Characters: Jack/Ianto, Gwen/Rhys, Owen, Tosh
Word Count: ~4250
Disclaimer:I don’t own Torchwood or anything you recognise.
Authors Notes: Written for Jantolution Challenge 16 – Stress & Relaxation.
Summary: Ianto is having a bad week, Rhys gets kidnapped by some ex-UNIT soldiers and I pick on the Welsh Rugby team.
Another Day in Paradise
When Ianto woke up that morning, he found no indication that today was going to be a bad day. He allowed his alarm to beep three times at 6.35 before hitting the snooze button. He then climbed out of bed exactly seven minutes later- three minutes before it was scheduled to start beeping again- and reset the alarm, ready for the next morning.
He completed his morning routine the same way he always did. He spent ten minutes in the bathroom showering and shaving before returning to his bedroom to put on the suit he had chosen and laid out the night before– today’s combination was the pinstripe suit and red shirt with the dark red tie that Jack was so fond of.
Entering the kitchen, he laughed at the dirty joke Jack had sent in a text message before perfectly toasting two slices of ‘Hovis- Best of Both’. After spreading both slices with a thin layer of margarine and marmalade, he sat down at his small kitchen table with his toast, a cup of coffee and turned on BBC Breakfast.
The sun was just rising as he left the house, the clouds tinted pink with its first rays. The traffic on the route to the Hub was busy, but no more than he expected for morning rush hour. The radio was playing cheerful songs, some more familiar to him than others, and he smiled as a group of boisterous teenagers stood up at a bus stop to offer the bench to a young mother and her three small children.
He was still whistling one of the more familiar songs from the radio as he entered the Tourist Information Centre.
That’s when it all started to go wrong.
The Information Centre was empty– not an unusual occurrence at 7.30 on a Monday morning, when Jack was the only person likely to be in the Hub– but Ianto could tell something wasn’t right. He walked around the office slowly, gun drawn, as he tried to pinpoint the source of his discomfort. All of the brochures were stacked neatly and in their correct place, his PC was turned off and the secret entrance into the Hub was still concealed.
It wasn’t until Ianto was standing behind his desk that he located the problem. A low groan was coming from behind the beaded curtain that separated the main part of the Information Centre from a small kitchenette at the back of the office. Cautiously, Ianto approached the curtain before walking through it, his gun raised.
The noise was louder now and seemed to be coming from directly above his head. Ianto stopped just in front of the curtain before looking up. He just managed to dive back through the curtain before the roof came crashing down in a hail of dust and dirty water.
Coughing and spluttering, Ianto tried to wave away the murky cloud that was streaming through the open doorway to assess the damage to both the room and his suit. Both were caked in dust and dirt.
Ianto sighed, before he started spluttering as more dust lodged in his throat.
It was going to be a long day.
When Ianto woke up that morning, he found no indication that today was going to be a bad day. He allowed his alarm to beep three times at 6.35 before hitting the snooze button. He then climbed out of bed exactly seven minutes later, ignoring Jack’s attempts to make him lie back down, before resetting the alarm, ready for the next morning.
He spent ten minutes showering and shaving before returning to his bedroom to put on his clean suit and to rouse Jack. He perfectly toasted four slices of ‘Hovis- Best of Both’ before spreading a thin layer of margarine and marmalade onto two slices and marmite onto the other two.
Jack’s hair was still damp from his quick shower, when he finally sauntered into the kitchen. Ianto was already sat at the kitchen table, watching the report detailing the latest injury to hit the Welsh Rugby team. Jack took a large mouthful of his coffee before gently kissing Ianto and replacing one of his slices of toast with one of Ianto’s marmalade ones.
Their journey to the Hub was pleasant, if uneventful. The group of teenagers waiting for the school bus were at the bus stop again, though there was no sign of the mother or her young children.
They took the invisible lift down into the Hub– Ianto’s office was still covered in an inch of dust that he hadn’t had time to clean yet- splitting up as the stepped off the lift. Jack headed to his office to remove his coat while Ianto went to the kitchen to prepare Myfanwy’s breakfast and five coffees before the rest of the team arrived.
