Being Incorporeal by badly_knitted



Summary: An unanticipated complication during a Rift retrieval has caused Ianto a very unexpected problem.
Rating: All Ages
Categories: Torchwood
Characters: Gwen Cooper, Ianto Jones, Jack Harkness, Owen Harper, Toshiko Sato
Genres: Drama, Fluff, Humor, Romance, Standalone
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Published: 2021.06.10
Updated: 2021.06.11


Index

Chapter 1: Chapter 1
Chapter 2: Chapter 2


Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Author's Notes: Written for my own prompt, 'Torchwood, Ianto, "Ghosts are people too",' at fic_promptly.


Ghost Ianto glared at Jack indignantly, folding his ghost arms across his ghost chest with a disgruntled huff. “Don’t talk about me like I can’t hear you! You see me, I’m standing right here, and I do still have feelings you know! For your information, ghosts are people too.”

Jack turned to look pensively at the shimmery, see-through form of Ianto. “Correction; ghosts used to be people, of one kind or another. Technically, once people become ghosts they’re classed as incorporeal entities. That loses them most of the rights of people-hood.”

“Oh, thanks very much for that! Nice to know where I stand.” Ianto wasn’t usually given to pouting, but on occasions like this, it was a perfectly natural response. Jack was being so insensitive, and right now, giving him a clip around the ear to set him straight wasn’t an option.

“I don’t mean you in particular, Ianto, just ghosts in general,” Jack explained, floundering, trying not to offend his ghostly boyfriend any more than he already had. “Anyway, technically speaking, you’re not a proper ghost because you’re still alive. He is still alive, right, Owen?”

“Pulse, heartbeat, respiration, blood pressure, all still reading perfectly normal,” Owen confirmed from the autopsy bay, where he was examining Ianto’s body. “As far as I can tell, Teaboy’s in perfect health, it’s just that his body isn’t connected to his… whatever you want to call that.” He waved a hand at the ghostly figure of Ianto, who had floated over to stand beside Jack at the railings, looking down at where his body lay on the autopsy table.

“His disembodied spirit,” Jack supplied.

“Yeah, that. Point is, even though it should be inside his body and not floating around by itself, the fact that it’s gone AWOL doesn’t appear to be causing Teaboy any problems.”

“Right, because my body being unconscious and inert, and missing a vital part, namely ME, isn’t a problem at all,” Ianto snapped sarcastically, turning his withering glare on Owen. It proved quite effective even in his insubstantial state.

Owen tried a conciliatory smile. “Sorry, mate, I just meant your body isn’t showing any signs of harm from you not bein’ in it.”

Ianto stared down at his body, frowning. “I feel like there should be a sign on me reading ‘I aten’t dead’,” he grumbled.

Both Jack and Owen stared at him oddly and he rolled his ghost eyes. “Am I the only person around here who’s ever read the Discworld books?”

“You mean like Granny Weatherwax!” Tosh piped up from her workstation.

“Exactly! Thank you, Tosh!” Ianto smiled at his friend; at least one person knew what he was talking about.

“I could make a sign for you if you’d like one,” Jack offered helpfully, still looking confused.

“No, that’s okay, Jack. Everyone here already knows my body’s still alive.” The steady beeping of Owen’s monitors was reassuring proof of that. Still, it didn’t make Ianto feel much better about being on the outside. Of all the stupid things to happen…


OoOoO


A few hours earlier, on a routine Rift retrieval, Ianto had been the victim of a bizarre and completely unforeseen accident with a piece of alien technology. After all, who in their right mind would have imagined that a seagull might snatch up the Rift’s latest gift before they could get to it? Jack and Owen had immediately opened fire at the bird in an attempt to scare it into letting go of its prize, which admittedly had worked. After a fashion. Unfortunately, the seagull had dropped the shiny object directly on Ianto’s head from a considerable height, knocking him out cold and somehow separating his soul, for want of a better term, from his body.

Even more unfortunately, from Ianto’s point of view, the team had immediately rushed to the aid of his body, not noticing his rather dazed and shaken spirit, which was sprawled on the ground nearby, having been ejected from his body quite forcefully by the impact.

