Challenge/Prompt: fanfic100, 061. Winter
Rating: NC-17 (to be on the safe side)
Genre: Slash (also: crack)
Summary: The team are forced on another countryside camping trip.
Author’s Notes: Unadulterated crack!fic. I thought: Owen/Ianto tent!sex, and then it got a bit out of hand. But I had fun writing it, and fingers crossed it’ll be slightly fun to read. And if it does seem highly unlikely, just remember that in episode two of Torchwood, there was an alien that fed off people’s sexual energy possessing a girl and fucking people to death. That puts everything in perspective, and my alien that feeds off UST seems almost normal.
Because their first camping trip went oh so well, they’re all on another one.
Only not. There have been definite sightings of a turquoise-coloured thing crawling around the hills and Jack decided, hey, it would be a really good idea to go investigate. Owen is not so sure, but he’s dragged along anyway. They all are.
“If I get captured by cannibals again-” Tosh begins from the backseat.
“I fully give you permission to retcon yourself and enough funds to run away to a sunkissed beach of your choice,” Jack says. He’s driving, and Owen is sitting beside him and making sure that everyone knows exactly how much he still hates the countryside. Ianto, Gwen and Tosh are all crammed in the back, and look less than happy to be there.
“If I get shot again-” Gwen starts, five minutes later. Jack rolls his eyes at her in the rear-view mirror.
“Then you’ll get medical attention and some form of monetary compensation,” he tells her, “With the retcon and sunkissed beach option also on offer.”
They’re silent for another five minutes.
“If I get tenderised-” Ianto attempts to say, but Jack cuts him off.
“You can have whatever you want,” he snaps. “And all three of you be quiet. No one is being shot, captured by cannibals, or otherwise mistreated during this trip, understand?”
No one says anything in reply, but the car is full of silent hostility. Jack sighs.
“It’s fresh air! It’s healthy!” he tries.
“It’s December, it’s tents,” Ianto points out softly.
“With the possibility of being eaten by a giant blue alien,” Owen adds cheerfully.
“If anyone says anything else during the rest of this car journey,” Jack announces, “I will leave them by the roadside to be devoured by any amount of aliens or crazy humans or mutated sheep. Understand?”
A pause of about a minute.
“There are mutated sheep?!”
The camp is smaller this time, with a tent for Owen and Ianto, a tent for Gwen and Tosh, and a little tent for Jack (because he is their leader, and apparently needs his own space). Owen decides to let Ianto pitch their tent, because he knows that he will only be crap at it, and amuses himself by sitting on a collapsible chair, shivering and being generally unhelpful.
“Tomorrow,” Jack tells them, as they sit around a campfire an hour or so later, wrapped up in warm coats and not saying very much, “We’ll go investigate the last place that the alien was sighted, all right?”
“Can’t we just go home?” Gwen asks, pulling her jacket tighter around her.
“No,” Jack says, in the tone he reserves for talking to morons, “We need to find and capture this alien.”
They’re silent, but the lack of enthusiasm is palpable. Jack sighs.
“Go to bed, all of you,” he snaps.
They do, for lack of anything else to do, while their boss pretends that he can’t hear Tosh and Gwen whispering about whether they could grab the SUV and drive for their lives in the middle of the night.
“Only if I don’t get there first,” Owen tells Tosh, before ducking into his tent.
Owen gets no answer but he knows the other man is still awake.
“What? I’m trying to get some sleep.”
“Oh,” Ianto says. “Well, we’re in a tent, it’s December, it’s to be expected.”
Owen burrows further under his blankets on his foldout camp bed. He can’t stop shivering. It’s bloody freezing out here, and he can barely move.
“I’m still cold,” he announces five minutes later.
“And I still don’t care,” Ianto tells him. “You should have brought thermal clothes.”
“Please,” Owen says, then reflects that it would perhaps have been a better idea to get something warm to wear, not that he’ll ever admit it. Another couple of frozen minutes pass. “Ianto…”
“Fucking shut up!” Ianto snarls. “I don’t want to listen to you whining! I want to sleep!”
Owen spends a little while longer trying not to freeze to death, then sighs, and gets out of his camp bed. He moves across the tent to where Ianto is, and climbs into his bed beside him.
“What are you doing?” Ianto asks tightly, as Owen shoves him sideways. There really isn’t room for two in here, but at least it’s warm.
