Summary: "I want something precious tonight."
Author's Notes: Set somewhere between 'Greeks Bearing Gifts' and CJH. Many, many thanks to my betas karaokegal and diachrony. All props to you both!
Disclaimer: Torchwood and the characters appearing in this fic are property of the BBC. No copyright infringement is intended.
Previous fics in the same 'verse:
Urban Retreat #1
Brownian Motion #2
"The technology geeks are the worst."
Tosh kept her eyes on the monitor. Owen had been trying to ruffle her feathers all day long; Jack had said something flippant this morning about Amelia Earhart and the Bermuda Triangle and she'd made the mistake of trying to mediate. She'd even been trying to get Jack to back off, but Owen had bristled at the implication that he couldn't defend himself.
At the moment, he was pontificating rather like an Oxford don, pacing, making grand gestures to Gwen, who kept flicking her eyes back to Tosh with a worried look on her face.
"You just can't trust them further than the next shiny bit of equipment that they don't understand - they'll do anything, fuck anyone, just to get their grubby little hands on it." Owen's face was feral, almost gleeful.
Abruptly, Gwen threw on her shoulder bag, pushing past Owen as though he were a stranger. Tosh felt her mouth twist in response.
We are such a happy little family here, she thought angrily. It's like we're falling apart -
Cutting herself off, Tosh locked her terminal with a few stabbing keystrokes and grabbed her latest report from the printer for Jack's signature. Gwen was leaving, alarm lights whirling as she marched out. She held herself stiffly, pace stilted and quick. Tosh glanced back to Owen, who grimaced and turned away to pick up his coat.
Roughly pushing down a twinge of spite at the display, Tosh turned her back on both of them and hurried up the stairs to Jack's office. Even though it had been months since that ridiculous Christmas kiss and so much had happened since, she still cringed when Gwen and Owen struck sparks from each other. They managed to make her feel like an outsider even when they were barely speaking.
The main door to the Hub rolled shut behind her, silencing the alarms. A quick glance back assured her that both Gwen and Owen were gone. Looking up to Jack's office door, Tosh wondered if Ianto were there, too.
It was a good month and a half since the night and morning she'd spent in that office with Ianto and Jack, weeks that had seen her finding her first girlfriend in a whirlwind and losing her almost as quickly. What she'd learned during that time had put a lot of distance between all of them.
Especially Ianto - the black despair that she'd felt pouring off of him when she'd gotten close while wearing the pendant was like touching fire; all she could do was jump away from the pain. It was easier to understand and deal with the confirmation of Owen's memories of shagging Gwen - even though it had hurt like hell. Ianto's blank, tightly controlled face hid a broken man, one she hadn't seen since Lisa - and she'd never been any good at fixing people.
Abruptly, Tosh shook her head and sighed. Thinking about the tragic, terrifying Cyberwoman that was all Ianto could save of his girlfriend - none of that was her business, nothing she'd learned while wearing that bloody necklace was any of her business. 'Scrabbling around' in other people's minds was hardly honest.
Taking a deep, cleansing breath, she reined in her thoughts. Just get the report up to Jack and go home.
At the top of the stairs, the door was shut, the shades drawn. Tosh rapped perfunctorily and pushed her way in.
"Jack, I - " Tosh felt the rest of the sentence die in her mouth.
Jack was seated behind his chaotic desk, turning from Ianto to look towards the door. Behind him, Ianto jerked back from the kiss, hands beneath Jack's open collar. His surprised expression fading to guilt, he stepped away and tugged on his waistcoat.
Her chest suddenly tight, Tosh ripped her eyes from the scene in front of her and threw the report on Jack's desk. Ignoring the flurry of papers displaced by her abrupt action, she turned her back and left without a word.
Trembling uncontrollably, she had to grip the bannister with both hands to keep moving. All she had to do was get to her desk - then get out of this place.
As if on cue, Jack's office door opened behind her. It banged hard against the railing.