By the time Ianto’s spirit had pulled itself together, so to speak, his body had already been carried to the SUV and was on its way back with the rest of the team to the Hub, leaving a rather significant part of him behind. It had been a long walk back to base, dodging around people to avoid having them walk through him, until he’d belatedly realised that in the absence of his body, he could actually float quite a lot faster and with a great deal less effort than it took to walk like a regular person. Even so, he’d followed the roads rather than taking the direct route through the walls of buildings. Old habits are hard to shake, and besides, he’d found even the thought of floating through something solid to be seriously disturbing.

Arriving at the entrance to the Tourist Office however, with no way of opening the door in his insubstantial state, he’d been forced to find an alternative way of gaining entrance. Passing through solid objects had proven to be, as he’d expected, a deeply unpleasant experience, a disgustingly slithery sensation going through him as whatever he was now made of slipped between the molecules of stone, and metal, and concrete. Needless to say, Ianto hadn’t been in the best of moods when he’d finally reached his destination. There he’d found his friends and his lover clustered around the autopsy bay as Owen concluded the examination of his body with the confident words, “Teaboy has a lump on his head, and a possible mild concussion, but once he comes round he should be fine. The scalp wound is relatively minor; there’s no permanent damage.”

Ianto had always prided himself on his ability to handle whatever his job threw at him without making a fuss, but Owen’s unconcerned attitude had been the last straw.

“You left me behind,” he’d snapped, stalking over to confront his colleagues and planting himself in front of them, hand on hips. They’d stared back at him, mouths open, looking as if they’d seen a ghost. Which, come to think of it, was a fair assessment of the situation. “Do you lot have any idea how long it took me to get back here under my own steam? Even floating, it’s a hell of a long trek from Penarth Pier!”

Jack blinked and took an uncertain step forward. “Ianto? Is that you? You look a bit, uh, faint.” He reached out towards Ianto, and Ianto shuffled back a step.

“Oh no, you’re not sticking your hand through me. Coming through the walls to get in here was quite bad enough, thank you very much! I have no desire to experience passing though someone’s body, not even yours! All I want is to get back in my own body, as soon as possible, if that’s alright with you.”

Owen opened and shut his mouth a few times before managing to get words out. Not that success in speaking was much of an improvement.

“How? What? How?” It was actually quite amusing to see the medic so completely flummoxed.

“How should I know? I was rather hoping you lot could figure that out,” Ianto admitted. “All I’m really sure of is that I was hit on the head by whatever came through the Rift, and I got squirted out of my body like a seed from a squashed grape.”

“You’re comparing yourself to a grape?” Jack’s lips quirked in amusement.

Ianto scowled at his lover. “Shut up; I happen to like grapes. Anyway, that’s beside the point. You grabbed my body and ran off without me, which wasn’t very considerate of you. I followed as soon as I could get my bearings.”

At least Jack had the decency to look guilty.

“Uh, sorry about that. Really, you can’t blame us though. You were knocked out and bleeding all over the place from a scalp wound; we just wanted to get you back to the Hub as fast as possible for treatment. You needed five stitches in the cut on your head! Anyway, how were we supposed to know you weren’t in your body? That’s not exactly something we could check for.” He gazed earnestly at Ianto, his eyes pleading for forgiveness.

Ianto sighed. “I suppose that’s true, but I was right there, only a few metres away from you.”

“You’re a bit hard to see, Ianto,” Tosh told him apologetically. “I think you’d probably be almost invisible in bright sunlight so it’s not surprising we didn’t spot you out on the pier.”

“Well, okay then,” Ianto replied, mollified. “Just please, tell me you’re working on the artefact. I need to know what it’s done to me and how to undo its effects.”

”Sorry, I haven’t looked at it yet; we’ve all been too worried about what happened to you, but I’ll get to work on it right away, I promise.”

“Thanks, Tosh, I appreciate that.” Ianto smiled wanly at his friend as she hurried back to her workstation where the strange, shiny hexagonal device was sitting beside her computers.