“Body heat,” Owen informs him.
“No,” Owen hisses back. “And keep your voice down, or you’ll wake everyone up.”
Ianto makes a soft, angry little sound as the two of them shift so the camp bed will accommodate them both.
“You are unbelievably selfish,” he tells Owen. “And you’re cold.”
“You’re not,” Owen replies, deciding to get rid of all dignity and focus on leeching all the warmth he possibly can out of Ianto, pressing himself against Ianto’s back. Ianto flinches away but nearly falls out of the bed and sighs, realising he’s trapped in here.
“You are a dick,” he informs Owen quietly.
“Probably,” Owen agrees against his neck, pressing his cold nose against Ianto’s skin just to make him flinch. They lie quietly for a while, and Owen begins to think Ianto’s fallen asleep.
“You’re warm now,” Ianto tells him. “Get out and let me get some rest.”
“No.” Owen is cosy and sleepy, and doesn’t want to move. He wraps an arm around Ianto’s waist to pull him close to him so the other man can’t push him out. In doing so, his forearm brushes against- oh. He laughs softly. “Is that a sidearm in there, or are you just pleased to see me?”
Owen can barely see anything, but imagines Ianto flushing hotly. He runs his hand over Ianto’s hard on, hearing Ianto’s breathing hitch.
“Hmmm. What was that about wanting me to get the hell away from you?”
“Owen-” It’s supposed to sound angry, but it comes out a little more needy. Owen rubs his hand slowly over Ianto’s cock, pressing through his underwear, and likes the little strangled noise that he makes. “For God’s sake-”
“What?” Owen enquires innocently. He wonders exactly how long Ianto’s been lusting after him with something approaching amusement, and then wonders if he can abuse this yet. He doesn’t think he’s ever had sex in a tent before, but he’s willing to give it a try. Particularly if Ianto is going to keep squirming like that, arse crushed against Owen’s groin.
“This is altogether too Brokeback Mountain for words,” Ianto mumbles, attempting to jerk away from Owen’s hand and just resulting in nearly tipping them both onto the frozen ground.
“What, does the cowboy thing get you off?” Owen asks.
“They weren’t cowboys,” Ianto tells him, “They were sheep boys. Which doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.”
“Mutated sheep boys?” Owen asks after a moment of thought. The two of them burst out laughing.
“I’m not going to fuck you, Owen,” Ianto says quietly but firmly, pulling Owen’s hand away from his groin and pushing it away.
“You want to, though, don’t you?” Owen whispers into his ear.
“I want to sleep,” Ianto replies, completely avoiding the question, and Owen lies there wide-eyed in the dark as Ianto’s breathing slows and evens out. Eventually, he gives a half-smile, hooks his arm around Ianto’s waist again, and closes his eyes to get some sleep.
Owen wakes up, warm and alone, at an unreasonably early hour the next morning. He can hear Ianto and Jack talking outside, although he can’t quite make out the words. Instead, he burrows deeper under the blanket and concentrates on staying warm and comfortable for as long as possible.
A while later, Ianto pokes his head through the tent flaps. His face is pink from the cold.
“If you don’t get up,” he announces, “I won’t save you any breakfast.”
Owen makes a small noise of complaint, but Ianto ducks backwards and so Owen reluctantly gets himself up and tries to get dressed as fast as he can. It is unbelievably cold, and once again he silently curses Jack Harkness and his ridiculous sojourns to the middle of nowhere for no good reason. Who gives a shit if there’s an alien running about the hills? It’s not like it’s killed anybody.
Tosh and Gwen are huddled over cups of tea, seated beside a huge campfire and yawning. Ianto is sipping tea too, hunched over to try and preserve body heat. Only Jack looks cheerful, wandering about extolling the virtues of fresh air or something. He seems oblivious to the just fucking die the others are shooting him.
“Can we go home?” Gwen whines.
“If there is an alien,” Tosh continues carefully, “It would probably be sensible to go back before we get killed.”
“You weren’t murdered in your beds last night,” Jack points out.
“And, with all due respect, sir, I’d like to keep it that way,” Ianto says. “Odd as it may seem, I actually value my life.”
“Come on,” Jack says, throwing his arms out, “Aren’t any of you excited? We’re on the hunt for an alien and you’re not stuck in Cardiff for once!”
