Notes: Written to make the point that there IS more to Torchwood Slash than Jack/Ianto. Spoiler for Reset. Takes place during the jail cell scene from "A Day In The Death."
Thanks to my beloved beta_goddess Special thanks to hllangel for post-posting clean-up.
Summary: Jack and Owen come to terms with the past.
That’s the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen.
It wasn’t, of course. Not even in the top hundred. Jack had long ago given up trying to quantify the foul sights he had witnessed in his enforced stay on planet Earth, but a bit of jailhouse puking didn’t rate particularly high.
Crimea, now that was disgusting. Those battlefields still haunted him; another reason to keep sleep at bay as much as possible, although even those dreams had a spot of brightness. Florence had been something beyond another famous name to drop in casual conversation.
Wars and fucking. Most of his life spent at one or the other or both at the same time. He had no illusions about the romance of either. Sex was sex. He couldn’t live without it, but it wasn’t worth dying for and neither was king, country or any variation thereof.
Taking a bullet meant for Martha Jones, now that was a heroic death. Redemption for Owen, if it were needed. Jack had to admit he was grateful. Losing Martha would have been unthinkable. The Doctor would never have spoken to him again. Maybe that’s why he’d brought Owen back: to tell him they were okay, that Jack loved him, that all was forgiven.
So why couldn’t he say it?
Because Owen was suffering and Jack felt responsible. Guilt. Another thing he could thank the Doctor for. He used to flit in and out of people’s lives, usually leaving some kind of destruction in his wake. The only thing that had changed was that now he actually cared.
They sat side by side in the cell, Owen with his head in his hands, the smell of vomit permeating the air, and Jack wanting more than anything else to alleviate the pain he’d caused through his own selfishness. Twice, if he were being honest. The glove had only compounded the damage. Torchwood might have saved Owen, but it had doomed him as well. Jack knew all about that.
The words wouldn’t come, so Jack fell back on what he knew best. His hand reached out to touch Owen’s face, stroking one prominent cheekbone with his thumb. If there was anything like a real plan, it would have been to ease from a touch to a kiss and maybe more. It wouldn’t be his first jail-house encounter.
Instead of closed eyes and open lips, he found himself facing Owen’s smirk, combined with an almost pitying shake of the head.
“You still don’t get it, Jack. There’s nothing there. I don’t feel anything. I appreciate the gesture, though. Did you mean it or were you just feeling nostalgic?”
“I always mean it,” he said softly, dropping his hand, but not his gaze. When their eyes met, Jack knew that Owen was remembering a night that should have been long forgotten.
He’d never deny his preference for attractive employees over plain ones or the number that he’d taken to bed over the years, but it was a point of honour that he’d never actually hired anyone with the specific intent of seduction. Certainly not Owen Harper with his deep-set eyes and that boatload of emotional debris he’d carried into the Hub. Owen’s medical skills were almost as formidable as his self-deception about what he would never do. Jack was happy to accept the former and wait for the latter to run head-long into reality.
When Owen and Suzie showed up on the Hub’s security video, Jack had smiled, glad to know that whatever was going to change in the 21st century, it wouldn’t be the Torchwood tradition of going at it in the cells.
Jack knew a few things about human nature and he never forgot a tragic date, so therefore he was not terribly surprised at the implosion that occurred on the first anniversary of Katie's death.
As soon as he heard the first crash, Jack came running out of his office, quickly assessing what was happening.
“Go home,” he told Tosh, emphatically before diving into the screaming fight that had filled the Hub with shouted obscenities and thrown alien tech, along with some accusations about who exactly had been using who. Suzie was a fierce fighter and Owen was intoxicated enough to be dangerous. Jack took a few hits, and barely ducked a few others before he managed to get Suzie out the door.
That left him with Owen. Drunk, angry, brimming over with misery. With Suzie out of sight, it was all focused on Jack.
“You bloody bastard,” Owen lashed out, throwing a punch that Jack easily evaded, taking the opportunity to grab Owen’s wrist and spin him around roughly.
“We’ve played this scene already, remember? I couldn’t save her.”
“And I’m supposed to be grateful, am I?”
Owen struggled, but Jack wasn't going to let go until they resolved this one way or another.
“I’ve given you a chance to do some good.”
“For what? The fucking human race? Katie was the best thing in my life. If Torchwood couldn’t save her, then what’s the use of any of it?”
Jack could feel Owen trembling with what he guessed was a mixture of rage and remorse.