That’s when it started to go wrong.
One of the Hub’s temporary guests had escaped from its cell. Standing in the kitchen was a large, blue alien who seemed to be composed mostly of slime, with the exception of six green tentacles sticking out of its midriff – one of which was wrapped tightly around the coffee machine. The alien was giving the machine a thoughtful look as if trying to figure out how it worked. Without warning, it suddenly started banging it on the kitchen bench, as one would when trying to hammer a nail.
It was going to be a long day.
Ianto knew today was going to be a bad day.
A routine late-night Weevil hunt had gone wrong– fatally wrong. He held Jack tight, not caring about the blood staining his already ruined shirt. He pulled the battered RAF coat tighter across Jack’s shivering frame, using his own to cushion Jack’s head.
It was no secret that Jack loved listening to Ianto talk. He loved trying to guess what Ianto was saying to his mother on the phone by pitch and tone alone, as the majority of the Welsh language still evaded his grasp. He loved Ianto’s dry sarcasm, how he could devastate an entire argument with one calmly uttered sentence. He loved the way that Ianto could convey a hundred different meanings into one word – Jack.
He loved all of these things and more, but the thing he loved most was coming back to Ianto’s voice. The calm Welsh vowels reassuring and calming him after that first terrifying breath.
So Ianto talked. He told Jack about how he was going to get revenge on Owen after he had downloaded the ‘Crazy Frog’ ringtone to Ianto’s phone again and then rang it, knowing he was in a meeting with four of Cardiff’s most respected politicians. He reminded Jack that the two of them were supposed to be taking Tosh to the pictures tomorrow night, to see that new period drama she’d been dying to see, before describing the necklace he’d seen in town that he thought Gwen would like.
He kept talking even as Jack became motionless. He talked over a distant church clock striking midnight and over the ticking of the ever-present stopwatch, counting down the seconds and minutes until Jack came back.
When Ianto woke up that morning, he found no indication that today was going to be a bad day. However, taken into context the week he was having, Ianto didn’t think anybody would blame him if he wasn’t too optimistic that the day would be spent catching up on paper work and Gwen’s wedding plans.
Refusing to be defeated before he’d even left the house, Ianto got out of bed at 8.44– Jack had told them to come in late, given their late night– and he completed his morning routine as normal.
He didn’t listen to the television or the radio that day. He’d turned the telly off when the first news item on the local news had been about an arson attack on a corner shop. Ianto knew that Tosh had planted the story after a Naglon had gone on a rampage with the 34th century equivalent of a flame-thrower. It had taken the team until two that morning to corner the Naglon and to escort it back to the Hub. It had been closer to four by the time Ianto finally crawled into bed.
The only CD in the car was one full of swing-songs Jack had left there, he put it on deciding it was better than silence or listening to the radio relate the fake arson attack.
Ianto never got as far as the bus stop where the boisterous teenagers waited every weekday morning.
He heard a woman scream just before a small child ran out in front of his car. Ianto slammed on his breaks, the tyres screeching on the road. Ianto breathed in a huge sigh of relief as the uninjured child was pulled back onto the pavement by its furious mother.
Ianto may have missed the child, but the driver in the silver BMW didn’t miss Ianto’s car. The man had managed to slow the car down enough that Ianto remained unharmed but was still going fast enough to cause serious damage to Ianto’s four-month-old Audi.
Ianto rested his head on his steering wheel and sighed, cursing under his breath.
It was going to be a long day.
Not for the first time, Ianto was woken up by Jack’s mobile ringing. Ianto wasn’t sure if it was the actual ringing that had woken him or Jack’s loud swearing, when he walked into the ladder while trying to find his discarded clothing in the dark.
Ianto yawned and sat up; reaching across to turn on the small lamp standing on the bedside cabinet Jack had squished into the small gap between his bed and one of the walls. Jack gave him a grateful smile as he found his trousers, hanging from one of the ladder rungs, and struggled to locate the persistent phone in one of his trouser pockets.
