Pairing/Characters: Pretty strictly Jack/Ianto, Gwen on the side
Spoilers: Technically, up to Exit Wounds. Though the actually peices jump around a bit in time.
SUMMARY: Five things that make Ianto happy. Title pretty much covers it.
A/N: No, I wasn't even prompted. I was just thinking about that format and I wanted to write it. I'm weird, it's okay. I'm also a feedback h0ar, feel free to enable. *shamelessly bats eyelashes*
A/N2: Now Edited For Accuracy!! Big thanks to in_the_bottle for the Brit-knowkedge and corrections!!
Five Things that Make Ianto Jones Happy
One: Freshly pressed suits
A lot of people think that Jack Harkness is harsh. That he’s cold and unrelenting and vicious. And they’d be right about that. Jack is every single one of those things, and on several occasions has been all those things to Ianto. And it’s not been a picnic. Jack has hard eyes when he’s like that, and Ianto far prefers Jack’s eyes laughing or lustful. Not cold. That shade of blue was never meant to be cold.
But it’s his job, and if there’s one thing Ianto will never begrudge Jack, it is his job. Because they both understand the duty to a higher purpose. Torchwood becomes more than just a name or an office, it becomes a mission statement. Torchwood is about harsh realities and cold analysis. It’s about unrelenting devotion to the human race and about their vicious, primal protection of Cardiff. Ianto admires Jack very much for embodying those particular traits of Torchwood so that his team doesn’t have to.
Jack doesn’t like his team to feel so disconnected because he values their humanity above all. There’s valor in that. Honor. Jack is an old time hero, being the monster so that others don’t have to. It took a while but now, the Welshman gets that. But that’s a damn heavy burden to bear and it’s not always healthy for Jack to do. So Ianto provides moments for his Captain, snatches of time, when they step down into Jack’s bunker and all they do is breathe and hold each other. Yes, this leads to other things. This is Jack Harkness we’re talking about. But before all that… when Jack can stop being everything to everyone and just be everything to Ianto, that’s his time off. He’d been foolish not to be grateful. And even if he doesn’t always express it the way Ianto would like him to, his lover still knows that he appreciates him. Sometimes. He has his little ways of showing it.
So when, one fine April morning, Ianto wakes and finds that the standing wardrobe is just slightly open, he knows Jack’s left him another little surprise, which makes him chuckle. Surprises are one of Jack’s favorite things. Hanging there in the wardrobe for him is one of his favorite suits. Freshly pressed. Considering Jack would have had to get up extra early, make his own coffee, and drive over to Ianto’s personal dry cleaners to get it, Ianto can assume that this was not a spur of the moment gift. As well as that the real gift is not the suit. The real gift is the time Jack took to plan out the surprise and the silent hint to maybe start keeping clothes in Jack’s closet.
Yes, Jack Harkness is an out and out bastard most days. It’s when you blink though, when you close your eyes, that he’s a hero. Most of the world walks around with their eyes closed anyway, so they get the very best parts of Jack without even knowing it. But for those close to him, the trick is in learning to walk blind and to trust that whatever the problem is, he’ll sort it out. Gwen may have issues with that, but Ianto doesn’t. Not when there are freshly pressed suits waiting for him and gorgeous Captains to be held every night.
It’s not always about seeing, which he sometimes wishes Gwen understood. But then sometimes he doesn’t, because maybe if she did he wouldn’t have what he did with Jack. But maybe he would. It doesn’t matter terribly because Gwen has a pathological need to understand the inner workings of absolutely everything, and closing her eyes scares the shit out of her. But Ianto’s walked off cliffs blindfolded before, and he’s landed safe in Jack’s arms. That sorted that and now it’s going to be him and Jack for as long as he can make it so. And that suit hanging in the wardrobe makes him happy because it extends the timeline just that much further.
