It’s fair to say that Ianto Jones likes the Torchwood archives. Aside from the little room beneath Jack’s office, it’s his favourite place in the Hub, and it’s where you’re most likely to find him. Not that the team tends to visit him down here very often, with the exception of Jack, who seems to think of them as his and Ianto’s own private playground. The stacks and the filing cabinets have seen a lot, it’s probably a good thing they can’t talk; Ianto would be wearing a permanent blush, or a goofy smile, or quite possibly both. After all, Jack is nothing if not innovative.
That’s not the reason Ianto likes the archives though, or at least not the only reason.
When he first joined Torchwood Three, the Hub’s artefact storage area cum filing room had been in an atrocious state, objects and files crammed willy-nilly wherever they would fit. At the time, that had been a blessing, it had given Ianto a reason to spend most of his time down in the lower levels; no one ever questioned where he was going when he headed towards the stairs. It gave him the freedom he needed in order to care for Lisa without drawing undue attention to his activities.
For a time, after Lisa’s final death, the archives had become Ianto’s sanctuary, the attention required to sort everything into proper order a welcome distraction from his thoughts. Keeping busy had been the only thing that kept him from wallowing in grief, misery and depression, so he’d spent as much time down there as possible, often working late into the night. Over time though, even that had changed.
Simply put, the archives were fascinating. It wasn’t just the many and varied alien and human artefacts stored there, though they held their own fascination. More, it was the thousands of reports penned by the hundreds of former Torchwood agents, giving him insight into not only the organisation’s past but also the lives of the people who had worked there and the history of his native country.
Then too, of course, it was there that he first started to piece together the mystery of the enigma known as Jack Harkness, tracing the captain’s employment with Torchwood as far back as the turn of the previous century. Faded photographs showed him the unmistakeable face of his boss, unchanged in over a century, while mission reports bore a signature as familiar to him as his own handwriting.
So yes, Ianto liked the archives; he had a great many reasons to. But one reason stood out above all the others.
They felt like home.