“Right,” Jack announced, “we can’t just stand around here all day. We’ve got work to do. It’s getting on towards lunchtime, and I don’t imagine we can count on Ianto for sustenance and beverages right now, so Gwen, why don’t you go to that Ianto-approved coffee shop on the Plas, get coffees for all of us, and sandwiches from that little deli a few doors further down.”

“On it.” Gwen quickly grabbed up her coat and bag then headed for the cog door. She seemed almost relieved to be escaping Ianto’s ghostly presence.

“Owen, keep monitoring Ianto’s body; do whatever you need to do to keep him alive and let me know immediately if there’s any change.”

“You don’t need to tell me my job, Harkness.” Owen turned his attention back to his ‘patient’, checking Ianto’s vitals once more and as before, getting readings indicating that he was perfectly healthy despite his unusual condition.

So here they were now, Ianto a bit peeved at being talked about rather than talked to, and the rest of the team variously puzzled, mystified, and a little creeped out by their disembodied teammate.


OoOoO


“Y’know, while Tosh is figuring out that alien doohickey, we might as well try the practical approach first,” Owen stated, addressing nobody in particular. “Teaboy, get down here and see if you can… I don’t know, put yourself back in your body or something.”

“Excuse me?” Ianto’s ghostly eyebrows shot up. “I’m sure I just said a few minutes ago that I didn’t want to try walking through anybody.”

“I didn’t ask you to walk through yourself, I asked you to go back where you’re supposed to be. Don’t be so bloody squeamish; it’s your own body, you belong inside it, so just see whether or not you can return to it!” Scowling at his teammate’s ghostly form, Owen pointed commandingly at Ianto’s unmoving body. “In!”

“Fine. Just move out of the way.” Ianto flapped a ghostly hand in a shooing motion. “I don’t need you getting in the way.”

“Whatever.” Owen moved back from the autopsy table, where Ianto’s body was resting, as Ianto approached and stared at himself.

“It’s really weird seeing myself like this.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Owen sounded bored. “Just get on with it, will you? I ‘aven’t got all day; there are other things I could be doing.”

“Um, what exactly should I do? Any suggestions?”

“How am I supposed to know? Look, you said you can float, didn’t you?”

Ghost Ianto nodded. “Yes.”

“So try floating above your body and just… drift down into it.”

Ianto threw his hands up in the air. “I can’t believe I’m even considering this! Right, okay, here goes nothing.” Ianto floated up and following Owen’s careful directions, poised himself horizontally above his body, lying on his back in mid-air. Once Owen was sure he was positioned right, he gave the okay and Ianto floated gently downwards, merging with his body… and sinking straight through, ending up half buried in the floor. “Argh!” He scrambled back out and away, grimacing and shuddering, feeling his insubstantial skin crawling. “Do not ask me to do that again, Owen Harper!”

“Okay, so that didn’t work. Should’ve known it wouldn’t be that easy.” Owen shrugged carelessly. “I guess it’s back to the drawing board.”

“When I get back in my body, I’m putting you on decaf for a month!”

“Hey! It had to be tried, just on the off chance. It’s not my fault that it didn’t work!”

“It was your idea!” Ianto fumed.

“D’you want back in your body or not?”

“Of course I do! Isn’t that what I’ve been saying since I got back here?”

“Then you know the drill; you have to try everything, explore every option, even if some things might not be all that pleasant.”

“Hmph.” Ianto turned on his heel and stalked away to see how Tosh was getting on with figuring out the mysterious device that had caused his predicament.


OoOoO


When Gwen arrived back with their lunch, she’d bought food and coffee for everyone. Literally. She handed out their lunches in the boardroom, placing a coffee and a deli sandwich in front of Ianto. “Here you go, pet. I got you the tuna salad you like, and a lemon brioche for after.”

Ianto stared helplessly at the food, realising for the first time that in his present condition he didn’t even have a sense of smell. “Thanks, Gwen. I’ll save it for when I’m back in my body. I don’t think ghosts can eat.”

Gwen’s eyes went wide, and she clapped her hand to her mouth. “Oh God, I’m sorry, I wasn’t thinking!”