Two: Hunting Weevils
Contrary to popular belief, “Weevil hunting with Ianto” is not a quaint euphemism Jack invented for sex. If Jack was trying to say “I’m going to go shag my boyfriend” he would say it. Well, okay, maybe he would simply raise his eyebrows suggestively, as he loves to do. Or maybe he would just smile and glance significantly at Ianto across the Hub. Regardless, he wouldn’t say “Weevil Hunting.” Jack is weird, but he’s not that weird. Or not that kind of weird at any rate.
When Jack and Ianto are out weevil hunting, it’s not sexual. This awkward line of questioning comes from (one guess, just one guess) the ever curious PC Gwen Cooper. Ianto frowns at her and asks “Is that sexual for anyone?” And she blushes and stammers and Ianto offers to make her some tea in an effort to make them both a lot more comfortable. Poor girl, Ianto feels for her.
Honestly though, weevil hunting? That’s gross. Ianto isn’t a prude by any stretch of the term; he’s very willingly tried things with Jack that would have the ever-so-proudly-kinky Owen Harper blushing to the tips of his overly styled hair. Prude? Hardly. Vanilla? Not Ianto Jones, no sir. But chasing unattractive, potentially lethal aliens? Not. Arousing. Fun? Definitely. Good for getting the adrenaline going? Absolutely. Do they shag afterwards? Well… what activity don’t they shag after? (You're thinking: Shagging! And you’re wrong.)
But the actual weevil hunting has little to do with it. They could just go for a jog together and be willing to paw at each other like horny teenagers afterwards. Jack’s like that. Ianto too, most days. Jack said to him once, when they were alone and under a warm spray of water in Ianto’s bathroom: “You do this thing to me, and it’s like I’m fifteen again.” (Ianto made a joke about puppy love which Jack countered with one about ‘doggy style’.) Ianto thinks Jack is horny like a fifteen year-old all the time but doesn’t really say anything to that effect. Jack knows.
He also knows that weevil hunting for them isn’t foreplay, or a date, or some twisted double entendre, “the thrill of the chase” or whatever tawdry crap Gwen reads about in The Welsh Woman. Ianto and Jack are not that complicated. Weevil hunting is fun for them because they like to be together and they both like to run.
God, Jack loves to run. He loves to take off like a shot, legs propelling him forward as his lungs damn near burst with strain. He loves to feel the sweat drip down his spine as he rockets across a clearing or side street. Ianto loves the feeling of his feet hitting solid ground, the slam of the earth meeting his shoes and just being there for him to run on. He loves the wind across his sweaty forehead and the way his arms pump up and down, back and forth, like the pistons of an engine.
And when they finally catch that weevil, it’s like winning. Like he’s back in fifth form games again and he’s just won a rugby match or capture the flag. And it’s simple again. Win/loose, chase/catch, alien/Torchwood. Shit makes sense after a good run. They’ll put the weevil in the back of the SUV and then they’ll hold each other.
They stand in the tight circle of each other’s arms and feel their hearts beat so hard their chests thud painfully with it. Pressed so tight that after a while, their hearts beat together, pulsing towards each other, like their heartbeats are hugging too. Jack inhales his clever, gorgeous lover’s smell and smiles, while Ianto can only hear the drag of air in to and out of Jack’s lungs. And it’s not sexual. It’s simple. And it’s beautiful. And it makes them happy.
Gwen and Ianto are different in a lot of ways. A lot of different ways. She’s a brat, he’s a doormat. He is polite, while she burps like she’s in surround sound and doesn’t apologize. Or so much as take the time to look apologetic. He cooks like a master, and to even assume Gwen can make something other than toast is mildly hilarious. She jumps right in, he prefers to wade. She had sex with Owen, and Ianto thinks that that is a mortal sin. Or should be. Ew. But when all is said and done, when the Hub’s cleaned for the day and Myfanwy’s fed, and all the rest is silence… they are both Welsh. And they are both violently, fanatically, unerringly passionate about Rugby.