“I want to go home,” Gwen tells him firmly. Tosh is just staring at their boss with a worried look on her face. He does seem unsettlingly cheerful.
“You didn’t steal the SUV and drive for civilisation,” Jack tells her. “That’s got to count for something.”
“I couldn’t find the keys,” Gwen stage whispers to Ianto.
“Ok,” Owen begins slowly, “I don’t think the reports were hoaxes.”
The seven-foot blue thing in front of him certainly verifies a lot of things. He takes a step or two back, raising his hand to his comm.
“Jack, how the fuck do I kill it?”
“I don’t even know what ‘it’ is,” Jack points out. “Where are you?”
“The middle of ‘No’ and ‘Where’,” Owen snaps. “I think there are some trees to my left.”
“I’m coming!” Jack yells, nearly deafening Owen in the process. “Just… hold on.”
“Yeah,” Owen mutters, “I’ll just stand here and get eaten. Bloody brilliant idea.”
“We don’t know that it eats people,” Ianto crackles through in his earpiece. “It might be vegetarian. Just stand still and try not to look like tofu.”
“Oh, that’s sodding fantastic advice,” Owen mumbles. “You’d like it if I died, wouldn’t you?”
“If you got eaten, Owen, I’d have no one to clean up after,” Ianto informs him in a voice dripping with sarcasm. “Which would be a pity.”
“I don’t make that much-” Owen begins loudly, then flinches as the blue thing shifts forwards slightly. “Shit. I’m going to die. Ianto, I don’t want to die.”
“You’re not going to die,” Ianto tells him in a bored tone of voice.
Owen stands very still, hand on his gun, trembling slightly from cold and maybe from fear, not that he’d ever, ever admit it. And then, just as he’s thinking that this could actually be it, the creature starts… slithering away.
“It’s gone,” Owen breathes.
“Told you so,” Ianto says, sounding entirely too smug.
They spend the rest of day wandering about rather uselessly looking for the creature and finding no trace. Jack is still frighteningly cheery, and Tosh and Gwen are looking increasingly pissed-off with the situation. Owen thinks he might actually be going insane.
“You’re enjoying this far too much, sir,” Ianto tells Jack at dinner that evening, as they all sit around shivering and eating instant noodles.
“I don’t understand why you’re not enjoying yourselves,” Jack points out.
“Maybe because it’s cold enough to get frostbite out here,” Gwen suggests brightly, “And I’d actually like to keep all my fingers.”
“I’d kill for a nice hot bath right now,” Tosh murmurs.
“You’re all useless,” Jack says, shaking his head. “I give you an exciting hunt for an unknown creature and what do I get in return?”
Owen gestures around their tiny camp, their bored faces and thick coats.
“There is nothing about this situation that is exciting,” he says.
“He’s got a point,” Ianto adds.
Jack throws up his hands in despair.
“I’m going for a walk,” he announces. The rest of the team exchange glances as he walks away. “By the way,” Jack shouts over his shoulder, “I’ve got the keys to the SUV!”
“Bastard,” Owen mumbles.
“I heard that!”
“So,” Owen begins cheerfully, “Why me? And budge over a bit, would you?”
Ianto makes a small, annoyed noise as Owen shifts, as there really isn’t room on this tiny campbed for the two of them, but on the other hand it’s colder tonight than ever, and he doesn’t try to push Owen out.
“I want to get some sleep,” Ianto mutters, “Shut up.”
“Come on,” Owen whispers, “Just what is it about me that makes you lust after me?”
“Not your sparkling personality,” Ianto grinds out. “And what makes you think I lust after you anyway?”
“You got hard in sub-zero temperatures just because I got in your bed,” Owen points out.
“Firstly,” Ianto hisses, “The temperatures here are not sub-zero, you are just inadequately dressed, and secondly, it’s a physical reaction, it could happen to anybody.”
“Not buying it,” Owen sing-songs. “Come on. How long? And why?”
“It’s not too late for me to push you out into the cold…” Ianto begins irritably.
“Ah, you won’t, it’s nice and cosy in here,” Owen replies, “You won’t jeopardise that.”
There is a long pause.
“It’s those jeans you wear on laundry days,” Ianto explains. “The ones that actually fit you, and cling in all the right places. And whenever you wear them, you always insist on bending over a lot.”
