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Jack and Owen's First Kiss
He never would have thought that a twenty-minute ride from the suburbs back to the heart of the city could be so quiet or feel this cold. The coat did nothing to fend off the chill coming from the four passengers as he drove home from the carnage the faeries had left behind before taking Jasmine.
Instead of jokes or the inevitable argument over which station to play on the radio, there was nothing but bitter silence until Toshiko requested to be let off, as they were only a few blocks from her flat. She wouldn’t meet his eyes or even respond when said, “See you tomorrow,” as she got out.
The shunning continued after they got back to the Hub.
Jack retreated to his office with memories and a bottle, waiting, hoping that at least one of the team would barge in and chew him out. Confrontation would provide an opportunity to remind them that he’d seen things they couldn’t imagine. He knew what those beings were capable of and he’d made the best decision he could for humanity.
Pouring a drink, he expected Gwen to appear full of righteous outrage, which made her eyes flash in a way that made him smile even when she was verbally tanning his hide. Gwen, with her uncanny ability to open him up and make him feel things, share his thoughts and emotions in a way he hadn’t wanted to in decades. She knew he was in mourning with no way to avenge Estelle’s death. She should be the first to empathize.
There she was. His Gwen Cooper. This was going to be alright after all. She stood in the doorway, looking at him with a mixture of sadness and disgust. He watched her shake her head slowly and leave without even the benefit of “I know it was hard for you,” or even a “How could you?”
He downed the shot in one gulp before pouring another one.
If he stayed in there long enough, visibly brooding and drinking, Ianto was sure to make an appearance offering some kind of distraction. It was always good to have that kind of employee, someone to tell him jokes or give blowjobs on demand. As long as he’d been running Torchwood, he’d had at least one employee to fulfill that function, sometimes more than one. He thought wistfully of the 70’s. Dave and Dee-Dee, over twenty years in their respective drawers, side by side.
Jack knew he shouldn’t be drinking like this. He’d had one in honour of Estelle, but that was the first time in years. He had to be prepared in case the Doctor came back, and here he was getting shit-faced because his pathetic excuse for a staff didn’t have the nerve to tell him what a bastard they thought he was.
Drink number two felt so good, he started wondering why he’d ever stopped. The Doctor wasn’t going to come back. He was stuck here, now, in this time, with these people, left behind by the only person who could save him…
“Ianto!” he yelled, trying to short-circuit what he was still sober enough to know was a really unattractive bout of self-pity. If nothing else, Ianto would make sure he got to bed safely and hopefully accompany him there.
“That’s a pretty sight. The boss in his cups.”
“You’re not Ianto."
“You noticed. I guess you ain’t completely drunk off your arse then. Teaboy’s gone home for the night.”
Et tu, Ianto?
Instead of Ianto, completely cool and crisp, he was faced with Owen, who didn’t seem to own an iron, much less a suit, arms crossed, leaning against the door-jamb.
“Are you going to lecture me? Tell me I had no right to give that girl to the faeries?”
“Not my place.”
He poured the third drink, looking direct at Owen, daring him to say anything about it.
“That never stopped you from mouthing off to me before.”
“You did what you had to.”
“You really believe that?”
“You could have said something before. When everyone was giving me the leper treatment.”
Owen moved into the office and sat down on the corner of Jack’s desk, with a studied casualness.
“You’re like a doctor. The only way to save the patient is to perform an amputation. It’s painful, it’s ugly, and it gets the job done, but it don’t win you any popularity contests. It don’t even make you a hero. It just means you done your job.”
Jack nodded, absorbing the metaphor. He was like a doctor, maybe even the Doctor.
“Will you have a drink with me Dr. Harper?”
“I will do that Captain.”
It might not have been his first, or second, or honestly, even third choice, but for right now, Owen was the perfect companion, sharing the liquor and reminding him that this would blow over as soon as the next threat showed up, and then he'd be everybody’s hero again.
He wanted to say thanks, but he already had and he hated to repeat himself, especially when he might slur his words, so instead he stood up and put a hand on Owen’s shoulder, using the leverage to hold on while he bent down to kiss Owen on the lips. There was the expected surprise, but Jack’s grip was strong enough to keep Owen from moving until he’d made a thorough inspection.
“Come on, Jack,” he said peevishly. “Give it a rest for a change.”
“What?” Jack tried one of his come to Captain grins, but he felt it going a bit lopsided.
“You know, this may come as a bit of a blow to your ego, but you're not completely irresistible.”
Jack smiled, maybe a little more broadly than he meant to. A challenge was just what he needed.