The monitor was beginning to blur at the edges, blue lines smearing across the black screen. Tosh tossed her pen at the half-finished report with a grunt of frustration and pressed the heels of her hands into her eyes. The long, silent ride back to Cardiff had felt interminable, Owen and Gwen sitting apart but still electrically aware of each other, even with Ianto seated laconically between them. Ianto had caught her expression once, and had reached forward to touch her shoulder. They'd smiled carefully at each other before she'd settled back into pained reflection, the chaotic run from a machete-wielding cannibal on perpetual loop in the back of her mind.
Strange how it was just as hard to think about Owen kissing Gwen as it was to remember the village they'd just left behind.
The gentle scent of tea said "Ianto", but Tosh couldn't keep herself from flinching despite the familiarity. Her hands curled into fists and her eyes popped open wide. Ianto looked just as startled, the china cups rattling briefly on the platter he was holding.
"I'm sorry, Tosh, I didn't mean to frighten you," said Ianto hurriedly. The usually wary, distant look on his face was still frayed into fear at the edges, even after two days of normalcy. Tosh realized she was holding her breath and let it out carefully.
Shaking her head, she reached for one of the cups Ianto was holding out. She noticed dispassionately that her hands were still shaking.
"Since when did Torchwood switch to tea, Ianto? Jack'll pitch a fit." 'Two hands in this situation, Tosh, no tea in the keyboard.' She got the thin edge of the teacup to her lips without incident and smiled. There was something so civilized about tea, even when it was English Breakfast in Wales instead of jasmine green from the hands of her mother.
Ianto dodged a glance up to Jack standing in his office who was pacing restlessly, his gaze fixed on something in the distance. He looked a little too long, and Tosh leaned back in her chair to study the drawn lines of his mouth. Ianto glanced back to Tosh's face. He actually blushed, looking down at his knuckles tightening on the tea tray.
Putting her cup down, Tosh leaned forward to pry the tray gently out of Ianto's grip. Keeping her eyes on his shifting gaze, Tosh asked, "Ianto, what is it? Sit down, you look woozy." Her computer beeped - a storm front coming in off the bay. Tosh grunted in frustration and shoved the tray onto the nearest flat surface and typed out a quick, one handed sequence to save the data.
But when she touched Ianto's cuff, he pulled away abruptly. Tosh paused, staring up at the animal wildness in his eyes.
"I'm fine," he said, his usually taut voice ratcheted up to high tension. When she narrowed her eyes, he grimaced and rubbed one large hand across his face. "Sorry. I'm sorry. I'm just - not all the way back to Cardiff, yet." He paused, shoulders tense, then picked up the tea tray in a quick, controlled motion, cups hardly rattling. Stopping again, half-turned away, he sent one more glance backward and took the stairs to Jack's office.
'No you don't, Ianto Jones.'
Tosh locked her workstation and stalked slowly after Ianto's retreating form. An exaggerated moan of annoyance came out of the open doorway above her - apparently, Jack was reacting to the tea as Tosh had predicted. She paused in the doorway, where she could see that Jack was laid back in his creaking leather office chair, lazily smiling up at Ianto over a steaming untouched cup. When Tosh poked her head in, they both turned to look up blankly, Jack's smile fading.
"Tosh?" Jack straightened abruptly, bracing his hands on the arms of the chair. "What's happened?"
Shaking her head, Tosh put out a restraining hand. Jack's face folded into confusion.
Ianto set his tea tray down with a precise click and turned to glower. "Tosh. Leave it." Echoes of Gwen's embarrassed hiss back at the campsite rang through the air between them, and Tosh winced. Not unusual behavior, coming from Ianto, but given the past few days and Ianto's now aggressively defensive posture, Tosh wasn't willing to let go quite yet.
Shaking her head firmly, she replied, "I'm not going to leave it, not after what we all went through. I saw what you saw, and I'm still shaking days later. You've closed it up into a box! Do you honestly expect to handle everything that happened in that village on your own?"
If Ianto's jaw were clenched any tighter, he'd break teeth. "Tosh," he said warningly.
She stepped into the room, pulling Jack's office door shut behind her. "Ianto. You're jumpy, you're pale, you're stretched to the breaking point. You've got to get it out before you explode."
In the corner of her eye, Jack stood slowly, shoving his chair back. He glanced back and forth between the two of them, seeming to realizing he was out of the loop. He was very still, watching carefully.
His form equally still, Ianto's eyes narrowed.
"What business is it of yours, Tosh?" His nostrils flared; he took a menacing step toward her. Tosh felt a jolt of tension run up her spine.
They both jumped when Jack slapped his hands hard on his desk, sending papers flying. His eyes were fierce, intensely blue.
"Stop it, the both of you!" Having regained their attention, Jack pointed one hand commandingly at Ianto. "What the hell is your problem?"
Rounding on Jack, Ianto's face twisted, emotion flooding onto it. "What's my problem? You. You're my problem." He jabbed a finger at Jack, his tight profile cracked into angry lines.
Jack exhaled sharply in a sarcastic laugh. He slapped his desk again and spread his arms incredulously. "Is this about your bloody cyber-girlfriend again? Boyo, this is getting old." The derision was dripping off him.
Ianto's face flushed scarlet. "Shut up! Don't you talk about Lisa that way!"
'This was going well.' Tosh opened her mouth to calm them down, distract them, anything.
Turning directly to Jack, Ianto blew over her attempt, his voice getting louder and higher pitched.
