Word count: ~ 1400
Warnings: Coffee-deprived Ianto snark, B&E, etc.
Summary: Ianto’s rather wild and fairly misspent youth is most firmly and emphatically behind him. (Except when it really isn’t.)
Disclaimer: All recognizable characters are the property of their respective owners. I am in no way associated with the creators, and no copyright infringement is intended.
A/N: This was written in the hospital on significant amounts of painkillers, so it’s likely fairly incoherent. I'm sorry. Anyway, this is another exercise in personal headcanon, and ties in with Child, the darkness will rise from the deep. It’s not necessary to read that first, and this stands alone will enough (read: it’s utterly inane and pointless and I'm really very sorry).
B is for Burglar
They're in Splott.
It’s starting to rain.
Ianto hasn't had any coffee in what's going on twelve hours.
All of this combined is enough to strain even his generally even temper to the verge of breaking, and it’s only through sheer stubborn tenacity that Ianto’s clung to his composure as long as he has. A rainy, coffee-void Splott at midnight is no place for hissy fits.
Oh, but if there were ever a time to indulge, Ianto thinks darkly, wrapping his coat around himself a little more tightly and turning up his collar.
“We could break down the door,” Jack suggests, surveying the three-story brick monstrosity squatting on the corner without much hope in his eyes.
“Suspect, Jack, suspect. Nothing’s been proven,” Gwen immediately insists, rolling her eyes. She’s made this point already—four times, unless Ianto’s lost his count—and he can't blame her for losing patience with their mulish Captain.
It’s getting more and more aggravating, though.
“Arms dealer,” Owen chimes in helpfully, not two seconds later. “Alien arms dealer. I’d rather like to escape from this with my hide intact, yeah? Let’s not storm the place until we know just how it’s been booby-trapped.”
Over the comms, Ianto can hear Tosh sigh. He’s probably about the only one who can.
The temperature plummets about five degrees in the space of a few seconds, and that’s enough to make Ianto’s decision for him.
(It’s possible that he’s been looking for an excuse for the past two hours, but he’ll ignore that for now; old habits die hard, and Torchwood doesn't exactly encourage losing these particular talents.)
“Tosh?” he asks softly, stepping away from the others as another squabble breaks out, all but word-for-word the same as the one they had seven minutes previously. “Can you get a look at the security system of the house?”
“Sure, Ianto. What do you need?” Tosh's voice is warm, even though it’s only been a few weeks since Ianto’s suspension ended and the others are still a little wary of him. But Tosh brings him coffee now, and they go to lunch together sometimes.
It’s been a long while since Ianto had a friend, and it’s lovely.
Ianto picks his way across the road, empty of cars at this hour, and squints through the gloom at the building they've been watching for six hours now. “What's the third floor look like? Windows, specifically.”
Tosh's thoughtful frown is all but visible through the comm as she pulls up the schematics. “According to the security grid, fairly tight,” she admits after a moment. “It’s an older building, but this is a decent system.”
He knows that tone, though, and lets himself smile a bit. “So all of twenty seconds for you to get in?”
“Please, that's offensive. Ten, tops.” Her sniff of derision doesn't quite cover her amusement—or the clatter of keys in the background. “All right, I'm in. what do you want me to do with it? I can't tell if there are any other traps on the doors, you know.”
Ianto shakes his head, brushes sodden hair out of his face, and starts stripping off his layers. “I wasn't exactly planning on going in through the front,” he comments dryly, leaving his coat, suit jacket, waistcoat, shoes, and socks under an overhanging doorway. His shirt is black today, thankfully—white would have been a disaster in more ways than one. There’s a laser in his pocket—something he’s taken to carrying since the last time he got snatched by aliens looking to pick Torchwood off one by one—and he palms it, sliding it between his teeth as he pads barefoot to the foot of the building.
The bricks are worn, rough and uneven in the watery illumination of the street’s one working light, and Ianto wastes no time sliding his fingers into the cracks, finding a foothold, and hauling himself up.
“All right,” Tosh says after a startled moment, clearly watching through the CCTV. “I’ll admit I was expecting just about anything but that.”
Ianto scoffs around the handle of the laser, but concentrates on the return of skills he first cultivated in the days of his misspent youth. They are, admittedly, not as rusty as they likely should be—in Torchwood, “general support” means a lot of things that the rest of the (sane) world would never even consider falling under that heading.
He pauses for a brief break with his feet on a window ledge on the second floor, and removes the cutter from his mouth long enough to say, “It’s possible that I fell in with the wrong crowd as a child. Just perhaps.”
Tosh snorts, and he can all but hear her shaking her head. “Really? Do you think so?” she asks dryly. Then she pauses, and says, “Have the others noticed yet?”
Ianto risks a glance back at the other side of the street. They haven’t. Owen is gesticulating wildly, Gwen is up in his face—because even fights where they're on the same side to degenerate into them shouting at each other—and Jack is attempting to step between them but failing as they circle him like snapping dogs.
“Please,” is all he says, however, feigning offense. “I was a professional at this once.”
“Before or after you got caught shoplifting?”
Ianto winces. “Both? That was, admittedly, not my proudest moment. Though in my own defense, I was rather distraught at the time.”
Tosh chuckles in return. “I don't know whether to find that reassuring or unnerving, Ianto.”
Sliding over and then using the corner molding as leverage, Ianto nimbly swings himself up to the third floor and onto the narrow ledge outside the office window. “Don't overthink it, then,” he advises. “Best not to dwell, and all that.”
The laser slices neatly through the glass, making a hole just large enough for Ianto to get his hand through and unlock the window. Ianto slides it up, smiling a little in satisfaction. Just like riding a bicycle, then. Perfect.
He slips inside the room, closes the window after himself and surveys his surroundings.
Arms dealer, indeed. The Judoon blaster is particularly appealing. Ianto picks it up, tests the heft, and then tries his comm.
The three of them are still arguing.
Ianto rolls his eyes and murmurs, “Care to tell the others that I’ll be opening the front door for them shortly?”
Tosh doesn't quite snicker as she turns up the volume on the comms, but she’s close.
Ianto has gotten very, very good at ignoring Jack's pout.
The Captain is leaning against the corner of Ianto’s desk, one eyebrow arched in question and body language thoroughly intractable. Ianto just casts him a mild look and goes back to his requisition forms.
“Out of coffee again, sir?” he asks politely.
Jack snorts at him, though it’s entirely amused. “If you give me any more coffee, Ianto, I'm going to explode from acute caffeine overdose, and you're going to have to clean up the mess.”
“Of course. How careless of me to have forgotten.” Ianto looks up at him and arches a brow in return. “If you've questions as to the operation last week, you could always read the report, sir.”
“You already filed it!”
Entirely unimpressed, Ianto closes the folder in front of him and levels a flat gaze at Jack. “Are you physically incapable of walking down to the Archives, sir? And I distinctly remember submitting that entire stack of reports to you the next day, along with Owen’s research budgeting. You wouldn't happen to just sign off on things without reading them, would you, Captain?”
With a slightly sheepish cough, Jack straightens and quickly slinks back to his office. Politely, Ianto waits until the door is closed to break down into chuckles.
He can't remember the last time he really laughed, but even so, this…it feels good.