This could end one of two ways and Jack would just as soon not knock out his medical man. He snaked his arms around Owen’s waist and held him tightly from behind. The adrenaline had already given him a shot of arousal and the physical proximity boosted it further. Even soused and infuriated, Owen must have noticed.
“Come on, Jack. Go play your perverted games somewhere else.”
“It’s not a game.”
“I’ll punch your lights out, mate.”
“Turn around and try.”
He gave Owen enough room to turn around within a loose embrace, constantly alert to any sign that Owen would actually try to hit him again. He didn’t think it would happen. Owen’s hostility hid a deep-seated need to hurt himself and if he thought about it for a few minutes, he’d figure out exactly how close the opportunity was.
“I don’t want this,” Owen said, but he wasn’t struggling and Jack could hear a question mark that Owen probably hadn’t intended.
“But you want me,” he replied, betting on the combination of need and fifty-first century pheromones. It wasn’t a wager he lost often.
Looking at the mixture of fury and tension, Jack knew this would be good, and then it would be very, very bad. Maybe he should just let Owen wake up with a hangover and a sore jaw.
Before he could make the decision, Owen made it for him, relaxing into his arms, and turning his head up at the perfect angle for a kiss. Jack wasn’t going to turn down that opportunity.
Consequences were for later. Now he would concentrate on Owen. The taste of whiskey and bitterness, followed by hands clutching at his hair and neck to pull him closer. The grasp around his neck and the teeth nipping reminded him of Owen’s anger. Apparently he’d figured out just how self-destructive it was to sleep with the boss, and was about to embrace it whole-heartedly.
Any plans to move things to a softer spot were derailed by an unspoken, mutual decision to sink to the floor, still holding each other too tightly. Clothing was pulled away or pushed aside until Jack had a hand encircling Owen’s cock, which was warm and hard against his skin. Jack felt his own erection rising further, pressing against his trousers with desire. His mouth found Owen’s neck, sucking hard, no doubt leaving marks, while Owen’s fingers dug into Jack’s arms. No one was getting out of this unscathed.
There was no time for delicacy. Jack wanted Owen, just like that. On a cold, hard floor, angry and rough. He heard Owen panting underneath him, as he whispered in his ear. Words that might sound harsh, but were the best he had to offer. He did want Owen. Had from the beginning, and there was no doubt, at least for the moment, that Owen wanted him. The lies ended here with Jack using a saliva-coated finger as Owen spread his legs, opening himself up to Jack’s probing.
It was the gasping yelp that Jack remembered in the cell, while he was still looking into Owen’s eyes. The memory of fucking Owen still made him hard. The gasp, and the heat and the feeling of Owen’s hips pushing back against him with every thrust. He breathed deeply at the recollection, while trying to will the devil down in deference to Owen’s situation. It didn’t work. The coat hid the evidence but Owen was starting to know him too well.
“You’ll never change, will you?”
“Neither will you.”
Their voices had lowered, the feeling of intimacy adding to Jack’s memories and the result. Owen was right. When it came to sex, he might settle for second best, but never for delayed gratification. Owen took a step closer and without apology or permission, reached out to push Jack’s coat to one side.
With god knows who watching and neither of them caring, Owen proceeded to give him a short, but oh-so-sweet hand-job. Owen’s touch was cool and dry, but Jack was happy to have it. Happy that Owen was smiling at Jack’s desire for him instead of the nearly nauseated look he’d had as he pulled his clothes on, getting off the floor and muttering, “this never happened.” He’d made it as true as any doses of retcon would have, at least till now. Owen in death was willing to admit what had happened then and what had always existed between them, even if it could never be more than this; fast strokes and a few quick squeezes, bringing him off as if they’d been doing it this way for years.
“Thanks,” he sighed, wanting to pull Owen into a proper kiss, but settling for a quick shoulder touch.
“Been owing you for a long time, Jack. For everything.”
It was time to go, and Jack had one thing left to say.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done this to you, but you have to believe it was out of love.”
“That’s touching. Would you say it in front of Ianto? Or Gwen for that matter?”
Jack felt exasperation replacing sexual relief.
“I love you all. Why can’t that be enough for any of you?”
Owen just shook his head again, clearly amused by Jack’s desire to have his cake, his cookies, his ice-cream and a few jelly babies on the side.
“Too much for some people, isn’t it?”
Jack nodded, relieved to be leaving the cell with Owen and a few good memories.
They’d make the guilt easier to live with.