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Torchwood: Moving On (Fanfiction)

Moving On

Word Count: ~ 2.100
Summary: After Jack leaves, Owen moves into a new flat and Gwen sees a chance for a team-building excercise.
Characters: Owen Harper, Gwen Cooper, Toshiko Sato, Ianto Jones
Pairing: Jack/Ianto (hinted), Gwen/Rhys (hinted)
Rating: PG-13
Spoiler: Captain Jack Harkness, End Of Days
Setting: Between series 1 and 2
Author's Note: Written for torchwood_fest for arnica's prompt: I'm in the process of moving, so maybe a comedy of errors about a move. Hope you like it.
Beta: Eleanor Harkness-Jones, thank you!
Disclaimer: I’m not making money with this fanfic. The tv-show Torchwood and the characters appearing within it belong to their producers and creators. Any similarities to living or dead persons are purely coincidental and not intended.

***
***


It started early on a Saturday morning. They invaded his home and took control of his life.

Owen stood there, in his hallway, still wearing his pyjama trousers and rubbing sleep out of his eyes, while his team strode past him into his flat, bringing cardboard boxes and taking command. Or rather, Gwen did. "Right, we've got one day without any Rift activity. At least according to Tosh's instruments. So let's get going."

"What the hell…?" Owen finally managed and closed the door. "I was asleep! I wanted to have a lie-in."

"You don't have lie-ins on moving day," Gwen answered.

Ianto said, "I sent you a text that said we'd be here around eight." He was clutching the majority of the boxes and wearing the rattiest t-shirt Owen had ever seen. It had paint stains down the front, as had his jeans on the legs and Owen wouldn't be surprised if this was an outfit Ianto specifically kept wrapped in a plastic bag in his closet to wear for moving or renovating. Gwen and Tosh looked just as ready for action, their hair tied back and their clothes a bit more casual than the ones they wore to work.

It didn't look like he was getting out of this. True, he'd asked for help, but he'd assumed it would be on his terms…

"I didn't get a text," he snapped and grabbed his mobile from his coffee table. There was a text, alright, but… "How was I supposed to see that? You sent that only an hour ago."

Ianto looked slightly miffed at that. "An hour is sufficient warning."

Gwen set down the boxes in her hands. "Quit complaining, Owen. We're here now, so let's get started." She looked around his flat as if she was seeing it for the first time. "Shouldn't take long."

"It's a bit bare," Ianto confirmed.

Owen felt a bit insulted and looked around his living room himself. He'd never had a lot of furniture and there were a few of his boxes still unpacked – books he hadn't needed in the last few years and a few of Katie's things he hadn't been able to look at. And, yes, some of the boxes served as side tables, but his flat had everything he needed. "It's practical," he hissed in defence.

Tosh raised her eyebrows. "Your telly is standing on a cardboard box."

"Haven't got around to buying proper furniture."

"You've been living here for years."

Gwen nodded at Ianto and he produced an IKEA catalogue out of nowhere. "Chose. We'll help you pick them up later."

With that, they left him standing in his living room and went to start in the kitchen.

***

Owen had admitted defeat and taken a shower. When he entered the kitchen, there were various boxes already packed and Gwen was making notes.

"Where are the others?" Owen asked.

"Ianto's in your bedroom and Tosh's in the living room," she answered.

Owen put his hands on his hips and sighed deeply. "What can I do?"

Gwen looked around. "Uh… help me complete this list."

"What list?"

"Of things you need."

Owen frowned. "I don't need anything."

Gwen looked up at him, slowly asking, "Do you have a splatter guard?"

Owen stared at her in disbelief. "I don't even know what that is."

"You need a splatter guard, Owen!" She looked at him as if he was insane.

Owen snorted. "What for?"

"So nothing splatters. It's just something you need." She seemed to falter, noticing that her arguments weren't exactly sound. She went on nonetheless, not about to admit defeat. "One of those things, you know, that you'll miss when the time comes to use them."

"I'd like to miss all of you right now."

Gwen just sent him a glare when Ianto joined them from the bedroom. "I know what he doesn't need."

