Notes: Written for consci_fan_mo from the prompt: Jack/Owen-Things that we've forgotten. Awesome tag-team beta services provided by _tallian_ and rose_cat a/k/a-Rosie the Tiger. Post-ep for They Keep Killing Suzie, perhaps a bit canon-subversive. Apologies in advance for massive amounts of cross-posting. Comments and concrit welcome.
Summary: Torchwood takes care of its own. Except when it fails
As it turned out, there weren’t that many things you could do with a stopwatch and none of them were much good for distracting Jack from a mixture of guilt and regret, not for very long anyway.
He paced the Hub, nodding at the pterodactyl and periodically glowering at the Rift monitor. The one night he could really have used a distraction, it was as quiet as Cinethon now that tourist season was over. Jack was seriously considering “accidentally” releasing the captive Weevils just so he go could out and hunt them down again, when the Hub door rolled open, providing company, or at least Owen Harper looking slightly disheveled and extremely grim.
“How’s Gwen?” Jack asked, trying not to let bitterness taint his genuine concern.
Just because he hadn’t made a move on Gwen Cooper five seconds after recruiting her didn’t mean he didn’t have every intention of doing so. He’d made a good start with her shooting lesson; the rest was just a matter of time, and maybe a bit of decency given what she’d gone through during her first few weeks on the job and the whole boyfriend thing. Owen had no such compunctions; he’d moved right in on Gwen when she was completely vulnerable, leaving Jack feeling like a fool with no one to blame but himself.
“Still a bit shell-shocked, I think. I gave her a sedative and sent her home.”
Jack shot Owen a skeptical look, to which he responded with flared nostrils and a head-shake, as if expressing outrage that Jack would doubt his honesty.
“She’s had a helluva few weeks, Jack! Are you sure you did the right thing, bringing her into this madhouse?”
“She came looking for us, remember? Pizza and all. I gave her the Retcon and she still came back. Maybe it was fate.”
It was Owen’s turn to express disbelief and Jack had a good idea what he was thinking. The rest of them had come to Torchwood with nowhere else to go and no one to go back to. Gwen was different. They both knew it.
Jack was one or two counts of three away from telling Owen to go fuck himself. Owen could always get to him. Suzie used to be able to do it too. Which reminded him of what he’d wanted to forget in the first place. Captain, my captain.
“You alone here?”
Owen’s question momentarily jolted him out of his incipient wallow.
Jack shrugged. He knew about Gwen. Owen knew about…everyone. They understood each other, probably too well.
“Just me and the ghosts. Welcome to the party.”
Owen came closer. Jack smelled alcohol and thought of how Gwen had clung to Owen after Suzie had been finally, irrevocably killed. He hated feeling that way. Jack Harkness didn’t pine for anybody, he thought, deliberately omitting the one person who wasn’t just anybody.
He watched Owen take in the enormity of the Hub with its history of death.
“How many bodies are there? How many lives given for Torchwood?”
He shook his head, not because he didn’t know, but because he did. Name by name, year by year. Every single death since he’d made his deal with the Torchwood devil. Even Emily and Alice, doing what they thought was the right thing for the Empire. He mourned them all; felt their presence.
“Too many,” he said, his voice catching.
“Suzie,” Owen guessed.
“You couldn’t know.”
Owen was trying to make him feel better? That was rich.
“I should have known!”
“Yeah. I get it. On top of being disgustingly handsome, and knowing a frightening amount about creatures that don’t technically exist, you’re supposed to have a crystal ball and see someone going off the deep end over some bloody glove.”
It wasn’t just the glove, Jack knew, it was Torchwood. Torchwood screwed up everyone in the end. The only question was how much. Time to find out, at least where Owen Harper was concerned.
When in doubt, fall back on what you know. Maybe something could be salvaged from one of the worst days of his very long life.
“What’s disgusting about it,” he said, lowering his voice and fixing Owen with a speculative gaze.
“Do you ever stop?”
Owen rolled his eyes, but he wasn’t saying no, which to Jack was pretty much an engraved invitation, especially given a certain pouty quality to Owen’s lips and a hint of breathlessness in his voice.
“Do you really want me to?”
“In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m not a glorified valet with a case of hero worship.”
Now it was Jack covering ground and Owen taking a deliberate step back.
“That’s good. I hate to repeat myself.”
Owen was shaking his head. It could have been disapproval or self-disgust, but it wasn’t enough to keep him from responding as Jack pulled him close enough to brush their lips together at which point Owen’s mouth opened, and his hands encircled Jack’s neck, letting Jack know he wasn’t protesting.
Jack held on, grabbing a handful of Owen’s t-shirt, as he pushed the kiss deeper until he was sure that Owen wasn’t going anywhere that Jack didn’t want him to. He had the vague sense that Owen was still on medical duty, but Jack didn’t mind. Torchwood took care of its own, one way or another, except when they failed.
“Come with me,” he said, pulling Owen toward his quarters, thinking he was still in control, until they actually got there and instead of seeking permission, the way Ianto always seemed to, Owen went down ahead of him, absolutely confident.
Yeah, he definitely needed this, he thought, following Owen down the ladder, already anticipating what would happen. He’d been doing this dance with Owen even before he’d shown him a future without his fiancée, which meant over a dozen imagined scenarios of what he’d do when he got Owen in bed. Strangely enough, they generally didn’t involve Owen lying on top of him, handling the disrobing with smooth efficiency and whispering rough promises about making Jack forget where he was, promises he seemed fully capable of keeping.
He’d never believed Owen was purely straight, and was pleasantly surprised to find out how right he was.
It had been too long since Jack felt like he could lie back and enjoy the ride and it was such an utter relief, he closed his eyes and let everything go, except the feeling of Owen’s cock rubbing against him, pushing inside and proceeding to ream his arse like the charge of the fucking Light Brigade.
“Thanks,” he said afterwards, when he was lying sprawled on the bed, naked, sticky and deliciously tired, thinking he might even get a few hours sleep out of the deal, which was like winning the lottery and not even having to pay tax.
Owen didn’t seem the type to need reassuring talk or cuddling. In fact, Jack could hear him getting dressed. So much for another go round in a few hours.
“It’s not Torchwood.”
“Hmm?” Jack was dozing off, barely aware of what Owen was saying, but he’d remember it later, much as he’d try to forget.
“Torchwood doesn’t drive people crazy, Jack. You do.”