Of course it was Jack calling after her. Ianto was probably grating his teeth, waiting for her to leave. The thought set an oddly validated ache pounding in her chest. She'd known this would happen, it had been so obvious - She made it to her desk, threw her coat over her arm, grabbed her clutch.
Keeping her gaze downward, Tosh pretended to search her desk. "Sorry to interrupt, Jack." At least she could sound indifferent if she tried hard enough. "Everyone else has gone home, and I'll be out of your hair in a moment." Her eyes flicked up involuntarily to see him hurrying down the stairs (shit) and Ianto in the office doorway. She spun and headed for the exit, determined to get out as quickly as possible.
Too late, as it turned out; Jack's fingers tightened around her upper arm an instant later. She was caught, but she was damned if she was going to look at him.
"Hey," he said gently, and when she didn't turn he swung her around to face him. "Look at me." The low murmur was intense, his compelling tone prying at her mental shields.
At least I can make some sort of impression ...
Resolve breaking under the pressure he was applying, Tosh glanced up, away, back again, knowing she looked like an animal in a trap but unable to do anything about it. Jack's face was coloured in confusion, concern, anger.
... even if it's not what I hoped for ... She felt a flare of her own anger surface and grabbed onto it, encouraged it to grow.
Wrenching herself free of his frighteningly powerful hands, she stepped back to what she felt was a safe distance. Jack looked even more bewildered as Tosh adjusted her posture into an unbending line.
"Don't you ever touch me like that again." Breath coming fast, she hugged her coat to her like a shield.
Jack put his hands up as though to fend her off, his face twitching into an impatient glare. "What is your problem? It's not like you've never seen me kiss Ianto before."
Fine. Just ... fine. Tosh threw her coat and purse back onto her desk.
"I told you," she began, rage buoying her up, "I told both of you that I wouldn't be your third wheel." At her underscored accusation, Ianto flinched and slowly started down to ground level. "I gave both of you an easy out from the beginning, and rather than telling me I'm no longer needed, you sneak around so that I find you snogging in the office. And don't you start, Jack Harkness," she shot, pinning him with a glare, "on the 'relationship talks'. As long as you're upfront, this'll be short and sweet."
There was a charged silence. Ianto reached the floor and stood at Jack's shoulder. Tosh leveled her chin at him, challenging. He ducked his head, unable to meet her eyes.
She grimaced. "Go ahead Ianto, just say it. I was convenient social lubricant, you never really wanted me, thanks for the help getting you laid -"
Jack broke in. "Tosh, that's not -"
"Just bloody say it!" Her voice was getting shrill, but it didn't really matter anymore.
"That's not how it was!" Ianto rasped, hands curled into fists, cheeks flushed.
"Stop it, both of you!" Jack stepped between them, arms out like a traffic cop. "Can we try to discuss this like adults?"
Jack's condescending, parental tone made her want to scream. She grabbed his outstretched hand and pushed it down. "You may be older than I am, Jack, but that doesn't make you more mature."
They both stared back at her, jaws dropped a fraction.
"Don't look at me like that, like I've gone mad. You treat us all like we're children, like we're completely incapable of having your depth of emotion," she spat, the words dripping with sarcasm, "and you have no idea what we're really like. Ianto here is so full of pain and guilt and betrayal that I'm amazed he hasn't smashed that coffee pot for a straight edge to slit his wrists with, and I'd bet you haven't even noticed."
The echo of her voice rang around the Hub. Ianto looked suddenly fragile as glass, and Jack clenched his jaw tightly.
Putting himself more firmly between them, Jack gave her a dangerous, sharp smile. "You don't know what you're talking about. Besides," and here the smile took on a sadistic edge, "I'd think Mary was a good enough reason to assume you were done with us."
As though he'd struck her physically, Tosh struggled to pull in a breath. "At least I knew she wanted me."
Jack barked out a dry laugh. "You sabotage yourself and you know it."
Tosh closed her eyes, feeling her shoulders hunch, the anger snuffed out to leave a quiet, empty landscape in her mind. She bit her lip and walked stiffly to her desk, dug her fingers into the soft wool of her coat.
