builtofsorrow: (nmtb | christnukah)
[personal profile] builtofsorrow
title: This is Torchwood
characters: Martha Jones; the members of Torchwood Three
rating: PG
words: ~2,500
spoilers: This is really not canon, so not a whole lot, really, though there are references to 1x06 ('Countrycide'), and 1x07 ('Greeks Bearing Gifts').
disclaimer: I don't own any of it (or much else besides).
author's notes: Written for the [livejournal.com profile] lifeonmartha Ficafest, and yes, finished embarrassingly late. -hides- I claimed the prompts Christmas at Torchwood & Reference to Ancient Greece (which ended up being references to 300, but hey, that's set in Ancient Greece, so it totally counts, right?).
Many thanks to my usual lovelies: [livejournal.com profile] un_titled_love, [livejournal.com profile] lexiedoh, and [livejournal.com profile] trinsy_fics, who listened, encouraged, and betaed along the way.


It starts out quite innocently, in Martha's view. As is their wont at least a few times a week, the Torchwood lot have all crammed into an expectedly sticky booth at a local pub, and conversation's dwindled off, so she fills the silence with the obvious question.

"What's everyone got planned for the holidays?"

There's an awkward buzz in the air as they all look at her sceptically and then look away just as quickly, as though on a cue.

"Have I said something wrong?" she asks, her voice edged with laughter at the way they're all studiously avoiding looking at her: Ianto's begun fooling about with his mobile, Owen and Gwen have engaged each other in what appears to be a failed attempt at a surreptitious, under-the-table poking match, Jack's somehow managing to hum and drink at the same time, Tosh is pretending to be fascinated by the menu with peeling-laminate corners and several years' worth of finger-printed grime, and Martha's still not quite sure why they're all avoiding the question. "We're talking about Christmas," she persists. "Surely you've got something planned for Christmas."

Silence.

Tosh finally looks up from the menu: "This is Torchwood." The statement's accompanied by a shrug, and Martha's eyebrows rise in disbelief. She glances about, and they're all still avoiding her, so she turns a glare to Jack: "I am not working on Christmas, Jack Harkness, and you can be bloody well sure of it."

"If you please," Jack says with a slight smirk, taking another nonchalant sip from his glass. "I'll be sure and memo the aliens: quiet down on Christmas please; my doctor will be unavailable for all emergencies."

"Oi!" Owen cuts in, throwing a glare in Jack's direction. "I am more than capable of-"

"Yes, I'm sure that as long as we've not got to determine anyone's sex or cause of death, Owen will be quite able to handle things all on his own," Gwen cuts in, a teasing lilt to her voice. Owen doesn't even bother to look at her as his hand shoots out to give her a shove, and Gwen's voice collapses into laughter as she only just manages to maintain her seat at the edge of the booth.

----

'Would you like to hear my splendid news?'

Ianto, standing behind the counter of the Tourist Office, looks up from the file he's going through to find Martha leaning over the counter toward him. 'Do I have a choice?' he asks wryly, one side of his mouth tilting upward in a smirk.

Martha grins widely. 'Don't pretend you want one.'

Martha has leant back by now, but Ianto places his hands flat against the countertop and closes the distance until their noses are nearly touching. 'All right, Miss Jones, what is your splendid news of which I have the honour of being the recipient?'

'First recipient,' Martha says, still grinning hugely. 'And that's Doctor Jones, to you, Mister Jones.'

'First recipient then,' Ianto replies, his grin matching hers now. 'I am truly flattered, oh great and beautiful Doctor Jones.'

'I much prefer the sound of that. And as you should be.'

'Yes, well, the countertop edge is digging into my ribcage, so tell me before I pass out from the pain and you need to put that doctor bit of your name to good use for once.'

'Well,' Martha says, ignoring the jibe, voice dropping to a conspiratorial pitch, 'I have procured all of you an invitation to a Jones Family Christmas!'

Both of them have been attempting not to ruin the moment by dissolving into laughter, but it's Ianto who breaks first in the silence after her words. Martha crosses her arms, raising her eyebrow at him in a manner that's actually rather frightening, and Ianto pushes aside the passing thought that the look is going to come in quite useful if and when Martha ever becomes a mother in order to reply, 'I am truly flattered, Doctor Jones. And I for one would love to join your family for Christmas.'

'But?'