“That’s okay, it’s still nice that you included me.”

“I’d best put your sandwich in the fridge.” Gwen scooped up the packet and hurried out of the boardroom. There was an awkward silence for a moment, then Jack came around the table and pulled Ianto’s chair out for him.

“Can you sit?” he asked uncertainly.

“Sort of. I can look like I’m sitting anyway.” Ianto arranged himself into a sitting position, hovering slightly above the seat of his chair.

“Owen, shouldn’t you be keeping an eye on Ianto’s body?” Jack sounded a bit worried.

“He’s stable, and I’m monitoring everything he’s hooked up to with this.” Owen held up his PDA. “If there’s the slightest change I’ll be notified immediately.”

Gwen reappeared, still looking embarrassed after her faux pas. She slipped into her seat, studiously avoiding looking in Ianto’s direction.

Jack called the lunch meeting to order, bit off a huge mouthful of his sandwich and tried to speak around it. “It’s been just over three hours since Ianto was… displaced. What d’we know so far?”

“His physical condition is still stable, no deterioration. Assuming that trend continues, then with intravenous feeding and regular physiotherapy sessions, I should be able to maintain him as he is indefinitely. He will lose some muscle tone over time, but it’ll be several weeks before anything like that becomes noticeable.”

“I don’t want to stay like this!” Ianto looked stricken.

“I’m not sayin’ you will, just that your body will be fine while we’re workin’ on solving your little problem.” Owen turned back to the rest of the team. “Ianto did try just floating back into his body, but it was unsuccessful.”

“Obviously. Otherwise my body would be sitting here with me inside it, having lunch, not lying down in the med bay.” Ianto was enviously watching the others eat. “I’m hungry.”

“You can’t be, you’re disembodied,” Jack objected.

“That’s discrimination. Just because I’m not currently in my body and therefore can’t eat, it doesn’t mean that my body can’t be hungry.” Ianto pouted again, feeling hard done by.

“I’ll hook up an IV line after lunch and get some nutrients into you,” Owen said, between bites of his sandwich. “Won’t be the same as eatin’, but it should help.”

“Thank you.”

“No need. It’s my job.”

“Tosh, any progress on the device?” Jack drained half his coffee in one gulp and then crammed the rest of his sandwich in his mouth.

“I’ve run a full series of scans on it, my computers are just collating the results, so I should know something about its structure and internal workings soon. Then I’ll have to figure out whether what it’s done to Ianto is what it’s meant to do, or just an unintended side effect of it being dropped onto something hard.” She glanced sheepishly across the table. “Sorry, Ianto.”

“That’s okay, Jack’s always saying I have a thick skull.” Ianto smiled wryly. “Seems he’s right.”



TBC in Part Two

Back to index


Chapter 2: Chapter 2

Author's Notes: Written for my own prompt, 'Torchwood, Ianto, "Ghosts are people too.",' at fic_promptly.

Summary: Will the team find a way to return Ianto to his body?


After lunch, everyone went back to their work, Owen doing things around the autopsy bay while keeping a close eye on Ianto’s body, Tosh studying the device, Gwen checking the computer database for any similar occurrences, and Jack being Ianto’s hands for a search through the files that had yet to be digitised, following the archivist’s instructions on which folders to extract from the cabinets for study. It was frustrating for Ianto, being unable to do anything himself.

“Someone else will have to feed Myfanwy and the inmates until I’m back to normal.” Ianto refused to consider the possibility that whatever had happened to him might not be reversible. The thought of being a ghost for the rest of his life was unbearable, and what would happen to him when his body eventually aged and died?

“Don’t worry.” Jack smiled at him. “We’ll all help, you just have to tell us what to do. I’ll feed Myf, Owen can take care of the Weevils, they’re used to him so they shouldn’t give him any trouble. Gwen can be responsible for feeding the team. We’ll manage until a solution is found; in the meantime, just try to stay positive. I wish I could give you a hug.”

“Me too,” Ianto admitted, “but I’d rather you didn’t try while I’m like this.”

“Yeah, I’m usually up for trying new things, but I really don’t want to know what it feels like to pass through a ghost.”