“It’s distracting,” Ianto adds. “Also, when you act like a dick, I just want to bend you over something and punish you.”
Owen considers this.
“So… was I confusing blind hatred and sexual tension?” he asks.
“Yep,” Ianto mumbles. “Can I go to sleep now?”
“No,” Owen tells him. “I’m interested. Do you have dirty fantasies?”
“Fuck off,” Ianto hisses, then, when Owen doesn’t move, sighs. “You’ve seen what I do for a living. If I didn’t have an active imagination I would be clinically insane by now.”
It’s definitely getting too hot under the covers here, and it can’t be to do with the weather, because Owen’s breath mists in front of him whenever he speaks.
“I’m going to sleep now,” Ianto tells him firmly, “Because if I get attacked and/or eaten tomorrow because I am too tired to run for my life, I will hold you personally responsible, and I may have to get the handcuffs out.”
“You have handcuffs?” Owen asks, trying to equate the mental image of Ianto with handcuffs with the straight-laced receptionist he’s used to. It isn’t easy.
“You want to find out? Shut up.”
Ianto is still there, warm and fast asleep, when Owen wakes up in the morning. It’s not exactly comfortable, as Ianto has his elbow in Owen’s stomach and Owen’s arm is going to sleep where it’s draped over Ianto’s waist. On the positive side, Ianto’s t-shirt has ridden up and Owen’s hand is flat on a very smooth, firm stomach. He slides his fingers up experimentally only to have Ianto jab his elbow backwards, hard.
“Ow!” Owen mutters.
“It’s too early in the morning for groping,” Ianto mumbles sleepily.
“Boys, it’s never too early for groping,” Jack says, poking his head through the tent flaps, “But it’s breakfast time, so you can have breakfast or sex, but not both.”
“Let’s have sex,” Owen suggests after Jack has gone to wake up the girls. “I mean, Jack has clearly gone insane, and he actually likes it out here, so we could be here for weeks. We may never go home. The least we can do is improve the situation and shag.”
Ianto shakes his head.
“Shut up, Owen,” he says, and gets up. Owen lies in the warmth for a moment, and rolls his eyes.
Ianto and Tosh are off somewhere, ostensibly because Ianto doesn’t want to be around him, or because Gwen just wants to see if there’s still the chance of getting shagged against a tree or something, but Owen suspects Jack’s just got a sick sense of humour. After all, Ianto and Tosh managed to get themselves kidnapped rather successfully last time, and if anyone’s going to get taken by homicidal aliens, it’s them. Sad but true. Maybe Ianto knows this; he was certainly glaring hard at Jack as he and Tosh went tramping off into the hills.
Gwen has not drawn breath to stop complaining since they left the camp, and Owen is impressed, if rather bored, by this. He’s sure that Torchwood should still be new and shiny for her. Still, it’s somewhat amazing. The woman has let loose with an impressive stream of invectives, expletives, and general whining and doesn’t seem to be breathless in any way in spite of the fact she’s got to have been moaning for at least fifteen minutes.
“I mean, the shit I’ve gone through for this job, getting shot, being attacked by aliens, seeing all those ghosts, but he can’t seriously think that-”
“I mean, who is Jack Bloody Harkness when he’s at home anyway?”
“Giant blue thing to your left.”
Gwen takes the safety off her gun while Owen comms the others to let them know that, once again, the giant blue thing has shown up.
“Sounds like you’ve got yourself a stalker,” Ianto crackles through, sounding impossibly amused.
“Shut up,” Owen mutters, “This isn’t helping.”
“It could be attracted to you, Owen,” Ianto continues mercilessly, “As it only seems to follow you around.”
“I am not dying because a giant blue thing has a crush on Owen!” Gwen shrieks, voice trembling slightly.
Ianto explodes with laughter, and it sounds painful coming through Owen’s earpiece.
“If you’re not going to offer something helpful, you can sod off,” Owen snaps, but it’s false bravado, because the giant blue blob is barely a foot away and any minute-
Gwen starts running but as Owen turns to leave, the blue stretches and for a moment his hand is caught and encased in what feels like warm dough. Then the cold starts slipping in, and Owen pulls his arm back, yelling, and running after Gwen.
“It might not be dangerous,” Jack suggests.