“Hello.” Jack yawned down the phone before flopping back onto the bed again. Ianto stayed where he was. Hopefully it would be a false alarm, but he’d learnt pretty quickly that when Jack’s phone was involved they were few and far between. The only person who rang Jack’s mobile for social calls was Martha, and she was considerate enough not to ring at four in the morning.
Ianto’s suspicions were confirmed when Jack lurched up into a seating position, digging his elbow into Ianto’s stomach in the process.
“Gwen, calm down. What’s happened?” Jack asked, jumping completely off the bed and trying to pull his underwear on one-handed. Ianto was already out of bed when Jack ended the call a few seconds later. “Get the rest of the team.” He ordered, hurriedly pulling on the rest of his clothes. “Rhys has been kidnapped.”
Ianto grabbed his own phone, along with his earpiece, still throwing his own clothes on as he raced up the ladder.
It was going to be a long day.
Ianto knew it was going to be a long night.
He turned over again, trying to make himself more comfortable. He was now lying on his back, staring at the unfamiliar ceiling. Having gotten very little sleep over the last few nights, he had hoped he would fall asleep within minutes of lying down on the pulled out sofa bed. He was tired, exhausted even, but still sleep was not forthcoming. The green light on his watch taunted him, telling him it was 2.31am and that he’d been up for nearly twenty-four hours. He sighed once before closing his eyes, trying to let the soft breathing of the rooms other occupants lull him to sleep.
The entire team- plus Rhys -were sharing a large family room, the only room available, in a B&B located just inside Briton Ferry.
Gwen and Rhys were both asleep in the double bed. If he twisted his head a little, Ianto could see them huddled together in the centre of the bed. Rhys was almost unscathed after his ordeal, only suffering a few cuts and bruises, from where his kidnappers had grabbed him on the way home after a night out with Dav’ and Banana Boat. He’d given one of the men, who looked like Gavin Henson but with more muscles and less fake-tan, an ear-full before they left. All three of his assailants looked relieved when they were handed over to the police. Ianto doubted that they’d anticipated how vocal a victim Rhys was going to be. Had they realised what they would be subjected to, Ianto suspected the ex-soldiers would have tried to attack Torchwood Two instead.
It had taken the team most of the day to track Rhys down to a disused Llanelli warehouse– one previously owned by UNIT- and then rescue him. The snow had been falling steadily on their way to Llanelli and it was still falling as they left– Jack, Gwen, Owen and Rhys in the SUV, Tosh and Ianto following behind in Tosh’s Toyota having made sure Rhys’ captors were safely in the hands of the local constabulary, until a UNIT representative arrived.
By the time they had all reached Briton Ferry, Jack had been forced to admit defeat. The snow was getting heavier and visibility was almost none-existent. The SUV was struggling to cope with the icy roads and Jack didn’t want to think about how much harder it would be driving Tosh’s small car.
Owen had been the only one to vocally object to sharing a room– Ianto had spotted Rhys’ wary glare even if Jack hadn’t- but everyone had obliged when told their only other option was to sleep in the SUV. Owen was asleep in the top bunk bed opposite Ianto’s sofa, Tosh in the one below. Owen’s constant, monotonous snoring was only interrupted by the occasional snort, before he would then start snoring again.
Knowing there was no way he was going to sleep anytime soon, Ianto got up from the sofa bed and pulled his discarded shirt and trousers back on, using the orange glare from the street light outside the window to find them. He didn’t care how dishevelled he looked as he left the room and made his way to the bar downstairs.
Jack was the only person in the small room, talking on his phone while simultaneously reading the news headlines on Ceefax. He didn’t break his conversation when Ianto entered the bar, nor when Ianto sat next to him on the large sofa. Jack moved his mobile to his other ear before handing Ianto the television remote and sliding his arm around Ianto’s waist, his now free hand resting on Ianto’s hip. Ianto rested his head back on Jack’s shoulder before using the remote to check the Six Nations results. He swore quietly when the results showed that England had won and Wales had lost – to Italy of all teams.
Ianto turned off the television before closing his eyes, content for the minute, resting against Jack and listening to Jack thank Martha for the information she had sent them about Rhys’ kidnappers. He could hear a female voice on the other end of the phone, though he couldn’t make out what she was saying. Ianto hadn’t met the woman but he did know Jack thought highly of her. She was one of the few things Jack had talked about relating to the few months he had been missing with the Doctor.