Ianto shuddered. “Trust me, you wouldn’t like it.”

“I’ll take your word for it.”


OoOoO


Time ticked slowly past, afternoon becoming evening, and yet no one showed any signs of leaving. The inmates got fed, Gwen ordered pizza and fetched more coffee for the team, Tosh continued to work on the device.

“While I appreciate everyone’s efforts, shouldn’t you all go home?” Ianto asked when eight o’clock rolled around.

“I’m a doctor, your body’s my responsibility while you’re not in it,” Owen said firmly. “I can kip on the sofa if necessary, but I’m stayin’ just in case I’m needed.”

“Owen, I didn’t know you cared!” Ianto smirked.

“Shut up.”

“Tosh?”

“I’m not leaving until I’ve figured out what this is and how it works.” Tosh prodded the silver hexagon, frowning at it before turning back to her screens.

Ianto looked over at Jack where he was leaning on the railings outside his office.

“Don’t look at me; I live here so I’m already home,” Jack told him.

“What about you, Gwen?” Ianto turned to the last member of the team. “Didn’t you mention that you and Rhys had plans for this evening?

“I could cancel. Rhys would understand.”

“There’s nothing you can really do here though,” Ianto pointed out, “and at least if you go home there’ll be one member of the team tomorrow who’s got some sleep and can keep their eyes open.”

Gwen sighed; Ianto had a point. “Well, alright, but only if you all promise to call me if you need me for anything.” She picked up her coat and her bag. “Goodnight all, I’ll see you in the morning.”

The cog door closed behind Gwen, and then there were four.

Well, three, a vacant body, and a ghost.


OoOoO


It was getting on towards midnight. Owen was asleep on the sofa while Jack and Ianto stood watching over Ianto’s body from the gallery around the autopsy bay. The machines monitoring his physical condition were beeping steadily and reassuringly, and if it weren’t for the various wires attached to him, and the IV tube, to outside eyes it would have seemed that Ianto was merely sleeping. For Ianto, seeing himself like this was a strange experience, completely different from looking in a mirror, or at a photograph.

“It’s odd seeing my body separate from the rest of me. I know it’s me, but it looks wrong somehow. I should get my hair cut; it’s getting untidy.”

“I like it a bit longer,” Jack protested. “Better for running my fingers through.”

Ianto glanced at his lover and smiled. “Is that so? Well, maybe I’ll wait a while then. Wouldn’t want to spoil all your fun.”

“You’re too kind.”

“I know. The sacrifices I make to keep you happy.”

“I keep you happy too, don’t I?”

Before Ianto could reply, they were interrupted by a flurry of movement behind them.

“Guys, I think I’ve worked it out!” Tosh bounded over from her workstation clutching the mystery device in one hand. She sounded excited.

“You know what that thing is?” Ianto raised one eyebrow, not quite daring to hope just yet.

“It appears to be designed to contain the consciousness, the essence, of a person in long-term cryo-storage, probably during long space voyages. Dropping it on your head must have activated it, but because you weren’t hooked up to it properly, instead of being stored in the device, you sort of bounced off. All I need to do is find a way of sucking you into it, like you should have been in the first place, and then I should be able to download you back into your body!”

“You make it sound so simple.” Ianto’s voice was as dry as the Sahara. Then his eyes widened in horror as a thought struck him. “Please don’t tell me you have to hit me over the head with that thing again.” He looked warily at the hexagon in Tosh’s hand. “I’m probably going to have a headache as it is.”

“No you won’t,” Owen scowled indignantly, joining them. Tosh’s excited voice had woken him, and he rubbed the sleep from his eyes, yawning and stretching the kinks from his back. The battered old sofa wasn’t the best place to sleep. “I’m an experienced Doctor, not some rookie; I’ve been givin’ you painkillers through your IV line.”

“Oh, that’s alright then, feel free to conk me on the head as much as you like since it won’t hurt!” Ianto truly was a master of sarcasm.

Tosh giggled. “No need for that,” she assured him. “I’m sure I can come up with a better method. Besides, first you need to be in here,” she tapped the consciousness container, as Ianto decided to call it.

