Pairings: Jack/Ianto, Ianto/Lisa
Disclaimer: Torchwood is not mine. No matter how much I sometimes wish it was.
Spoilers: Better say everything through s2, just to be sure, although it takes place pre-S1.
Summary: Why didn't you tell us? We could have helped you. - Well, what if he did?
This chapter: What has Jack been up to?
Thanks to: My beta cazmalfoy for all her wonderful work, and my cheerleaders angelzbabe1989 and piper08 for putting up with me when I whine about being stuck.
Author's Note: Voting is open at Children of Time. This fic is nominated in the Jack&Ianto WIP category - it's up against some very tough competition but every vote counts! (hint hint)
Fic starts here
Previous chapters at my master list
Jack looked up, dropping the piece of paper he had been moving from one pile to another onto what was probably his desk. “Yeah?”
Ianto frowned slightly and Jack looked around. “Oh… yeah.” There was paperwork stacked several inches high covering most of his desk, and several more piles on the floor. “I’m a little behind.” He looked almost bewildered as to how it had quite reached its current level.
Ianto pointedly looked around and raised an eyebrow. “A little behind is when you have a bit of a pile of paper on your desk, not when your entire office is buried under a mountain of the stuff.”
“Well, I’ve had other things on my mind the last few weeks,” Jack said defensively. “Satisfying mindless bureaucracy wasn’t exactly high on my list of priorities.”
“I know,” Ianto replied, holding his hands up in a gesture of contrition. “I was actually coming to thank you for that.”
He shook his head slightly as he dropped his arms back to his sides. “Although, I don’t know if I have the words to express it. What you’ve done for Lisa this past month, I just… I really can’t tell you how much it means to me that she hasn’t been alone.”
“You don’t need to thank me. Do you really think we would have left her to suffer alone, just because you weren’t here?”
“No, of course not,” Ianto dismissed. “You all told me she was being looked after, and I believed you, but… I really didn’t expect so much. You didn’t have to.”
Jack sighed gently. “Maybe I didn’t; but I wanted to. She matters a lot to you, and you matter a lot to me. To us,” he quickly corrected himself. “I just wanted to do what I could to help, especially since it was, in a way, my fau…”
“Stop,” Ianto interrupted. “Don’t even try to claim that any of this was your fault. I’ve already had Tosh trying to apologise; I don’t need you too.”
“No. You didn’t know it could happen, it won’t happen again, and it’s not like there was a whole lot you could have done. I knew what I was signing up for when I asked for a job here, Jack; I knew the dangers. Please stop coming up with excuses to minimise everything you’ve done for me and just let me thank you for it!”
Ianto’s voice had risen as he spoke, and Jack sat back a little in his chair, nodding his acquiescence. “You have to admit, it gave me a good excuse to avoid doing things I hate.”
Ianto shrugged. “Like absolutely all of your paperwork, it would appear.”
Jack grinned. “Exactly.” The grin slipped a little as he surveyed his office. “Unfortunately, now that excuse has run out, I should probably start doing it again. I don’t know why I bother, though. I’m pretty sure most of it is of no use whatsoever to anyone.”
“Some of it, perhaps,” Ianto responded. “But incident reports could be useful to future teams; the same goes for information and scans on tech. And if you don’t do the budgets and accounts, our funding will disappear and none of us will get paid. And that’s not even counting the supplies this place goes through.”
Jack just stared at him for a minute.
A crestfallen expression took over his face. “Damn. You mean I might actually have to do some of this?” He waved at the scattered piles.
Ianto nodded soberly. “Yes.”
Jack picked up the top sheet from a random pile and looked at it for a second before putting it back down. “But where do I even start?”
“I’d suggest with the most important and urgent, sir,” Ianto said mildly. “Last month’s budgets and expenses, for example.”
Jack spun around in his chair and looked between a few of the piles on the floor. “Now, I’m sure I remember seeing that somewhere not that long ago.” He looked back at the desk. “Or was it…?”
“If you like, I could organise all of this into decreasing order of importance and urgency for you,” Ianto offered, sensing that if left to his own devices Jack might just flounder about all day and get none of it done.
“Really?” Jack’s eyes brightened as they turned to him.
“Yes, really. Even Owen surely can’t have a problem with me sitting and moving pieces of paper about all morning. Unless he thinks I’m in danger of bleeding out from a paper cut.”
Jack smiled and stood. “Right, okay then.” He rounded the desk. “I’m just going to pop out to Coffee Mania. I’ll bring you back a cup.”
Ianto took a tiny step to the side, preventing Jack from leaving the office without squeezing through a small gap between him and the door. “Don’t be ridiculous.”
Jack looked at him quizzically.
“There’s no need to go out. I can still make perfectly good coffee here.”
A smile spread across Jack’s face as it finally hit him that their resident coffee master was actually back in residence. “Ianto Jones, you are a lifesaver.”
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