They could both rattle off the stats of every single one of the Welsh National Team members. For the last six years. Without pause for thought. And this they do not speak of to anyone else. Not their partners (because Rhys prefers football and Jack couldn’t care less), not their colleagues (Owen would ruin it and Tosh hates sport), not their neighbors and when it comes down to it, not anyone but Ianto and Gwen.
And they work not twenty minutes away from the bloody Millennium Stadium! It’d be a crime not to go see matches when they could. So every time they can spare the hour and a half (or France in town) they disappear for an hour or two and sneak out of the Hub. They slip down to the changing rooms and pick up their “Cymru Am Byth” hats that Gwen designed and Ianto paid to have specially made, and sneak out the back door. Together, they navigate the back streets of Cardiff to avoid the CCTV cameras and abuse their Torchwood clearance shamelessly to get front row access.
Ianto buys the beer and Gwen handles the snacks. Ianto sheds his jacket, vest and tie; rolls his sleeves up and undoes the top button of his shirt. Gwen puts her hair up in an unattractive messy bun under her hat. They grunge down and they get as pissed as they dare, and they cheer like the bloody world is ending.
Gwen is loud and she knows this, but Ianto can out scream her any day on the sidelines of a rugby pitch. He’ll grab onto the sides, rocking back and forth, going red in the face, absolutely insane for his team to get just one more tri. Gwen loves Ianto like this, because she can understand him utterly. For a brief period of time, she is inside the mysterious Ianto Jones’ head and it’s brilliant. Ianto loves Gwen just as much when she’s flipping off the (bloody fucking blind) ref and making rude gestures to the fans across the stands. Once she flashed the other team so her boys could get just two more yards ahead. He loves Gwen at rugby matches because she’s simple, and she knows what he’s talking about and they’re just being Welsh.
They don’t think about Jack. Jack is so completely irrelevant when Wales’ national record is on the line. Nothing, not Torchwood or that stupid remark a certain doctor made about Gwen’s tits, and easily not the argument Jack simply shrugged off, matters when their team gets onto that pitch. It’s war and it’s religion and it’s Wales. It’s the single most important thing on Earth. Yes, Earth.
Because next to Gwen, Ianto can be the funny, sociable fifteen year-old he was when he started playing. And by Ianto’s side, Gwen can be the grimy, vicious thirteen year-old she was when she started playing. But only there. And only with each other. And without this to connect them, when it rains weevils or spaceships or 1940s pilots that fuck up absolutely everything, they wouldn’t know each other and their missions would fail. Rugby holds them together, because it makes them happy.
Four: Black and White
When he was little, maybe five or six, Ianto’s father started the tradition of walking to the video store (bad hip and all) to rent the classics so that he could watch them with Ianto. Black and white, never color. He said that made it better, that color made movies cheap. Ianto didn’t really agree until he was older.
Every Friday, without fail, there would be at least one new movie for them to watch. The often ignored TV would be put to use and around sunset, when the shop had closed, Ianto would snuggle up to his father and fall in love with yet another silver screen masterpiece. His Da would rhapsodize about the costuming, always breathtaking, and Ianto would go to bed afterwards, closing his eyes and pretending to be the people he’d seen on the screen. As he drifted off he was Tony Curtis chasing after Marilyn Monroe, he was Bogart courting Bergman. Glamorous. Like he thought he’d never, ever be.
And in a way, he was right. ‘Torchwood Team Member’ is probably the least glamorous job you could ever have. Scrubbing alien guts off the walls, putting up with Owen and getting the shit kicked out you on a regular basis. No, not really a magical fairy land, his job. Most would assume that his job is probably the most glamorous of them all. It’s… it’s not the actual job though. There is a certain something about it (Jack) that makes them feel like rock stars at the end of a long day. The work they’re doing is good work and that makes them all feel like good people sure, but its Jack’s infectious swagger and humor that makes them feel important. Sometimes that’s not what matters, but sometimes it is. Regardless, Ianto loves it. And he’d missed those films.