Shoe leather creaked behind her, and she looked down to see Ianto's crisply pressed trousers.
He took a breath, paused, let it out and started again. "I didn't think it mattered to you."
Then why did you look so guilty up there? she wondered darkly, but didn't turn away.
"I needed someone I could lose myself in," he said quietly, "And I can't lose myself in you. I -" He stopped himself, shoved his hands in his pockets. "I like you, but -"
But that's it. There was the unvarnished honesty she'd asked for, and it hurt like blazes.
Behind them both, Jack cleared his throat, stepping closer. "You're both making this so much more complicated than it needs to be. You're right, Tosh, in saying that I don't know what you're really like, under all the masks you both wear. But that doesn't mean we can't enjoy each other, and just let it be what it is." He sounded vaguely frustrated, like he couldn't see why they were arguing.
Ianto laughed weakly. "Jack, you really are terrible at these sorts of talks."
His tone lighter, Jack replied, "And that's why I try to avoid them."
In slow motion, Tosh gathered her coat and pocketbook. She felt battered and empty. Without turning to face them, she started walking to the door again. "Well, I've had about as much as I can take today. I'll see you both in the morning." Maybe this time they'd let her escape.
Someone caught her from behind, hands curling around her waist. "I won't let you leave like this."
She froze in surprise. Ianto was snugged against her back, fingers tracing little patterns on her stomach. He turned her around so Tosh could see Jack standing a few feet away, watching with a tense, lopsided smile on his face.
"We never did make good on that promise I made you that morning." Jack's matter of fact tone was at complete odds with his expression. Tosh felt her pulse speed up.
Ianto's whisper in her ear made her shiver. "Let's face the fact that we're all broken, and we all prop each other up. I was wrong to try to shut you out." One hand slid down her hip. "I need to lose myself, and I want you to help me."
That was a line if she'd ever heard one. Despite herself, Tosh leaned back into him and closed her eyes.
When another set of hands joined Ianto's, her resistance evaporated. One more time, just one more -
She turned in Ianto's arms as he pulled her tight to his body, leaning down to take a long, greedy kiss. When she broke it, gasping, Jack pulled her away from Ianto and tossed her effortlessly over his shoulder in a fireman's carry, laughing. She yelped in surprise, and Jack walked lightly back to the stairs, taking two steps at a time. Ianto followed, his pace more sedate.
Tosh looked up from her view of Jack's back to watch Ianto shut the door behind him. He loosened his tie, stripped off his waistcoat. His movements were precise and economical. She remembered how velvety smooth his skin was, and her fingertips prickled with the need to touch it again.
Hands shifted to her waist; Tosh felt Jack swing her around, placing her lightly on her feet. She found her breath turning shallow and quick, her fingers sliding down his chest. He leaned down, gazing directly into her eyes.
"What do you want?" he breathed. The dim office narrowed down to Jack's sensual, handsome face.
Ianto moved to press against her back, a mirror image of the first time they'd done this. She felt the zipper of her dress purr down her back, his fingers moving in to touch her tingling skin.
Gasping, the words broke out of her. "Make love to me."
The moment froze. Jack's smile dimmed a fraction, and Ianto's hands stilled on her back.
Treading carefully, Tosh kept her voice to a whisper. "Just once. Just tonight, and I'll never ask again. It can be just sex after that, or even nothing - but I want something precious tonight."
The moment held, stretched tight.
Jack looked away from her eyes. "So what about my promise?" He encircled her wrists with his hands.
Her hands curled into fists against his chest. To be able to let go completely ... She found herself asking, "Why can't I have both?"
Behind her, Ianto drew in a breath. "We're gentlemen, Jack. Oblige the lady." His tone was deadpan as always, but when his hands began to move again, they felt softer, less grasping.
Jack hesitated a moment longer, then closed his eyes. He whispered, "On your head be it." His hands moved up to cup her face; he planted gentle kisses all over her cheeks, eyelids, the tip of her nose - then settled firmly on her lips. Tosh shivered.
