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Hidden in plain sight

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Jack had been wandering down to Ianto's office in the the archives. It wasn't until he was standing in the small space that he remembered that today was his day off. He should have remembered it, since he was the one who had so loudly insisted on it.

Now that he was down here though, he had a chance to see the office in its entirety. It wasn't often that he'd taken much notice of its contents, beyond its occupant. If someone had asked him to describe it in detail, he'd struggle after desk and chair.

He looked around more carefully now. Filing cabinets lined one wall. Of course, how could he forget those? He'd been slammed up against them often enough. He opened the top drawer, looking inside and closing it again when he and saw nothing but files.

He wandered over to the desk and sat down in the chair. The desk itself was clear of any files or paperwork. Just a leather desk blotter and a short metal cup that held a variety of pens.

There was a post it note tacked to the bottom edge of the computer screen, listing a series of numbers and letters in varying order. Jack had no idea what it meant, but obviously Ianto did. It might as well have been in an alien language for all its significance to Jack.

He started on the desk drawers, looking to see if there was anything interesting there. It was rather like going through someone's underwear drawer and Jack felt no compunction about doing just that. He might not ever get the chance again.

The top drawer was full of neatly stacked stationery in one of those organiser trays. He picked out a pad of post it flags and examined them more closely. Who knew they made them in that many colours? He put them on the desk and closed the drawer. He'd take them back to his office later. He probably should have just asked Ianto to order him some, but he was here now and so were the post its. Besides, he was the leader of Torchwood. Who had time to be worried about ordering stationery?

He pulled open the second drawer. This showed more promise. He pawed through its contents. A birthday card from Tosh, a packet of sherbet lemons, a rock that looked like the one he'd collected from the beach on their last date, a dark blue silk tie. Jack didn't remember that one but the smoothness of it in his hands was very alluring. Perhaps he should take that back as well, and make sure Ianto wore it tomorrow.

A few more minutes exploration revealed a few other personal items, including a bottle of aftershave which Jack shamelessly splashed on his neck so that he could smell it for the rest of the afternoon, and several neatly penned files covering various matters and items to be arranged. When he'd have time to do any of the things listed was anyone's guess.

It seemed the drawer contained everything Ianto held dear to him. Still, Jack couldn't help but feel there was something missing. When he'd started his search he'd expected, or perhaps hoped, to find Ianto's diary. He knew he kept one, but its location was a mystery. Jack reasoned it had to be at the hub because Ianto didn't spend enough time at home to keep it up to date there.

He leaned back in the chair and stared aimlessly around the room. That was when he noticed the bookshelves lining the opposite wall. Getting up, he went over and inspected them more closely. Perhaps it was hidden there. He traced a finger along the spines, reading off the titles. There was a complete set of the Encyclopedia Britannica, dictionary, thesaurus, and a guide to Welsh grammar. Clearly this was the reference section. Another shelf boasted a beginner's guide to Japanese, along with several books on Japanese history and a book that upon flicking though its pages, appeared to be poetry, also in Japanese. Clearly Tosh had loaned him a few of those. There were more contemporary novels ranging from Dickens to Rankin, Orwell, Tolkien and Grisham. He'd rag on him later about the collection of Harry Potter novels. But there was still no diary.

He perused the final shelf and found a series of ancient looking tomes. They must have belonged to Torchwood predecessors. One particular title stood out amongst them and Jack's finger recoiled from its lazy trail across the spines.

Torchwood archival policies, 1988-1901, written by E. Holroyd.

Why would Ianto keep something like that?

Jack, having decided he'd seen enough, and wasted the better part of the morning down here when he should have been upstairs working, left the office. He even forgot to take the post its with him, so disturbed was he to see Emily's name after so long. He was also disappointed that his search hadn't turned up any sign of Ianto's diary.

Little did he realise how close he'd been. That contained within the cover of the very book he despised, was a hollowed out section when Ianto was keeping his diary hidden, cleverly concealed in the one spot he knew Jack wouldn't go near.

It turned out the old saying was true. You shouldn't judge a book by its cover.