Ianto let Jack’s voice wash over him, listening to the sound more than the actual words while Jack’s fingers were idly drawing patterns on Ianto’s hip.
It wasn’t until Jack kissed his forehead that he realised that Jack had terminated the call a few moments earlier. Ianto blinked sleepily up at Jack but didn’t move his head from Jack’s shoulder.
“You okay?” Jack asked concerned.
“Hmmm.” Ianto replied sleepily, directing the comment more towards Jack’s neck than his face. “Couldn’t sleep.”
“Ah.” Jack didn’t say anything else but he didn’t move either.
“Come on.” Jack said eventually, when it looked like Ianto was about to fall asleep. “It’s time we were both in bed.” Ianto yawned in reply, before letting Jack pull him up from the seat and lead him out of the bar.
The sofa bed wasn’t really built for two grown men to share, but many nights spent in the room under Jack’s office meant that Ianto had gotten used to sleeping in small spaces. Besides, the chance of curling up with Jack was something Ianto was never going to turn down- he would even happily cope with Owen’s taunts in the morning if it meant he got some sleep.
They could hear voices coming from the top floor as they climbed the stairs, though they couldn’t work out what they were saying.
“Someone must have fallen asleep with their television on.” Jack guessed as the continued walking up the stairs. Ianto frowned.
“I didn’t hear anything on the way down.”
Jack and Ianto were both startled by a loud bang and a male voice could now be clearly heard shouting from the top floor, they gazed up as if trying to look at the origin of the noise through the ceiling. They looked at each other briefly before running up the stairs. They both recognised that voice– Owen.
By the time they reached their room two more voices had been added to the commotion. Gwen, Owen and Rhys were all standing in the centre of the room in only their underwear– nobody had thought to pack pyjamas, thinking they would be back in Cardiff before nightfall– shouting and swearing at each other. Tosh was lazily wiping sleep from her eyes, trying to work out if she was dreaming or not.
Before Jack could start to demand ‘What is going on?!’ a throat cleared behind him. Turning around Jack and Ianto came face-to-face with the owner of the B&B- a middle-aged woman, with grey streaks in her brown hair and a light purple dressing gown pulled tight around her slight frame.
“Captain Harkness.” She said, anger dripping from very Welsh vowel. “I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you all to leave. If you’re not gone in thirty-minutes I’m calling the police.”
Ianto turned back into the room where Rhys and the rest of the team- who had finally fallen silent- were staring at the woman in disbelief, while Jack apologised, flirted and asked her to change her mind.
Ianto started putting the sofa bed away with a bit more force than necessary, pretending that the cushions he was replacing were Owen’s head. Jack issued orders as the rest of the team started getting ready. Jack was glaring furiously at Owen, Gwen and Rhys- who was the only one of the three capable of looking him in the eye- and had already told them he expected an explanation on the way home. Ianto was glad he was sharing a car with Tosh, so he wouldn’t have to listen to Jack shouting followed by a huffy silence. He wondered how hard it would be to persuade her to pull over at the first 24-hour services they found so he could get some coffee.
Ianto suddenly fell backwards as the bed, which he’d almost finished putting away, sprang back out again. He didn’t care about the concerned and amused looks his whine of frustration brought, or about Gwen and Jack both hovering next to him, trying to decide if they should help or let him be. If Ianto didn’t know better he would swear the bed had done it on purpose. Sighing again- Ianto felt he’d been doing that a lot this week: too much sighing, not enough eye rolling- he started packing away the bed again.
He gave up when the bed got jammed halfway. He grabbed his suit jacket off the floor and walked out of the building, hoping to walk off some of his bad mood before starting on the drive home.
He wasn’t gone long, but by the time he got back to the B&B Jack had already set off leaving only Tosh behind, wrapped up in her thick coat and a pair of ear-muffs on her head. It was only now that Ianto realised how cold he was, having stormed off with only his suit jacket to protect him from the icy winter air. Tosh smiled as he approached and handed him his gun and earpiece, which he had left in the room, before moving to get something off the back seat.