“How are you going to do that?”

“Not quite sure yet, but I’m working on it.” Tosh wandered back towards her desk, a thoughtful expression on her face.

“See?” Jack beamed. “Told you there was no need to worry, I knew Tosh would come through for you.”

“I’m not out of the woods yet,” Ianto replied; it was still much too soon to get his hopes up.

It took Tosh another hour and a half, plus some help from Jack, to build an interface out of tech scavenged from the archives that would be capable of downloading Ianto into his body, then almost another half hour to construct a grid to capture Ianto’s ‘essence’ and funnel it through the consciousness container. Tosh had decided it would be safer to do everything in one go, suck Ianto into the container then zap him straight out into his body.

“I don’t want to risk you getting stuck in storage mode indefinitely. It might be set to store a person’s consciousness for a predetermined length of time, say the duration of the space flight it was created for. Better to just override the storage capability completely and simply use it as a conduit.”

She hooked up the device to Ianto’s head by means of a kind of skullcap she’d taken from another device, set the hexagon on the rolling tray table Owen used for his medical instruments, and spread out a latticework of wiring on the floor to one side of the table.

“I don’t like the idea of doing this without testing it first.” Jack sounded worried.

“As I’m the only one in this situation, I’m the only person it can be tested on, Jack,” Ianto pointed out. “Either it’ll work or it won’t.”

“And if it doesn’t?”

“Then it’s back to the drawing board.”

“You could get trapped, or sent somewhere else, or completely scrambled! It might even kill you!”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence,” Ianto commented wryly. “That makes me feel so much better about doing this.”

Jack had the grace to apologise. “Sorry. I just can’t help worrying about everything that could go wrong.”

“Doesn’t matter.” Ianto shrugged ghostly shoulders. “You didn’t say anything I wasn’t already thinking. Right, Tosh, where do you want me?”

“If you could hover just above the grid? Upright is fine.”

Ianto ‘walked’ across the tiles a couple of centimetres off the ground. He could have just drifted, but he preferred to maintain the illusion that everything was more or less normal, even if his colleagues could see right through him. Positioning himself over Tosh’s grid, he smiled tightly at his friend. “Ready when you are.”

“Owen, how is Ianto’s body?” Tosh glanced across at the medic.

“No change; vitals stable, all readings normal.”

“You’d better stand by with the crash cart, just in case.”

“Already set up.” Owen nodded towards a nearby equipment stand.

“Good. Step back a few paces, I don’t want either of you accidentally getting your essence sucked out and downloaded into Ianto.”

Jack smirked. “We do that all the time, it’s very enjoyable.”

Tosh blushed and Ianto rolled his eyes. “Jack, there’s a time and a place for innuendo; this is neither.”

“I was just trying to lighten the mood a bit.” Jack moved back away from the autopsy table and the equipment surrounding it as Owen did the same across from him.

“I appreciate the thought, but we need to focus on the task at hand, namely putting me back in my body.”

“Ready, Ianto?” Tosh asked, doing a final check on her equipment.

“As I’ll ever be!” Ianto tried to smile and sound upbeat, but inside, if ghosts could be said to have an inside, he was quaking in his shiny ghost shoes.

Tosh flicked several switches, checked the readouts on a series of dials, and pulled a lever.

A tingling sensation spread through Ianto, which was a weird experience due to his absence of a physical form, and then he seemed to be shrinking his eye-line getting lower and lower. He looked down to see that everything below his waist had already been sucked in by Tosh’s grid. In moments, all that was left was a disembodied and oddly stretched-looking head, then the grid sucked that in too. For Ianto, everything around him ceased to exist for a timeless moment before acutely uncomfortable waves of pins and needles started to race through his body. He opened his eyes, grimacing and squirming.

“Teaboy? Ianto? You okay there?”

Ianto squinted up at Owen, who was leaning over him; the Hub lights were too bright, he felt as though he were just waking up after a long sleep and his eyes needed to adjust to the light. He flung up one arm to shield them, or at least he tried to; the movement was sluggish, and his body felt ridiculously heavy.