Gwen smirked at him. "Condoms?"

"No, he's actually short on those."

Gwen added them to her list with a nod and Owen rolled his eyes, muttering, "Well, this isn't embarrassing at all."

Ianto ignored him. "I was talking porn."

Owen looked at him in disbelief. "Thanks for mentioning that, mate."

Ianto looked at him, his face giving nothing away, but his eyes filled with triumph. "You're welcome."

Owen and Ianto still hadn't quite gotten over the incident with the Rift Manipulator. It had become worse with Jack leaving. He'd been the last buffer between them.

Wanting to have the last word, Owen couldn't help but mention, "I can't believe you said the word 'porn' without blushing."

Gwen chuckled, either completely oblivious to the tension building between them or trying to dissolve it. "Owen, he slept with Jack. I don't think anything will ever make him blush again."

Ianto gave her a smile that seemed a bit sad and she touched his arm. Jack was a difficult topic for all of them but Ianto seemed to have taken his absence especially hard. Owen almost felt sorry for him… almost.

Gwen took a deep breath. "You know, this is great," she said, obviously trying to change the topic, "a team-building exercise."

With that, she left. Owen looked at Ianto who turned away and followed her. "Yes," Owen muttered, "just great."

***

Owen had never even guessed that a couch could be that heavy. Gwen's concerned face and Tosh's not very helpful instructions didn't make it exactly easier to manoeuvre the thing down the stairwell. "To the right," Tosh said.

"I've got no right left, Tosh!" Owen snapped, trying to keep a grip on the lower end of the couch. "There's a wall to the right!"

Ianto, holding onto the upper end of the couch, groaned. "We have to tilt it," he said.

Owen looked at the tight bend in the stairwell they were trying to move the couch around. "Seriously? Tilt it? This thing is kinda heavy!"

"You don't say!"

"Shut up, both of you!" Gwen ordered. "Just try it."

Owen looked at Ianto and Ianto shrugged. They tried.

When the couch went over the banister and crashed its way three floors down, Gwen got out her list. "Couch," she said, adding it.

Owen glared at her.

***

"Wow!" Tosh said when they entered Owen's new flat with the first few boxes. Owen himself was taken aback at seeing the space again after his last visit a few weeks back. By now, the furniture of the couple living here before him was gone. The big windows let in light, the wooden beams and floors gave the large living room and kitchen niche a warm atmosphere. Owen would never admit to anyone that he'd fallen in love with this flat on first sight. Gwen was looking around with wide eyes, a big smile on her face.

Ianto said, "This is actually rather nice."

Owen glanced at him. "What did you expect? A cave?"

"No. I just didn't have any idea that there were flats this fancy in this neighbourhood." He shrugged. "It was a compliment."

"Well," Owen replied grudgingly, "thanks."

Gwen was standing at the windows, taking in the view over the shopping street three floors below them. "Wow, Owen, this is a really cool place. Not that the old flat wasn't great…"

He shook his head. "I know what you mean." He sighed. "I didn't feel at home there anymore. I wanted something more… homey, I guess."

Tosh asked, "Settling down?"

When he looked at her, she ducked her head and turned away, busying herself with looking at the kitchen niche. Owen sighed deeply. "Maybe."

***

"Are you?" Gwen asked while they were carrying boxes up the stairs.

Owen paused on the landing and turned to her. "Am I what?"

"Settling down."

He shrugged and turned away, continuing up the stairs. "As I said: maybe." He smiled wryly. "I don't think it'll work out with our job, though."

"Why not?" Gwen asked, carrying her boxes upstairs after him. "I've got Rhys."

Owen paused in front of his door and turned around to her. "Only because you already had him before Torchwood came along."

Gwen looked thoughtful for a moment, then she put on a determined face. "Well, it ends now. We're all getting a life."

"You can't stop emergencies from happening," Owen scoffed.

"No, but I can stop all of us always being around. We're going to establish a rota." Her eyes were determined. They all knew that expression: it told them that she was dead-serious and not to be swayed. Jack had hated that look.