“It tried to eat me,” Owen repeats for about the twentieth time, rationality completely gone, sipping a mug of hot tea that Ianto pushed at him.
“It didn’t,” Jack says, indicating Owen’s left hand. “If it had tried to eat you, there would be some kind of damage done to your skin. Or digestive juices. Something.”
“You’re not helping,” Owen says tightly. “It grabbed me. It was warm, and then it was cold…”
Jack gets a thoughtful expression on his face and he gets up to walk away from the campfire.
“Sir?” Ianto calls after him. Jack doesn’t react.
“If he falls down a hole and is lost forever, he’s got the SUV keys,” Tosh explains, sounding worried. “We’ll never get home.”
They give each other anxious looks and then, as one, get up to run after him.
“I’ll give you ten pounds to sleep in your own bed tonight,” Ianto offers. Owen considers this.
“Look, make up your bloody mind, it’s cold out here,” Owen says. Ianto sighs, and Owen gets into bed beside him.
“For a skinny guy, you take up far, far too much space,” Ianto mumbles, and both of them seem to have too many elbows and it’s really, really uncomfortable.
“You love it,” Owen mutters back, managing to knee Ianto in the back and get himself elbowed in the stomach. They mumble “fuck, ow” in unison.
“I don’t know why I let you do this,” Ianto says quietly, “You have a personality so abrasive it’s like a cheese grater.”
“You’re not exactly the world’s most charming person either,” Owen tells him. “The monosyllabic scarily helpful thing is not enigmatic, it’s just tiresome.”
“And you think that turning every little thing into a double entendre doesn’t get wearing?” Ianto demands, accent thickening like it does when he’s angry.
“And you seem to think that wearing a suit and acting like you’re better than us is the way to be part of the team,” Owen snarls back. They’re on the point of forgetting to keep their voices down and somewhere in the back of his head Owen knows that the others shouldn’t overhear their bitch fight but mostly that doesn’t matter.
Ianto rolls with fluid speed, shifting them both and pinning Owen flat on his back, knees on either side of Owen’s hips, hands holding his shoulders down. He’s deceptively strong for a man who just makes the coffee. Owen tries to struggle but he can’t get up or knock Ianto over.
“Bite me,” he snarls, and in the dark, a second too late, notices Ianto’s grin. Then the other man is scraping his teeth up Owen’s neck hard and oh, oh. “That wasn’t an invitation!” he hisses as Ianto pauses to nibble just below Owen’s jaw, teeth nipping almost painfully at the skin and then he continues upwards, mouth sucking at Owen’s left earlobe. Owen thinks something along the lines of jesusfuckingchristohplease and draws a sharp breath in through his teeth.
Ianto gets out of bed, leaving Owen gasping.
“What the hell are you doing?” Owen demands.
“If and when we shag,” Ianto tells him quietly, sounding irritatingly unflustered, “We’re going to do it because you want it, not because you’re bored and we’re stuck in the middle of nowhere with a little too much mud.”
Owen would accuse him of being sappy but there’s a smug edge to Ianto’s tone that he really doesn’t like.
“I really, really hate you,” he tells Ianto firmly. The other man laughs as he gets into Owen’s bed, but doesn’t reply.
“Other people,” Owen announces when he wakes up, “Play with travel Monopoly, or cards, or something. Not their team members.”
“This isn’t a game,” Ianto tells him, wandering about the tent looking for his boots.
“It bloody looks like it,” Owen replies.
“You’re making something that wasn’t complicated steadily more complicated,” Ianto explains calmly, sitting down to pull on his footwear, but there’s a little smirk around the corners of his mouth and Owen gets out of bed with the intention of hurting him in some indefinable but infinitely painful way, but Ianto just laughs and ducks out of the tent in search of breakfast.
Owen stands very still for an impossibly long moment debating the merits of murdering all his colleagues and running for his life, and is depressed that he can’t actually find any cons for this proposition other than the fact he might get blood on his jeans and that’s a bitch to get out.
Tramping across the frozen mud on yet another fruitless search for the giant blue blob that wants to eat him (and that sentence fucks with Owen’s head in ways he can’t even begin to figure out), Owen tries to figure out how he went from finding Ianto very very annoying to having an almost desperate urge to shag him. And he can’t remember how it got to this point. This is completely irritating, and so he picks up a nearby stick and starts whacking various bushes and hedges with it.
