge, not for the first time, to punch him in the face.
Ianto derails that train of thought with a terse, "Get your clothes off." His voice is strained, mouth pressed into a thin line, and there's that uncivilized spark in his eyes that Owen hasn't just imagined. "It's what you wanted, isn't it?"
There's no arguing with that. Owen undresses, shivering, although it isn't cold.
Jack eases Ianto up to give Owen access, still fucking him, no less leisurely than before. Ianto's cock is dark with blood, jutting out from his body, and it's no puzzle what he wants Owen to do. Owen obligingly gets to his knees, runs a hand up Ianto's bare thigh. There's still a part of him, how do we fit, that can't help thinking ahead, imagining how this will go.
Later, they'll fall into bed, and Owen will get caught up between them. Jack will keep one hand spread across Owen's shoulder, holding him steady, while lazy fingers stroke inside his body, opening him up. Ianto will lay careful kisses across his chest, inching lower one little patch of skin at a time, as methodical as ever, refusing to be hurried no matter how many insults Owen hurls at him.
Owen smiles and kisses the hollow of Ianto's hipbone.
And then, even later, he'll have Jack sprawled beneath him, smiling his superior smile, is that all you've got, as Owen pushes into him. Ianto will press against Owen's back, just like a second skin, drag a finger along the crease of his ass, rub at his hole, still wet and sore from Jack. He'll lean close and say things into Owen's ear, filthy things, what he's going to do to Owen and how much Owen is going to like it, and he'll be right, so right, about all of it.
Ianto yanks Owen hard by the hair, directs a glare, hard and impatient, down at him.
"Bossy git." Owen grins.
Jack kisses Ianto's shoulder, and slides a hand around into Owen's hair, stroking, urging. Owen opens his mouth around Ianto's cock, and curls a hand against Jack's hip, and the pieces just fall into place. It's the best feeling of all.