Ianto shrugs, still grinning. 'This is Torchwood.' He pauses to watch Martha roll her eyes before he asks, eyes lighting up, 'Can I be there when you tell the others?'

----

'We're just driving through the countryside,' Owen mutters mockingly, giving some gravel on the side of the road a vicious kick. 'We don't need to waste money on a flight, oh no, we'll just drive right on through the countryside to London, wasting time, but save a few pounds, of course, and no need to worry at all.'

'Owen, you have a gun,' Martha points out, somewhat exasperated. 'And while I am perfectly willing to admit that encounters with my family can be a formidable prospect, I might point out that firearms are entirely unnecessary accessories for Christmas Eve celebrations. Since you have got it though, I'm sure the grass and the birds are sufficiently intimidated.'

'And guns did a bloody lot of good last time,' Owen snaps, somewhat bitterly, folding his arms across his chest. 'And it's cold, and it's getting dark, and here we are, stranded out in the middle of God-knows-where-'

Ianto, looking up from his Blackberry, cuts him off, saying, 'Actually, we're on-'

'I know what road we're on, thank you,' Owen growls, arms still crossed, brows lowering as he notices Tosh, Martha, and Gwen exchanging amused glances. 'If you wanted to be helpful,' Owen adds, glaring at Ianto, 'you could have done your job and made sure we had enough fuel.'

'According to the gauge, the tank was full when we left,' Ianto says with a shrug, unperturbed by Owen's glowering. 'You might have noticed that it was getting low when we weren't trapped out beyond what are apparently the realms of civilisation.'

Ianto's voice is edged with amusement, and there's a suspiciously laughter-like chorus of coughing from where the female members of Torchwood are gathered about one another, but Owen doesn't deign to look at them. Instead, voice still low with frustration, he says, 'The gauge wasn't pointing to low until about five minutes before we got stranded out here; in case you don't remember, I pointed out that it suddenly dropped.'

'Oh, did I mention?' Jack cuts in cheerfully. 'The fuel gauge on the SUV has been a bit inaccurate lately.' Somewhat surprisingly, it's one of the first things he's said since the SUV sputtered to a halt; he's spent most of the past ten minutes leaning against the back of the vehicle, watching his team with a bemused expression.

'No, you have never mentioned that obviously unimportant little fact,' Owen replies, turning the full force of his glare on Jack.

'Oops,' Jack replies, grinning. His gaze darts away from Owen's as a car pulls up behind them, and they all squint against the glare of headlights. 'And here's the help we called for,' Jack says. 'No harm done.'

'See Owen,' Martha says, coming up beside him and slipping a hand into the crook of his elbow, 'nothing to worry about; in a couple of hours you'll be safely tucked about my Mum's dining room table, and the only thing you'll have to fear is death by Tish's cooking. Though I'm afraid your gun won't be nearly as useful for that.'

'This is Torchwood,' Owen mumbles. 'There's always something to worry about.'

----

Somewhere just outside the edges of London, Martha begins humming a Christmas carol under her breath.

'You know what's fun?' Owen asks abruptly. 'Silence.'

'Hush, Owen,' Tosh reproves softly. 'Have a little Christmas spirit.'

'I have Christmas spirit. It's just of the silent variety. Nicer that way.'

'I'm just warming up my voice for the carolling expedition later tonight,' Martha comments casually as she gazes out the window, seemingly distracted by the passing view.

A full eleven seconds go by -- Martha's counting -- before Gwen finally ventures, hesitantly, 'The- carolling expedition?'

'Mmm,' Martha agrees vaguely, though she's digging fingernails into the palm of one hand in her struggle to maintain a straight face and an even tone. 'Jones family tradition.'

This time there are twenty seconds of silence before Gwen clears her throat awkwardly, but before she -- or anyone else -- can say anything, Martha notes, still gazing out of the window determinedly, 'I suppose one of you is going to mention something about this being Torchwood now?'

'What?' Gwen asks, slightly confused.

Martha turns, grinning, 'You lot keep saying This is Torchwood like it's some sort of mantra, or you're Spartans, or something. Have you got it on t-shirts yet?'

'It's etched into our bracers and greaves,' Ianto says, after a slight pause. His grin matches her own as he continues, 'I expect you'll find some for yourself under the tree.'

'Ianto!' Jack protests. 'Now you've gone and ruined my surprise!'

Martha giggles, and Jack turns and winks at her, grinning widely.

Several minutes go by before Gwen, a look of slight trepidation still on her face, asks, 'So- we're not really going to be carolling, then?'

'No,' Martha says with a laugh. 'I dare say that with the combined factors of several members of my family habitually ingesting far too much wine and far too few Joneses being able to carry a tune, the lot of us would probably fail miserably at passing Christmas cheer, and would more likely be arrested.' She pauses, grinning, before she gives Gwen a slightly curious glance. 'Out of everyone though, I wouldn't have marked you out as the one who'd dislike carolling.'

Gwen shrugs noncommittally, but Owen says in a stage whisper directed toward Martha, 'Traumatic childhood experiences.'

Martha quirks an eyebrow.

'Ow!' Owen yelps, gripping his arm where Gwen has apparently pinched him. 'Damn it, Gwen!'

Gwen gives him a satisfied smirk, but Owen only glowers at her for only a moment before he looks once more toward Martha, and mouths, with a half-grin, half-smirk, 'Tell you later.'

----

They end the night gathered around the Christmas tree: Owen's on one end of the settee, Gwen up against his side, her head on his shoulder; Tosh is curled up in one of a pair of overstuffed chairs; Ianto's in its match; and Martha's perched on the arm of Ianto's chair. Jack's standing next to Martha, stance more than familiar to all of them -- feet spread shoulder-width, hands in his pockets, gaze directed forward at something seemingly distant.

Everyone else has gone to bed, trickling out one by one and slowly; Tish had been the last to surrender to the inevitable fact that no one could beat the members of Torchwood Three in keeping long hours, and it's going on ten minutes since she'd made her way upstairs and left them all in silence. Martha's actually fairly certain it's not technically night anymore, and she confirms this suspicion by reaching over and picking up Ianto's wrist so she can take a glance at his watch.

'Yes, it's obscenely late,' Ianto says, twisting his wrist and holding it up toward her so she can see better.

'I know,' Martha says, with a small groan. 'Mum's going to murder me if she finds out I didn't shoo you lot into bed before now.'

'That would be a shame.'

She laughs softly. 'Thank you; I quite agree.'

'So what's stopping you from playing the good hostess and letting us get a decent amount of sleep?' Ianto teases.

'Oh, hush,' Martha says, attempting a glare that dissolves into a grin after only a moment. The tone of her voice matches Ianto's own as she continues, 'And who needs sleep? This is Torchwood.'

There's laughter from above them, and both Ianto and Martha look up to see Jack glancing down at them, still chuckling, corners of his mouth curved upward and eyes crinkled up in amusement.

'We've got her sounding like one of us,' Ianto says, settling an arm about Martha's waist and matching Jack's grin.

'Your evil plan is working,' Martha says, with a laugh. 'Do I get the t-shirt now?'

'Evil plan?' Jack sounds indignant. 'You wound me, Martha Jones.'

'Even a god-king can bleed,' Ianto whispers loudly.

'You two are ridiculous,' Jack says as Ianto and Martha both laugh, though the note of annoyance in his voice is belied by the fondness in his expression. He casts a glance around the room before changing the subject entirely and saying, 'You're right though, Martha; I think we should probably all settle in for the night.'

'How true,' Martha says, sighing a bit, as she and Ianto both stand.

'We're going to have to wake these three,' Jack continues, 'unless you'd like to carry them.'

'It's up to you, really,' Martha says, casting a sidelong glance at Ianto.

'We're with you, Sir,' Ianto deadpans, returning Martha's gaze.

'For Torchwood-' Martha continues.

'For freedom-' Ianto adds.

'How many times have you two watched that film?' Jack asks, laughing helplessly.

'You don't seem to be having any trouble recognising the references,' Ianto observes with a grin.

Jack's already standing above Tosh's sleeping form when he says, still grinning, 'Just help me wake these three up.'

As they head toward Gwen and Owen on the settee, Martha can't resist murmuring to Ianto, 'What would a free man do?'

----

Everyone's shown to their respective sleeping quarters for the night, and Martha's just about to retreat to Tish's bedroom for what she knows will be only a few hours of restless sleep, but Jack takes hold of her arm before she can make her way completely out into the corridor after bidding him goodnight.

'Martha-' he begins, and she's not entirely sure whether or not the emotions that seem to be warring in his expression are tricks of the light. There's a sort of intense vulnerability about him, and it's not something she sees a lot of in him.