Ianto watched as Jack undressed her, laying her garments carefully across a chair. He handed Jack his tie without a word; Jack laced it around her wrists, almost too tight, then stripped his own clothes off quickly, keeping his eyes locked on hers.
He recaptured her bound wrists and smiled. It was a relaxed, supremely confident expression. A surge of animal panic grabbed onto her, and she shuddered. She wasn't sure if her knees were buckling in terror or submission - but she was certain she didn't want it to stop.
Ianto moved away, a wash of cool air at her back proclaiming his absence. With near physical effort, she turned to see him looking consideringly at Jack's coat hanging against the wall.
"Jack?" he asked diffidently, gesturing at the floor, head cocked toward the coat.
Jack paused, his teeth against her neck, and she could feel his grin. "Yes, perfect."
Ianto spread the long grey coat on the floor, and Jack guided her down onto it, her pounding heart shaking her hands. He beckoned Ianto to her other side and kissed her fingertips before stretching her arms above her head.
"Ianto, hold her down for me."
He began to move across her body, her taut skin buzzing with the feel of his lips. Ianto arranged himself beside her and pulled her face to his for a long kiss, tongues touching, lips soft and eager.
Jack nestled himself between her legs, his hot breath against the skin of her thighs moving torturously close to her center. If her hands had been free, she would have wrapped them around his head to force his lips and tongue where she wanted them. She realised she was straining against Ianto's grip when he chuckled into her ear, the pressure against her wrists increasing.
"Don't worry," he whispered, "I won't let you get away."
She cried out at that, longing and excitement arching her back. Jack laughed and pushed her down again, and said clearly, "We're doing this at my pace, Tosh." His voice slipped into a throaty growl. "So lay back, and let me work."
Ianto's breath stuttered in time with her own, and he suddenly leaned over to kiss her roughly, his erection hard against her thigh.
With another laugh, Jack settled back down between her legs and started over, wet kisses this time against her hip. Shivering, she lay as still as she could, breathing hard against Ianto's mouth. When Jack paused, hovering over her and then settling warm and sure exactly where she wanted him, she couldn't choke back a moan. He redoubled his grip on her, fingers tight against her skin.
She bucked against his mouth and he laughed again, approval in the sound. Dragging in another breath, her mounting excitement crested like a wave; somehow she pulled free of Ianto's hands and rolled him back, clumsily pulling him in to muffle her cries with his mouth. When one hand slipped away to curl around his cock against her thigh, his breath quickened and he jerked against her. Against her neck, he sobbed out Lisa's name. Tosh pulled him close and let him pillow his head on her shoulder as his heartbeat slowed.
Jack rose up onto all fours, his face gleaming in the filtered light of the Hub. "Can you take a little more?"
Wordlessly, she slipped the knot on her wrists and reached up to bring him down. He pushed himself into her and she arched into it, every nerve still twanging. She could feel that he'd somehow had the time and presence of mind to put on a condom.
Jack let out a slow, hissing breath. "Shit, you're so wet," he whispered, "And tight - this isn't going to take long." He was twitching, mouth open against hers. He thrust into her, muttering between panting breaths, telling her what he would do to her, what he'd make Ianto do to her. Tosh could barely believe the fire building again in her body; she convulsed beneath Jack, putting him over his own edge. He was silent when he came.
They lay there in a tangle on Jack's coat (which now definitely needed a trip to the cleaners) for a while, until the men's breathing deepened and Tosh slipped carefully out of Ianto's arms. She watched him reach blindly for her warm body, calming with a sigh when he found Jack instead. The ache was unexpectedly easy to handle.
She went to the chair and pulled on her clothes, leaving zipper and shoes to be dealt with outside the office, where noise wouldn't wake them. Stepping over the makeshift bed on her way to the door, she noticed that Jack was awake and watching her.
He smiled lazily, but didn't motion her back to them. Silently, he mouthed a few words, then closed his eyes.
Tosh closed the door behind her, wondering what to think of that.
"We're not done with you yet."