“Fine, except it feels like there’s a swarm of ants crawling all over and inside me, and the lights are hurting my eyes.”

“Sorry. Jack, lower the lights a bit will you?”

The dazzling light dimmed to a more bearable level and Owen started to run a battery of tests, taking Ianto’s pulse and blood pressure, listening to his heart, shining a light in his eyes, which seemed especially unfair under the circumstances. All the time, the medic was firing questions at Ianto: Name, age, date and place of birth. “Do you know where you are?”

“In the Hub’s autopsy bay.”

“Do you remember what happened to you?”

“A seagull dropped alien tech on my head, and I’ve spent the last fourteen hours or so as a disembodied spirit. That’s probably why my body feels so heavy, I was getting used to being weightless.”

“How’s your head?” Owen prodded experimentally at the lump.

“OW! Sore, dammit!”

“Close your eyes.”

“Why?”

“Just do it.”

“Fine.” Ianto reluctantly complied.

“Can you feel this?” A sharp prick to Ianto’s arm.

“Yes.”

“And this?” A prick to his leg.

“Yep.”

“How about this?”

“No, you didn’t do anything.”

“Well spotted. Hold still while I scan you. Tosh, can you unhook him?”

A background humming noise he’d been only dimly aware of abruptly cut off and Ianto felt gentle hands removing something from his head. His body strangely felt less weighty with it gone. He flexed his fingers, chasing the crawling sensation out of his hands.

“Thought I told you to keep still,” Owen complained.

“Haven’t you finished the scan yet?”

“Hold your horses! I only just started it, had to wait until Tosh’s equipment was out of the way.”

“Well hurry it up, will you?”

“What’s your rush?”

“I’m starving; I haven’t had anything to eat since breakfast! There’s a tuna salad sandwich in the fridge with my name on it, a lemon brioche bun too, and I really need a coffee.”

Owen finished his scan, compared it to previous biometric scans of Ianto, and nodded in satisfaction. “Everything looks fine. Nice work, Tosh! Teaboy and his body successfully reunited.” He turned back to Ianto. “You can get up now, and I’ll have a coffee if you’re makin’ some.”

“I suppose I do owe you for your dedication in looking after my body. Coffee, Tosh?”

“No, thank you Ianto, I’d better not at this time of night or I won’t get any sleep.” Tosh was busily clearing up the storage device and its cobbled together attachments. “I wouldn’t say no to a cup of tea though, if it’s no trouble.”

“No trouble at all,” Ianto assured her. “It’s the least I can do to repay you for all your hard work. Thank you.” He dropped a kiss on the top of her head.

“Oi, don’t I get any thanks?”

“You’re getting coffee, what more do you want? Although I suppose I could give you a kiss too, if you insist.” Ianto took a step towards Owen, who hastily backed away.

“No, on second thought, the coffee will be fine. You’re gettin’ as bad as lover boy.”

Jack, who had been trying to work his way around all the machinery the other two were shifting, finally gave up and just climbed over the recently vacated autopsy table to envelop Ianto in a tight hug, nearly lifting his lover off his feet in his enthusiasm. “You’re solid again!”

“And very relieved to be, I can tell you. Hello Jack, I suppose you’ll be wanting coffee too?”

“It can wait; some things are more important. Welcome back.” He drew Ianto into a long, deep kiss.

“It’s very good to be back, Sir,” Ianto smirked, when Jack finally released his lips. “Being incorporeal was an interesting experience, but I definitely prefer having a physical body.”

“I definitely prefer you with a body too,” Jack grinned, squeezing Ianto’s arse.

Owen groaned and covered his eyes. “Looks like we can forget about hot drinks until tomorrow,” he told Tosh. “Jack’s not going to let go of the Teaboy for the foreseeable future.”

“I think you’re right,” Tosh giggled, hastily gathering her things. “Perhaps we should leave them to… get reacquainted.”

“Nicely put. Come on; I’ll drive you home.”

“Thanks, Owen.” Tosh followed Owen through the cog door, which rolled closed behind them.

Ianto and Jack were so busy with each other they never even noticed their friends had gone.


The End

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