Owen didn't exactly like it, either. "You just love rotas, don't you?"

She mock-glared at him and continued, "Only two need to be at the Hub during the day and only one at night. If there's a big Rift spike, we can always call the others in but they didn't happen often lately. Tosh thinks that the last big event may have knit the Rift shut a bit." She sighed, looking serious. "I want all of us to have a chance at life. Working for Torchwood shouldn't exclude that."

She met his eyes as if daring him to make fun of her, but he just smiled. "I like that idea."

"You do?"

"Yes. Yes, I do." He winked at her. "Look at you – becoming a good leader."

She blushed.

***

Owen had breathed a sigh of relief when everything had arrived upstairs. They'd had lunch and now, the girls were taking care of unpacking Owen's kitchen utensils, while Owen and Ianto had been forced to re-assemble the furniture. Owen assumed that Gwen thought it would help them mend some fences. And damn her, after three hours of brooding over his new bookshelf, they were.

"Okay," Owen said when they were finally done, "there's a screw left over." He pointed at the small plastic bag on the floor in which the offending item taunted them by its mere presence.

Ianto looked at the shelf suspiciously. "There can't be. We put it together exactly the way it should be."

"And yet ..." Owen held up the screw.

Ianto poked the shelf. "Seems solid."

They looked at each other, then Owen threw the screw in the bin bag they kept in a corner for the rubbish. He turned back to Ianto, his hands on her hips. In unison, they said, "Sorted."

***

Owen hurt. Front and back, from the top his head to his toes. He groaned and leaned back on the couch. "I think I need the day off tomorrow," he said tiredly. He looked around the flat, now fully furnished and filled with his things. Then he looked at the team, sprawled out around the coffee table littered with empty take-out containers. "Thanks for the help."

Gwen yawned. "You're welcome."

Tosh and Ianto nodded. They became silent, waiting for a joke that never came and ducked their heads as if all of them were suddenly aware of the Jack-sized hole in their group. An uncomfortable silence spread, all of them thinking the same and none of them willing to mention it.

Owen sighed deeply. "Here's to teamwork," he said quietly, raising his beer bottle.

Gwen raised hers. "To friendship."

Tosh joined them. "To Torchwood."

Everyone looked at Ianto, who hesitated for a moment and then said, "To Jack bloody Harkness."

Owen nodded. "Wherever he is." They drank. Owen sighed deeply, looking towards his window out towards the night. Then he turned back to the team. "So," he said, "Jack's not here, so he can't really say anything, but I think I know what he would want to ask right now: who is up for strip poker?"

Gwen kicked him in the shin.


END
05/12


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Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
nancybrown
Jun. 18th, 2012 10:45 pm (UTC)
*snicker* I love the banter. And the falling couch. :)
jolinarjackson
Jun. 19th, 2012 10:56 am (UTC)
Thanks. :)
lawsontl
Jun. 19th, 2012 12:00 am (UTC)
Awww, this was fun! And keeping an outfit just for nasty jobs like moving? Perfectly logical. :)


Edited at 2012-06-19 12:00 am (UTC)
jolinarjackson
Jun. 19th, 2012 10:57 am (UTC)
It is. At least for Ianto it would be. :)
remuslives23
Jun. 19th, 2012 12:50 am (UTC)
Perfect banter! I love stories of the team bonding while Jack's gone. :)
jolinarjackson
Jun. 19th, 2012 10:57 am (UTC)
Thank you. :)
kfirah
Jun. 19th, 2012 05:58 am (UTC)
I giggled at the condoms bit. I laughed so hard at the couch bit I had to wipe the computer screen!

New rule - not to drink when reading your stories! Brilliant and very funny!
jolinarjackson
Jun. 19th, 2012 10:57 am (UTC)
Thank you. :)
dylantoms
Jun. 19th, 2012 08:33 pm (UTC)
Smashing :)
And just the job after a long day - in fact I know how they feel at the moment!
jolinarjackson
Jun. 20th, 2012 09:45 am (UTC)
Thank you. :)
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )