eter stood, staring somewhat forlornly out of the wall-length window of the boardroom. Below him, milling about the main floor of the Torchwood base, he could see Toshiko at one of the work stations, Gwen and his brother, Nathan, peering intently over her shoulder as she spoke animatedly to them, gesturing to one of the many computer screens she had about her.
Ianto was still in Jack’s office. They’d been ensconced in there for at least a half hour already and Peter got the distinct impression that Jack was going to take his time addressing Ianto’s display of insubordination. The meeting to discuss the Sylar situation had come to an abrupt halt with Ianto challenging both Jack’s authority and Torchwood’s policies. With his abilities to both read the minds and now emotions of those about him, Peter knew this wasn’t an everyday occurrence. And to be honest, from what he knew of Ianto already, this wasn’t the type of behaviour to which the Welshman was prone to. He was more likely to bite his tongue and spike your coffee than cause any kind of aggravated situation.
Peter found his eyes drifting downwards, peering towards the Captain’s office in the hopes that he’d be able to catch even a snippet of what was going on inside. He neither heard nor felt a thing. Peter sighed heavily. Ianto was keeping his emotions under iron control, and with Jack being able to block his mind all but naturally, he knew he’d have a hard time trying to eavesdrop without making his intentions clear.
“You’d better be careful with him.” A voice called from behind him.
Peter jumped slightly, “Sorry?” he asked, watching as Owen stepped into the room.
“Ianto,” the doctor elaborated. “You’d better be careful with him.”
“You do.” Owen moved to retake his seat at the boardroom table, his gaze intent upon Peter who could only frown at him. A wash of emotion- worry, concern, irritation and distaste- rolled over him from Owen’s direction and Peter found himself turning to more fully face the other man. He kept the frown as he contemplated the notion that he was being warned.
“Is this about today?” He asked, somehow knowing that Owen would understand which part of today he was referring to. The doctor nodded.
“Did you know?” Again, Owen nodded his head.
“Before or after today?”
“I knew something was wrong with him,” Owen said, “just not…” he trailed off but Peter understood.
“Why didn’t you say anything?” He asked, moving away from the window.
“In case you missed the memo, you’ll find that me and Tea-boy down there don’t exactly get on well.”
“And yet you care enough to warn me off?” Peter smiled but without any great deal of amusement. He could feel the warning in Owen’s words and found himself feeling strangely touched by the intensity of the emotion. He and Ianto had known one another all of two minutes, but already the level of the connection they shared was apparent to those about them.
“I’m just telling you to be careful with him,” Owen said, as if it would elucidate his reasoning.
“I see,” Peter replied. They watched each other for a quiet moment before Peter found words enough to answer the unspoken question.
“I’ll look after him.” Peter promised; his words soft though he kept his eyes locked with Owen’s.
“For how long?” The doctor asked, folding his arms.
“For as long as he lets me.” Peter answered.
“Or until you leave,” Owen muttered, “again.”
“I didn’t… I don’t have a choice in this.”
“You did. And you do. You chose not to stay, not to fight to stay. From what I’ve seen you’re quite adept at evading capture, despite our best attempts.”
“This isn’t…” Peter looked away. “This thing, between us, it’s just as new and scary for him as it is for me.” Owen said nothing. “I want to look after him, I want to be with him…” He drifted off, unsure as to why he was explaining himself to Owen, to a man claiming to dislike Ianto even when this very gesture proclaimed otherwise.
“He’ll look after you too.” Owen said and Peter nodded.
“It’s what he does,” he agreed and they shared an unspoken agreement that Ianto needed to learn to show himself the same level of care.
Peter turned towards the window again, slanting his gaze towards Jack’s office. They still weren’t out. He wondered if he should go down. Though what he’d say, or do, for that matter he wasn’t entirely sure.
“I wish I knew what was going on in there,” He said, almost to himself. Behind him, Owen snorted as if amused. Peter turned to face him.
“Can’t you just slip in unnoticed or something?”
“What do you- oh,” Peter grinned, “you mean use my invisibility?”
“Yeah,” Owen agreed. “I’d like to see how that works-,”
Peter felt the colour drain from his face at the doctor’s words.
“-maybe do a few tests? I know I’ve got nothing on this genetics professor but…” Owen trailed off. He watched as Peter stumbled forward, reaching to grip at the back of Jack’s chair as if it were the only thing keeping him from collapsing to the floor.
“You could just say no.” Owen commented, raising his eyebrows as he openly stared at Peter. It was the only sign of concern he permitted himself.
“No,” Peter muttered, slipping round to sit in the chair. “I mean no, it’s okay. Just… what you said…” Peter reached out with his mind, touching it nervously against Owen’s so as to gauge the other man’s thoughts. He’d no idea what powers Sylar had accumulated after months of massacring others of their kind and reaping their abilities, but what’s to say one of them wasn’t an ability to disguise oneself, to impersonate another and make everyone else around you see what you wanted them too?
Peter was almost expecting to hear Owen contemplating his immediate demise, but instead Owen’s thoughts revolved around him. The man was thinking about him, wondering if he was alright, if he should act more concerned, if he could stop feeling so concerned, if he and Ianto had actually-
“What about it?” Owen was frowning now.
-he pulled abruptly away from Owen’s mind, feeling his face regain its previously lost colour with a blush.
“I beg your pardon?” He coughed slightly, trying not to think on the direction of the other man’s thoughts.
“What was it I said?” Owen asked, cocking his head curiously.
“Oh, um… Sylar said the exact same thing to me once,” he explained, not quite meeting the other man’s eyes, “before he tried to cut my head open.”
Owen suddenly grinned. “Good sense of humour then.”
Peter gaped at him, “The man is a psychotic killer, I do not think anything about him is humorous in the least.”
“Hey, I’m just saying,” Owen shrugged, still with a grin, “Never underestimate the power of boredom.”
“Your sense of humour needs an upgrade.” Peter scoffed only to see Owen’s eyes widen fractionally, his smile fading.
“What?” He immediately asked. Owen opened his mouth but was stopped from replying by the sounds of approaching voices. Peter stood from Jack’s chair and made his way somewhat skittishly towards the unoccupied seat beside Owen. He felt the awkward roll of emotion as Owen picked up his pen and began to gnaw upon the end of it.
“Ask your boyfriend,” was all he said when Peter pressed the question. He got a vague impression of metal and screaming, the words ‘You will be upgraded’
echoing on loop between them till Jack and Ianto stepped back into the room, the rest of the team and Nathan in tow.
- - -End.
- - -