"I can't believe you!" His face twisted again, pain etched in every line. "And why? What is it about you that makes me eat your abuse and I still want to rip your clothes off and fuck you senseless?" He was shaking, that wild animal look back in his eyes.
The outburst left Jack blinking. Tosh thought spontaneously, 'Ianto, everyone wants to fuck Jack senseless.'
With that, the solution to this equation unfolded into beautiful clarity. All three of them were stretched tight, even Jack - and there was a much more effective way to get rid of tension than fighting. One Jack would jump at in a heartbeat.
'Good god, can I really do this?' She pushed away her apprehension sharply. 'I think too much.'
Tosh turned back decisively and locked the office door, pulled the vertical blinds shut with a snap. Both men twitched at the sound, turning to glare at her. She wanted to sink into herself, away from the conflict.
'This is going to be harder than Jack makes it look.'
She took a breath into her suddenly tight chest and kicked off her shoes. Ianto's expression didn't flicker, but Jack raised his eyebrows. It figured that he would catch the point of that right away. Tosh swallowed and walked up to Ianto. Shit, but that boy was tall.
"We all need a break from reality right now. Gwen and Owen are gone, it's just us overtimers." She reached out tentatively to cup Ianto's face, caressing one cheek with her thumb. "I'm going to take a page out of Jack's book here."
She felt one corner of her mouth tug up, thinking, Smooth, Tosh. That's a seriously unsexy line. Ianto was utterly still beneath her hand.
Tosh bit her tongue. Stop talking and just do it.
She reached up with her other hand and brought his mouth down to hers, brushing her tongue against his lips. She felt him gasp and stiffen, his heart stuttering against her chest for an extended moment.
Then his arms slid around her waist and lifted her nearly off her feet, pulling her close and deepening the kiss. When she felt Jack press against her back and begin to take down her hair, Tosh knew she'd been right.
She broke the kiss when the last hairpin came loose, gasping and arching into the feel of Jack's fingers trailing up her scalp. Ianto set hot, panting kisses from neck to navel, opening buttons hurriedly as he went. His enthusiasm was surprising, setting her skin buzzing.
As Ianto pulled the blouse from her skirt, Jack gently grasped the hair at the crown of her head and tilted her back for an eager, electric kiss. Tosh glimpsed his braces hanging loose, his shirt untucked. Running her hand up under his undershirt to feel the smooth skin beneath, she felt more than heard the purr of her skirt's zipper being yanked down. Tosh moaned against Jack's lips, and he backed off a bare millimetre to catch her eyes. After a moment, he grinned and kissed her again, fiercely and lightning quick. Then he let her up for air to grab Ianto by his tie and a fistful of shirt, giving him the same intense kiss. Ianto's hands clenched in the fabric of Tosh's skirt, then he reached up trembling to touch Jack's face.
Sensing an opening and a potential pause for thought, Tosh immediately moved to distract. She made short work of Ianto's vest, the buttons pulling one side open to expose the starched white shirt. The growl Ianto made as she fumbled the buttons open as fast as she could brought a hot tingle to the base of her skull. She shuddered with it, and heard Jack chuckle deep in his throat.
For quite a while, there were no words, no numbers, no thoughts at all. Ianto was nearly mute with need, and Tosh clumsy with inexperience until Jack helped them into position. He gently pulled Tosh's shoulders back to lay her prone on his desk, sweeping the detritus to the floor. He obviously had a plan, propping her hips up with his rolled up coat at the edge of the wood so her legs hung over the edge. Watching Jack guide Ianto between her thighs, Tosh felt her breath quicken. Jack murmured hot, dirty phrases to both of them as he undid the other man's trousers. That wicked grin came out and he ripped open a condom and helped Ianto roll it on. Tosh couldn't remember the last time a condom had been that fascinating. Jack nipped at the nape of Ianto's neck and nudged Ianto forward. Still twitching in reaction, a dumbfounded expression transforming his face, Ianto leaned down to kiss her again and eagerly thrust into her, both of them arching and gasping at the sensation. Tosh heard Jack move around to her head again, caught a glimpse of him leaning against the back wall, his cock in his hand and a heavy-lidded smile on his face. She reached back to motion him to her side, taking him into her mouth with a chuckle of pleasure.
They all moved together in the increasingly hot and humid air of the closed little room, little pictures caught in her mind like screen captures: Jack taking her against the wall with one arm around Ianto, kissing him savagely; Tosh pushing Ianto to the floor to climb onto him and Jack again against a wall with his cock in his hand; Jack taking her from behind as she kissed Ianto; Jack on his knees before Ianto, his face ecstatic.
Finally, Tosh curled exhausted and sated on the floor between both men as sweat cooled and panting slowed. Through half-closed eyes, she caught a glimpse of Ianto's fingers entwined with Jack's, resting on her shoulder. She smiled dreamily.
"Toshiko," Jack murmured warmly, "They'll find us in the morning if we don't get up now." Ianto stiffened beneath her, and Tosh reached up to stroke him reassuringly over his heart.
"Relax, Harkness. I set the computer in here ages ago for a 6am wake-up call. I don't need to find you in flagrante delicto any more than the rest of the group does."
She'd surprised a delighted laugh out of Jack. He curved around her back and reached over pull Ianto closer as well.
Tosh smiled sleepily and kissed Ianto on the cheek. Maybe there was something to thoughtless action, after all.