“Yes Owen, please alert the potentially homicidal alien to our presence,” Ianto says dryly, and Owen starts thinking about whacking him with the stick instead, just to shut him up and make him stop being smug, and then his brain does something funny and he chokes. This is madness, and he is never going to forgive Ianto.
“Jesus,” he mutters through his teeth, carefully not paying attention to Ianto, who has his hands in his jeans pockets and is looking utterly sane and normal. Ianto pretends that he’s unruffled by everything, but Owen has seem him afraid and in tears and angry and although none of those things have ever made him like Ianto any more, it’s comforting to know that Ianto isn’t made of plastic.
Well, it’s probably comforting, anyway.
“Owen,” Ianto says thoughtfully, in a lazy sort of tone, as though he’s remarking on the weather or asking if Owen would like another coffee, “That alien’s back again.”
“Bloody hell,” Owen mutters, “I don’t need this.”
Ianto frowns and tips his head on one side.
“What were you thinking about?” he asks. Owen is hardly going to tell Ianto, so retains a mutinous silence. The giant blue alien thing just sits there, surface trembling a little, and Ianto looks thoughtful. This isn’t a good sign, but he has no idea what Ianto is thinking about until the other man drags him backwards, Owen’s back pressed against Ianto’s chest, and he starts whispering industriously in Owen’s ear.
Owen can’t make out most of what Ianto is saying, but his tone of voice is filthy.
“Get off me,” he hisses, but that voice is sending shivers down his spine and the blue thing is heading towards them worryingly fast. Ianto makes an amused sort of sound, right in his ear, and something clicks in Owen’s head. “Oh, you have got to be kidding me,” Owen groans. “Why is it always us? Aliens that fuck people to death, pheromones, those weird little devices that Jack always-”
“We had a special department in Torchwood One that dealt with those things,” Ianto says, in an unreadable tone of voice, “People were always asking to be transferred, I can’t imagine why.”
The blue thing is gaining on them and this is still incredibly disturbing.
“Ianto,” Owen begins, “What exactly do you know about this… thing?”
“Jack told me it was attracted to repressed sexual energy,” Ianto informs him, straight-faced as only Ianto can manage.
“Then why isn’t it bloody chasing him?” Owen demands, staggering back as the blue thing continues to serenely advance. “Jack is nothing but sexual energy.”
“But he’s not repressing it,” Ianto explains. Owen looks at him.
“This is all your sodding fault,” he says bitterly. Ianto shrugs. “We’re both going to die,” Owen adds, noting that there’s nowhere to go and a giant alien about to do unspeakably horrible things to them. But Ianto isn’t paying attention to him, he’s merely looking thoughtful.
Then, just as Owen is beginning to think that there really is no way out of this and it’s a ridiculous way to die and hopefully he’ll go to hell with Ianto and then he can torment him for the rest of eternity because he did this, Ianto moves fast, pinning him against a tree, and kissing him, so fast that Owen can’t stop him. He pushes Ianto away.
“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” he hisses, the immediate world over Ianto’s shoulder is blue, they’re going to-
“Shut up and kiss me!” Ianto practically shouts, and Owen wonders if this is that last kiss for a condemned man thing, and he and Gwen did that when Lisa was rampaging about being unhelpful and breaking things, and look how well that turned out, and he is going to tell Ianto about all the ways this is stupid when he realises that he’s already cupping the back of Ianto’s head with his left hand and pulling him almost brutally close.
Ianto is a pretty good kisser, which is impressive in and of itself, given the impression of general social ineptness he projects, but he’s warm and firm in all the right places and after a moment Owen forgets that they’re both due to become jelly or something equally unpalatable in a few seconds because his immediate word just seems to be full of Ianto and the way that he tastes.
When Ianto pulls back, his mouth is red. And grinning. And there is no giant blue thing to be seen. Owen feels like all his control has been torn from his grasp and he shoves Ianto hard enough in the chest to send him stumbling backwards. Adrenaline is swooping through him and making him feel like his skin doesn’t fit right.
“I just made us not dead,” Ianto points out carefully, maintaining a slight distance because Owen feels indefinably angry and he’d probably shoot Ianto right now for no good reason, “Shouldn’t we be celebrating?”