His father passed on when Ianto was ten. Such an age to go from being absorbed in the past to being forcefully battered into the present. The orphanage, needless to say, did not show black and whites on Friday nights, nor take trips to the Electro to watch Saturday morning cartoons. Pity.
When he got into Uni the first thing he bought with the money from his first job was a small tele so that he could watch his films again. But none of his friends or lovers, or boyfriends or girlfriends were ever particularly interested in them. In fact he got called weird more often than not for saying he liked old films. Some girls found it romantic but they usually fell asleep when the time came to actually watch them. Out of a wish to have his childhood memories preserved, he didn’t bring out his collection much after that happened one too many times.
Lisa was very bold in her distaste for old films. She thought black and whites were deathly dull. This comment was usually followed by Ianto holding their intertwined hands up and raising a pointed eyebrow. Dull… well, if that’s how you feel… Get back here, you! They hadn’t watched many movies at all, come to think. Music was more the topic they connected on. They loved to go dancing at clubs all night and laugh until they couldn’t breathe. And because for the most part her attention span closely resembled that of a gold fish, Ianto didn’t want to bother making her suffer through one of his favorite past times.
She offered once or twice, but it was clear that she would not enjoy it. Even though it made him a little sad, he understood it. His favorite old films had very little adrenaline pumping action, and lots of character development and not a lot of nudity, which made for a movie that didn’t interest most people he knew. He was a man out of his time in that respect. But it made sense that another man out of his time might share his passion for that certain kind of motion picture.
On their first date after his return, Ianto was a little apprehensive about getting into the car blindfolded. He’d said flat out that he wouldn’t at first. But Jack had done some good old fashioned convincing and really how does one refuse after that? The drive to their destination was short and Jack held his hand the whole time. He had never, ever expected to be at the drive in. He had not even been aware that Cardiff had a drive in. But Jack always found a way to show him new things.
Jack grabbed a blanket from the back seat and they camped out on a wide lawn, scattered here and there with other couples on dates. So normal. The opening credits for Casablanca began playing and it was possible Ianto’s jaw actually hit the ground. He couldn’t have stopped himself talking along with every word if he tried. It did not surprise him that Jack knew every word as well but it apparently surprised Jack that Ianto loved Casablanca as well as he did. They whispered softly to each other in the language of a time gone past.
A franc for your thoughts.
… In America they'd bring only a penny, and, huh, I guess that's about all they're worth.
Well, I'm willing to be overcharged. Tell me.
I can't fight it anymore. I ran away from you once. I can't do it again. Oh, I don't know what's right any longer. You have to think for both of us. For all of us.
…All right, I will. Here's looking at you, kid.
I wish I didn't love you so much
Apparently you think of me only as the leader of a cause. Well, I'm also a human being. Yes, I love her that much.
With the whole world crumbling, we pick this time to fall in love.
…Yeah, it's pretty bad timing. Where were you, say, ten years ago?
Ten years ago? Well, let's see... Oh, yes, I was having a brace put on my teeth. Where were you?
…Looking for a job.
I remember every detail. The Germans wore gray, you wore blue.
By the time the ending music had crescendo’d and they’d seen the beginning of a beautiful friendship, Ianto had scooted between Jack’s legs and cuddled his back to his Captain’s chest. Jack’s coat wrapped around them both and Ianto hummed along to the main theme tune. It was all very romantic and ‘silver screen’ and Ianto’d never done anything like this before purely because he’d never met a man quite like Jack before.
(And when he over-thinks it, that is not the sort of thing he typically does in public! What possessed him is hard to say. But even in over analysis he just ends up reasoning that he’ll never meet a man like Jack again, and there’s no point in wasting a romantic Jack.)
“I never knew you liked Casablanca.”
“There’s a great many films I like.”
“I wonder how many we have in common.”
“If your taste is generally this good, I suspect quite a few.”
When Jack shows up at his flat two nights later with the DVDs of “Brief Encounter” and “Some Like it Hot”, Ianto literally can not believe his luck. And it’s not every Friday night without fail, but it is Thursdays indefinitely (pending alien invasion). So for one or two hours at a time, Thursdays indefinitely (pending alien invasion), Ianto curls up and gets to be small again, and he gets to go to bed dreaming of people he will never be. This time though, he has a little company.
