Pairing: Jack/Gwen UST (references to Jack/Ianto, Gwen/Rhys, Gwen/Owen)
Notes: Takes place during Series 2, pre-Something Borrowed. Unbeta-ed, feel free to jump in.
Summary: Jack comes home to the unexpected.
Jack needed a cup of coffee and shower, preferably in that order. It had been a long night, which he’d thoroughly enjoyed, but the rare beams of Cardiff sun weren’t his friends this morning. Ianto would no doubt treat him to a silent rebuke of hurt feelings along with the steamy beverage. If that was the price, Jack was willing to pay it.
What he hadn’t anticipated was to find Gwen sitting with her feet up on his desk, reading what appeared to be a file sent over one of their “American informants,” which was Torchwood-speak for “Yank tossers with telescopes and over-active imaginations,” except sometimes they did stumble into something and Torchwood had to come and save them from themselves or whatever else had landed in the neighborhood. A trip to the States might be a good idea. Easier than dealing with whatever Gwen had in store for him.
She smiled at him, presumably taking in the full picture of morning-after dishevelment. The hickeys on his neck had healed already, but Jack had the feeling that Gwen could see the whole night’s escapade in his eyes, and possibly knew how much he wished she could have been a part of it.
He raised his eyebrows at the scene, with a head cocked at the thermos sitting on his desk. Considering that they’d only known each other a few months, it was surprising how well they read each other without speaking. He and John and had been that way by the end, a lucky thing, considering how often one of them would refuse to talk to the other in some fit of pique.
“I sent Ianto home. Thought we should have a talk,” she said, opening the thermos and pouring him a cup.
Jack didn’t know which surprised him more. That Ianto still had his own flat or that Gwen had actually been able to make him go. Some day he’d really have to find out exactly how she’d taken control of Torchwood in his absence.
He took the cup and sat on the corner of his own desk, wondering if he should bother working up a plea of extenuating circumstances or just throw himself on the mercy of the court. It wasn’t that he felt guilty. He couldn’t help it if the majority 21st century humans still needed their delusions of love and commitment before they’d allow themselves to experience sexual pleasure. He’d never promised Ianto…there was an expression, but it was eluding him at the moment under the intensity of Gwen’s gaze.
“Good coffee,” he noted, after the first sip. It was darker than what he was used to, and after a few seconds he could practically feel the caffeine starting to buzz through his system.
“Rhys made it for me. It’s what he uses to stay awake on long hauls.”
“He’s a good man,” Jack offered, not meaning to sound ironic or open the door to Gwen’s next remark, although he ended up doing both.
That was an interesting choice of words. Now that the whole team knew about Jack’s little quirk, “worry” would seem to be out of the equation. At least not any concern for his well-being anyway.
“I can’t die,” he reminded her coldly. “He’s not worried. He’s jealous.”
Gwen shrugged her acknowledgement.
“A bit of discretion wouldn’t hurt, you know? You can still have him at your beck and call. No need to rub his face in it all the time. He loves you and can’t stand the thought that you’re still out there doing things. Make him think you’ve changed. It’ll be easy enough. Trust me. I know. “
Jack knew too. He was a con man after all, and knew quite well how to avoid duels and the odd divorce proceeding.
“Discretion is a pretty way of saying hypocrisy. I gave up on that around the same time corsets went out of fashion,” he snapped. Who the hell was Gwen Cooper to call him on his sex life, anyway? She who’d fallen in and out of bed with Owen Harper and floated away with her angelic image intact?
She didn’t even flinch at the sound of his raised voice, leaving Jack to realise that he was the one feeling jealous. He put down the cup and took her hand in his, feeling that thing that had always been there between them.
“Jack,” she said softly, closing her eyes, obviously letting herself feel it as well.
“So you’re saying I should follow your lead. Give him pretty words and then sneak around? A dose of ret-con here and there in case things get ugly?”
He kept his voice low and seductive while gently stroking the skin on the top of Gwen’s hand.
“A little peace in the family isn’t a bad thing.”
“And what’s in it for me?” he asked, feeling the night fading away and the possibility of a new day beginning.
Her eyes opened and met his, full of promise. Then he felt the ring on her finger. She was still engaged to a good man who made great coffee. This was why Gwen needed to know that Jack would do things her way, and why Jack needed to keep all his options open. They were an evenly matched pair, although that didn’t necessarily speak well for either of them.
The game would continue.