Owen just glares at him, not trusting himself to speak. Ianto nods in understanding.
“Come on, let’s go and find Jack.”
Jack consents to listening to Owen complain for around three and a half minutes before rolling his eyes and informing Owen to get over it.
“But Ianto tried to kill me!” Owen protests, sounding about five but still pissed off enough to continue, “There’s got to be some kind of cruel and unusual Torchwood punishment for that!”
“I believe there’s a form you can fill in when we get back to the Hub,” Ianto offers helpfully, expression infuriatingly placid, “Lodging an official complaint.”
Owen only stops himself from sticking his tongue out at Ianto by biting down on it. Ianto offers him a smug little smirk that is in no way conducive to Owen calming down any time soon.
“Look, if you can’t handle your stupid little crush, that’s your problem,” he snarls, “But leave my life out of it!”
“What makes you think-” Ianto begins, looking irritated for once, which is probably a good thing because that immovable waxwork unruffled expression was making Owen even angrier.
“Boys,” Jack interrupts in a tired tone, “While I have to admit we’re in the perfect place for naked mud wrestling while you sort this out, we have bigger problems.”
Owen doesn’t even need to turn around to figure out that the blue thingy is back and there are no words to describe how generally disturbing this entire trip has been. He is going to be in incredibly expensive therapy for years.
“Can we kill it?” he asks, trying to sound like a completely sensible second-in-command and not someone five minutes from bashing Ianto’s head in with whatever comes to hand.
“That seems a little heartless,” Jack tells him in an unsettlingly sympathetic tone, “It’s not doing any harm.”
“It tried to eat me,” Owen points out desperately.
“Well, no.” Jack looks faintly awkward, “It didn’t try to eat you.”
“What did it try to do?” Owen asks, picking up on the edge in Jack’s tone, turning his full attention to their irritatingly enigmatic leader. He’s never seen Jack look shifty before and it’s kind of surreal. “What did that alien try to do to me?”
Ianto looks gratifyingly blank; the omnipotent thing he had going on was getting irritating. Still, there’s a blue alien thing after Owen and he doesn’t even know what’s going to happen when it catches up, and that’s never a good sign. Add in the fact Jack can’t meet his eyes and isn’t grinning insanely, and he might as well consign himself to the apocalypse now.
“I’m sorry about this, Owen,” Jack says, though he doesn’t really look particularly sorry, and Ianto is doing a very good impression of a flesh-coloured statue, eyes wide, mouth slightly open (and just begging for someone to come along and take advantage of it – although Owen remembers that he’s not supposed to be thinking like that, thinking like that is going to get him eaten. Or whatever the hell it is that that creature does).
“Oh, you can’t,” Owen mumbles, trying to dodge but not moving fast enough, and Jack practically throws him at the creature, which envelops him completely in something that feels remarkably like dough, except it’s translucent and turquoise. This wasn’t particularly high on Owen’s to-do list for today, and it’s hard to breathe, surrounded by gloop as he is. He can, however, see out through the gelatinous substance the alien is made out of.
It’s almost – not quite, but almost – gratifying to watch Ianto shouting at Jack, even if Owen can’t make out the words, and he watches, feeling himself becoming increasingly dizzy, as Tosh and Gwen come running up, and then shriek as they see where he is. Owen tries to tell the alien that this isn’t his fault, that it’s all Ianto’s, and that Jack would make a far more satisfying meal – or even Gwen, she’s got to have plenty of frustration bottled up – than Owen. But instead, cool blue gooey stuff fills his mouth and he hopes that Jack has a plan because otherwise he’s going to suffocate in here and that’s a really bloody stupid way to die.
The first words Owen says, when he finally reaches something resembling consciousness, are:
“You’ve killed me.”
A concerned voice – Tosh’s? – replies:
“You’re not dead, Owen.”
But all of him feels heavy and sick and he’s not sure he believes her.
“Bloody stupid idea, to kill the team doctor,” he mutters. “What happens if you get sick?”
“You’re not dead,” Tosh repeats.
“If you were dead, I imagine you’d be quieter,” Ianto pipes up, sounding impossibly far away.
“You do not get to talk,” Owen orders. “This is all your bloody fault.” He becomes aware that he’s being cradled in someone’s lap – probably Tosh’s, she’s nice like that – but he can’t see anything. “Well, Harkness, I hope you’re pleased with yourself,” he snarls, “I think I’m blind.”