At Uni, Ianto's third year schedule had been a mess. Understatement. It had been an abomination. None of the right classes, not even the right area of study, none of them at any of the times that he'd specially requested, and half of them looking un-negotiable. He'd spent half his break at the Schdeduling Office breaking down the Admin's doors and whinging until he got his way. Not the best time he'd ever had. But eventually, he got all of his desired courses on his schedule and all his mistake courses off. Well... all but one. That last one couldn't be changed. Although Ianto was very suspicious that it wasn't so much a couldn't as it was a wouldn't. He couldn't be too upset. If he'd been in that office, he wouldn't have wanted to see that time table again either. So Ianto had had to endure singing class.
It was a basic course, no advanced musical theory or end of semester preformances required. Everyone would be crap, not just him. And he’d rather assault his ears for an hour or so than be painfully embarrassed elsewhere. So he’d gathered up his nerve and actually showed up to the first class. There were eight others there. A small class but they all assured him they were pretty awful, and that made him feel better. And then the piano accompanist had walked in. Lisa. Classically trained, tall, and fucking hot like he’d never seen a woman be before and confident.
That’s why he stayed. That’s why he started singing in the shower and practicing non-stop until his voice was actually quite good. Remarkable, the teacher had even said once. Ianto was a goner. He fell in love with a woman and an activity and they blended together so wonderfully that it was ecstasy being around either of them. He sang for her and about her and she played for him and about him. And then they began working together and played music about that. And he had wrapped his heart up in eighth notes and given it to her.
When she died… was killed, he did not sing for a very long time. What is there to sing about at the end of an era? All his favorite songs reminded him of her, because they had been her favorites too. It was the end of two all consuming love affairs, all at once. He lost his voice, which hurt more than he really cared to think about. And for a very long time he didn’t want to think about why Jack always got songs stuck in his head, because he just wasn’t ready for that.
It was hard, at first, to be around Jack because he reminded him of so many songs. So many fun, old songs that Ianto would only think about humming when he was positive he was alone. When you’re near, there’s such an air of spring about it. I can hear a lark somewhere begin to sing about it. There’s no love song finer. But how strange the change from major to minor, every time we say goodbye.
It was a long road, to work himself up to singing about Jack. Laborious, to set new memories into old tunes. And then, Jack had up and left, and the music he’d worked so hard to gain back slipped away from him again. Silence. He’d learned a long time ago to be comfortable with it, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t painful to return to.
Somewhere in the Himalayas, though, hiking through days and days worth of forest, he’d started to hum to himself. He hadn’t even realized at first, it was so quiet. But it felt good. He’d never actually considered that it could be just himself and a song. He’d had a lot of time to think that over, what it meant to be able to make yourself happy, instead of letting others do the trick. Then Jack had come back, guns-a-blazing as was only to be expected. Ianto fought very hard not to bust into song right then. At last, the skies above are blue…
He hasn’t sung for Jack in the shower just yet, only hummed a few bars. But he’s taken out his sheet music again, and looked it over. And he’s sung to himself, which is perhaps the most important part. Because he’s binding his song, his voice, to himself this time. Beyond anything else, Ianto wants his music to be tied to his heart. He can’t loose that again. He will share it with Jack when the time is right, but that is not for some time.
Maybe they will end up singing duets together, inventing outrageous dance routines because they’re feeling silly and maybe Jack will discuss the merits of Gershwin vs Porter with him. But first, Ianto’s going to sing to himself and figure out what exactly his song means. He’ll let the notes vibrating in his throat, the lyrics sliding past his lips, start to make him happy again. He’ll relearn it, bit by bit putting it together. And maybe when he finds that once more, he can sing to Jack for real and see how it goes. But first, it has to be his. First, he needs to let it make him happy. The end is where he starts from.