Placing her hand over his where it's still holding her arm in a loose grip, she smiles encouragingly, though she's not sure he can see her in the semi-darkness, and asks, gently, 'Yes, Jack?'

His eyes close for a second, and then he's gazing at her steadily, lips curved in his signature grin, and he says, 'Thank you, Martha. For this holiday. For everything.'

'You're more than welcome,' Martha replies, returning his smile. She stays quiet for a moment before she murmurs, 'Goodnight then, Jack.'

'Goodnight, Martha.' He slides his hand down her arm and picks up her hand, entwining his fingers with hers and squeezing gently. 'And happy Christmas.'

She briefly tightens her own grip on his hand before standing on tiptoe, kissing his cheek softly, and whispering, 'Happy Christmas, Leonidas.'

And releasing his hand, she slips swiftly out of the room and into the corridor, Jack's laughter echoing softly about her.

Date: 2008-01-22 06:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] seularen.livejournal.com
*dies of cute* ohh the patented torchwood snark! i loves it.

Date: 2008-01-22 11:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] builtofsorrow.livejournal.com
-grins- It's lovely, isn't it? Makes them so much fun to write. I'm glad you liked it!

Date: 2008-01-22 11:52 am (UTC)

Date: 2008-01-22 08:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] marsgirl101.livejournal.com
Oh, I loved this! Any Torchwood fic with minimal angst is lovely in my book. Plus, Martha, and Ianto totally got to talk!

Date: 2008-01-22 12:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] builtofsorrow.livejournal.com
Yeah, I love fic with minimal angst as well, but somehow a lot of things I write turn out angsty (though I haven't really written Torchwood before). It was really fun to be able to switch it up a little. And Martha and Ianto are so much fun to have in my head. :P Thank you so much, and I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

Date: 2008-01-22 08:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] torn-eledhwen.livejournal.com
Very enjoyable!

Couple of Britpicks: you've got Owen talking about saving a couple of dollars, but it should be pounds. And he also says he knows what "highway" they're on - just "road" would be better. :)

Date: 2008-01-22 10:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] builtofsorrow.livejournal.com
Oh my gosh. -headdesk- I can't believe I messed up currency, of all things. And very good to know about 'road'. Thank you.

And I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Date: 2008-01-22 08:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] safebox.livejournal.com
Bwee! This is wonderful! Ianto and Martha hanging out is made of win, and yay for all of the snark and 'this is Torchwood'-ing, hee. A lovely start to my morning, thank you!

Date: 2008-01-22 10:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] builtofsorrow.livejournal.com
-grins- Thank you; I'm so glad you like it! And yeaaah. In my personal canon, Lisa and Adeola were really good friends, so Ianto kind of freaks out the first time he sees Martha, but then they end up bonding over the connection and become what I wrote here. They're so fun and adorable though; like I told someone else, I love having them in my head.

Date: 2008-01-22 07:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] madelf.livejournal.com
Okay, this is cute. Good cute. They're like a bunch of teenagers with the bickering and the attitude. I like the sense of team spirit that you created. It's nice that they all seem to be friends and getting along.

Date: 2008-01-25 03:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] builtofsorrow.livejournal.com
Thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. And yeah, I'm really loving how close they all seem this series, so I'm glad I was able to capture that a bit.

Date: 2008-01-22 10:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] foxmonkey.livejournal.com
This is fabulous. :-)

Date: 2008-01-25 03:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] builtofsorrow.livejournal.com
-griiin- Thank you!

Date: 2008-01-22 11:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] un-titled-love.livejournal.com
I know I told you after I first read it, but I totally love this. Adore it, more like. It's brilliant; the voices are totally spot on, and it's fantastic.

You're amazing, my dear. ♥

Date: 2008-01-25 03:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] builtofsorrow.livejournal.com
Seriously, I'm so glad. I was so nervous, so I'm really happy you like[d] it. :D

And you are too. ♥!

Date: 2008-01-23 12:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] corruptinnocent.livejournal.com
Ooooh happy fic! And someone bonded with Ianto... too cute. Way too damn cute. :)

Date: 2008-01-25 04:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] builtofsorrow.livejournal.com
Indeed! I hardly ever write happy fic; it was a nice change. And I love the thought of Ianto and Martha being really good friends (I'm crossing my fingers). I'm so glad you liked it!

Date: 2008-02-04 08:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sheepfairy.livejournal.com
Oh, this made me so happy! All their bantering and interaction is just lovely, and I like how sweet and familial it is.

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