“You could try opening your eyes,” Ianto suggests. This seems like far too much effort but Owen gives it a go anyway, squinting against bitter sunlight.
“Argh,” he mumbles quietly, but he’s regaining the ability to actually think and it seems that he actually is alive. Who knew?
Jack looks irritatingly unrepentant, which Owen thinks is a bit much, since Jack was the one who got him encased in gloopy blue alien in the first place, and Ianto is looking impassive as ever, standing beside a large crate.
“What exactly happened here?” Owen asks, because large patches of his memory seem to have been replaced with discoloured fluff, and that’s not at all helpful.
“The alien’s contained,” Ianto says contentedly, sitting down on the crate thing and looking smug, although he is only the teaboy, and Owen is willing to bet that he had nothing to do with the actual capture of the alien, because Ianto is much better at making hot drinks than he is at actual fieldwork.
“It’s in the box,” Gwen adds. She has a smudge of blue on her cheek, which is a little distracting.
The alien’s contained. It’s in the box. Both these sentences make lovely, perfect sense, and are really all Owen wants to know right now. He tries to sit up and his spine makes crackly feelings that are clearly supposed to represent protest, but Tosh helps him stand and Owen is pleasantly surprised when he looks down and discovers that he hasn’t been dyed entirely blue.
This is the first good thing that’s happened all day.
In the SUV on the way home, there is a mutinous, exhausted silence. Gwen is in the front seat, half-asleep, and Owen is being crushed against the door in the back by Ianto. Tosh is on Ianto’s other side, doing something complicated with a laptop.
“You see how none of you were eaten, kidnapped, or otherwise permanently harmed?” Jack asks, an edge of triumph in his tone.
“Not for lack of trying,” Owen observes quietly, forehead pressed to the window and watching the road flash by. “I still have no idea exactly what that thing was trying to do to me.”
Gwen shivers. Tosh starts typing twice as fast. Jack remains silent.
“I do,” Ianto pipes up, apparently pretending he can’t see Jack shooting a glare at him in the rear-view mirror. Owen turns his attention to their receptionist.
“Ok, then, Mr Smart-Arse, what happened?”
Ianto has the grace to look faintly uncomfortable, but keeps talking anyway.
“You know how I told you that the creature is attracted to repressed sexual energy?”
“Yes…” Owen doesn’t like where this is going.
“Well, it was trying to… take away your repressed energy.” Ianto looks some complicated cross between amused and embarrassed and Owen swears that he hears the box in the back of the SUV shift.
“You mean it was trying to f-”
“Mate with you,” Gwen interrupts, and then flinches, suddenly becoming fascinated by the foliage outside the car.
“Jesus Christ.” Owen swallows hard, and then leans his forehead back against the window.
“They were invented on the planet Brilous,” Jack begins, apparently deciding to share some information for once, although in this particular case it really, really isn’t welcome. “The government thought that the people would be happier, if they were, you know, regularly…” He trails off, leaving them to incredible mental images and an even more awkward silence.
Owen closes his eyes.
“If anyone says anything at all on the way back to Cardiff I will do something drastic and violent,” he announces.
And it’s around then that Owen notices that Ianto’s had his hand on his thigh for at least ten minutes. Which really doesn’t help his present mental state.
By the time they make it home, Owen is feeling almost human again, although he is also feeling grouchy and determined that there should be plenty of monetary compensation involved for being sexually harassed by the teaboy and then molested by the alien equivalent of a blow-up doll, and all in freezing temperatures and with unnecessary amounts of Nature involved.
Jack finds this whole idea incredibly amusing and laughs Owen out of his office when he tries to complain, which seems excessive and leads to Owen explaining in an increasingly loud voice about why Jack is a completely crap leader, and a captain of what exactly? Gwen gives him a you-stole-my-rant sort of look, but she and Tosh are going straight home to hot baths and real beds, and Ianto has completely disappeared, as usual.
“Go home, Owen,” Jack orders eventually. Owen wants to stay and shout some more but he’s absolutely knackered, so he obediently traipses up the stairs, already feeling the warm embrace of his bedsheets and central heating.
Except that Ianto’s leant against his car with a little smirk on those perfect lips and it tells Owen that his well-deserved rest is still a long way off.