Ianto muttered his thanks to her, before rubbing his hands together, trying to force some warmth into them. “Here.” Tosh said, suddenly appearing back at his side and passing him a large blue bundle. Ianto raised his eyebrow, recognising the object as Jack’s coat. “He insisted.” Tosh said, before pulling a hand-held computer out of her pocket and pressing buttons on the touch screen. “He would have waited but Owen and Rhys started fighting again.”
Ianto nodded before pulling the coat on. He felt warmer already. If Tosh saw him smiling at his reflection in the car door she didn’t say anything. Ianto glanced over at the device Tosh was holding, it showed a map of Wales, the route from Briton Ferry to Cardiff highlighted.
“I know the way back from here.” Ianto told her, as he leant against her car, watching the moon appear from behind a cloud. It would be going down soon and the sun would replace it in a few hours time. Most of the clouds had moved on, taking the snow with it
“Hmmm.” Tosh replied, blinking at him. “Oh.” She said, when he gestured to the computer with a nod of his head. “I’m not looking at the route home. I remember driving past an all-night cafe on the way here- I was just checking which direction it was in. It looks like there’s one on the way home but the closet one-"
Tosh glanced away from her computer as Ianto snorted. He was smirking and holding a credit card out towards her. She accepted the card and her eyes widened slightly as she read the name on it.
“Oh. Where did you get this?”
“Found it in the coat pocket. Looks like Jack had the same sort of idea” Ianto replied, before walking around to the passenger side of Tosh’s car, the coat swishing dramatically behind him, causing Tosh to grin. “We’ll go anywhere you want Tosh, breakfast is on Owen.”
Perhaps today wasn’t going to be such a bad day after all.
When Ianto woke up that morning he knew it was going to be a good day.
The sun had been up for a few hours by the time Ianto finally awoke. His alarm clock and his phone having both stayed blessedly silent throughout the night. Though days off in Torchwood were rare, they weren’t unheard of. The only noises he could hear were birds singing outside– probably complaining about the cold weather– and the quiet mumble of the kitchen television. The smell of bacon was coming through the open bedroom door and there was a hot cup of coffee sitting in front of his lamp.
Smiling, Ianto stretched before sitting up and taking a mouthful of his drink. Jack may not be able to work the coffee machine in the Hub but he was more than capable of using the small one in Ianto’s kitchen. Picking up his coffee cup, Ianto made his way out of his bedroom. He stopped just outside the kitchen door, his smile growing wider as he observed the scene inside the room.
Jack was ignoring the television and was humming a song to himself, an Ella Fitzgerald number Ianto guessed, while he pottered around the kitchen. As well as the bacon, Jack had also cooked sausages, tomatoes, fried eggs and had made a large pile of toast, the marmite, marmalade and a full jar of strawberry jam Ianto had forgotten about already in the middle of the kitchen table. Ianto placed his now half-empty cup onto the bench before standing behind Jack and wrapping his arms around Jack’s waist.
“Not that I’m complaining, but what did I do to deserve this?” Ianto asked, just as Jack finished piling up their plates.
“You’re awake then?” was all Jack said in reply before turning around and putting his own hands on Ianto’s hips, pulling him forward into a kiss.
“Morning to you too”, Ianto grinned at him when they broke apart, “and you didn’t answer the question.”
Jack shrugged in reply, just avoiding getting coffee on the bench. He grabbed the two plates from the bench and placed them on the table, before turning to face Ianto who was still standing next to the bench.
“You’ve had a long week.” Jack said as he moved closer to Ianto. “I just wanted to do something nice for you.”
“You didn’t have-" Ianto’s reply was halted when Jack grabbed hold of his t-shirt and started kissing him again. This time when they broke apart Jack didn’t move away but instead rested his forehead against Ianto’s, his fingers under Ianto’s chin, making sure he didn’t look away.
“I didn’t do it because I thought I had too- I did it because I wanted too.”
Oh yes. Ianto thought, as he pulled Jack into another passionate kiss, his fingers tangling in Jack’s hair. Today was going to be a very good day.
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