Wrote this using Write or Die, just to flex my long-disused Torchwood writing muscles. Bit of an introspective Ianto fic, but set before and containing no spoilers for, CoE.
There's going to be a wedding today.
It stings a little to think of it, to think of today and then think back on the last wedding he was at. He remembers Tosh's blush while Owen spun her around the dance floor. He remembers Jack and Gwen dancing and that twisting, yearning feeling deep within him, that sense that the two of them... they were the main story, that he was just a subplot. He still thinks it now sometimes, when he has no reason to. It's not jealousy, not quite, but it's something unsettling.
"Stop looking so serious," Jack says, hovering in the doorway of Ianto's London hotel room. He's smiling, always smiling, deceptively smiling, but for today Ianto will go with it. He smiles back and straightens his tie. Jack is not dressed up for the occasion... or rather, no more dressed up than he always is. He still looks out of place in a hotel room, but by now the only things that strike Ianto as particularly odd are those things that are perfectly normal. He distrusts normality after years of seeing exactly how splendidly fucked up the universe truly is and what sort of vile shit it can spew out at them. "Do I have to make that an order, Mister?"
"You can't order me around. We're not at the hub."
"I don't stop being your boss because we're not at work."
"Oh, is that your justification, then? By the same rule, I don't stop being your lover when we are at work."
Flash of too-white teeth, that smile that weakens Ianto's knees on a bad day, blows him clean away on a good. "Damn straight."
"You're so bloody American sometimes."
"You know I stole the accent, too, right? I'm not really from America."
"Your brother sounded American."
"Fine, I'm not from the America on -this- earth."
"... there's more than- you know what? Never mind."
Another grin. "Good man. Now kiss me."
"Is that a request from my lover, or an order from my boss?"
"Depends on which one turns you on more."
"Jack, Martha's wedding is in exactly," He consults the clock. "One hour and seventeen minutes. We want to be early, don't we? Just in case there are aliens wandering about the place?"
"Oh, I imagine there will be at least one alien wandering about the place. Can't see how the Doctor would want to miss this. Of course, who knows if we'll recognize him. He tends to..."
"Change face? Yes, you did mention that."
"Jack." Ianto says, something having just occurred to him. "You don't change your face, do you?"
"Haven't yet. I mean, who knows, in the future maybe the pink and fleshy look won't be in, maybe I'll want something new-"
"-but I can't imagine it."
"Well, can't say I'll be sorry not to be around for that one."
"What, can't see me in polka dots? Maybe some nice blue scales?"
"Jack," Ianto frowns.
Jack frowns back. "This bothers you?"
Ianto shrugs. "A bit."
"What exactly about it bothers you?"
"I don't know." Ianto pulls away from it, physically and mentally, distances himself. He's good at that. Always has been. He remembers how badly it used to drive Rhiannon mad. They'd be in the middle of a fight, a fantastic shouting match, and he'd suddenly just go cold. The flip would switch and he'd internalize it all and she wouldn't get another word out of him no matter how she'd scream and cry. And oh, how she'd scream and cry. His dad would walk in and see her there sobbing her eyes out, what a loud little brat she could be sometimes, and he'd see Ianto standing firm and he'd go for the belt.
No sense in thinking on it now. Ought to give Rhiannon a call some day soon, though, go out and see her kids. They're probably a foot taller now since the last time he's seen them.
"Hey," Jack says, snapping his fingers. Ianto looks at him, a polite smile at the ready. "Back to earth?"
"Hey, you're the space man, not me." Ianto smarts right back off at him. "I've never left earth."
"Not yet." Jack smiles that enigmatic smile, and as it has a habit of doing now and then, it makes Ianto's stomach flutter. He thinks about pursuing that - asking Jack if he'd really take him out to space, but Ianto's not sure how much he'd want to leave.
Then again, what does this planet have left for him, really? Maybe one day.
But not today, because today Martha Jones is getting married, and he refuses to let them be late to the ceremony.
They get out to the car, the both of them dressed and carrying all the proper equipment. Guns tucked out of sight, scanners discreetly pocketed, bluetooth headsets disabled (though the mobiles do stay on vibrate).
"Gwen and Rhys meeting us there?"
"So you trust them to make it there on time, just not me?"
"You're easily distracted."
"I am not!" Jack huffs.
"Oh, don't pretend. You know you are. Also, you don't take enough care not to get into accidents. I'm beginning to think I just can't leave you on your own ever. Always swanning off, getting yourself killed."
It's for a laugh, it's always said for a laugh, but there's something underneath it that makes Ianto queasy because he hadn't meant to sound quite like that. They have to laugh about it because if they don't laugh then things get to be too big for them to keep a lid on. That's their whole lives, right there - do what needs to be done and then look the other way. Don't stop to think, don't stop or you might not be around to think. Stop running, planning, fighting, and you'll die. Of course, you'll probably die even if you don't stop, but it's harder to hit a moving target.
Jack's still smiling, perfectly smiling, as his hand reaches for Ianto's. "What, gonna appoint yourself my babysitter?"
Ianto looks out the window and wishes he were driving, because it's easier to focus when he's got something to stare at with purpose. "Yeah, might do."
Ianto smirks, and if there's not quite enough spark behind it... well, Jack's not going to say anything. After all, surely he's been thinking of the last wedding they were at, too. Owen was already dead by then, but at Torchwood corpses can still keep time on the dancefloor. Had Susie been alive, would she have been the one dancing with Owen? He did like to get around, maybe it still would have been Tosh's turn.
Ianto's palm turns up and his fingers rest through and against Jack's. Jack's hand is bigger, warmer and more dry than Ianto's. It makes him feel like a kid, but it's nice, it's safe. Him, babysitting Jack - it's a bit of a joke, really, because it's always Jack the one worrying over them. Not protecting them, because you can't think first and foremost of your front line as being mortal or anything but expendable, but Jack the one left at the end mourning generations of workers.
But today isn't a day for mourning or thoughts of mourning. Today, as the cliched storybooks that Ianto's never actually read but has heard tell of go, is a day of celebration of life and love.
He squeezes Jack's hand and Jack squeezes back. Alive, healthy, happy, even if his mind won't stop going and going long enough to him to breathe slowly and realize it most of the time. Today, he's going to a wedding and he's going to drink champagne and eat snack crackers and maybe steal a dance with Jack and hopefully there won't be any need to protect anyone from anything.