Rating: NC-17 (mentions of sex, so being safe)
Spoilers: Torchwood COE, thru Day One
Characters: Jack, Ianto, Gwen, Sue Baker
Summary: Ianto’s POV of the date at the French restaurant
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
A/N: Thank you for the mad beta fu to ares132006 and blue_fjords. This is either the middle part of a triptych following Savoir Faire if the next part is Jack’s POV (which scares me a little bit), or part one of two, if the next one is from Ianto’s POV. I hope to get up the next part very soon. And the last two lines are all blue’s, as I was flailing a bit there. Interruption means both "intermission" and “interruption” in French, both of which I think fit here.
Ianto stood, stretching his arms over his head and closing his eyes when the bones of his spine popped pleasingly. He rubbed a hand over the back of his head, sighing in resignation as he surveyed the over-flowing piles of folders that represented the fruits of his afternoon labors. So far, he’d been able to organize past reports that had made any mention of something shiny, silver and box-like, by vague geographical locations throughout the U.K. Apparently, a lot of shiny silver boxes had made their way into Torchwood over the years, if the sheer volume of reports was anything to go by. He absently turned up the volume of his Ipod as he tried to kick a few of the piles into shape. And, he absolutely, positively, did not jump when he felt Jack’s hands wrap around his waist from behind. He pulled his ear buds out and turned around, trying to drum up the best scowl he could muster. “Fuck, Jack. Give me a heart attack!”
Jack just leered at him, hitching his hip up onto the old desk that sat against the wall. “What’cha doin?” He made a show of peering around Ianto at the piles of paper littering the floor, a slightly amused glint to his eye.
“Saving the world. You know. The usual.” He kicked at one of the piles of folders, toppling it, and papers spewed everywhere. There went Scotland. He sighed loudly in disgust.
Jack raised an eyebrow at the insubordination, but Ianto knew he didn’t really mean it. “Taking it out on those poor papers? What’d they ever do to you?”
Ianto just rolled his eyes. “I take it your call with Whitehall is over? Did you make nice with the other kiddies in the sandbox?”
Now it was Jack’s turn to roll his eyes. “I always make nice.” His attempt at leering was almost comically overdone.
Ianto chuckled and shook his head. “Has senility caused you to forget that I spent the better part of Monday attempting to smooth over the last time you decided to kick some sand about?” Ianto crossed over, shooing Jack to slide a bit so he could lean on the desk beside him. “Sorry. I really should be more sensitive. Sometimes I forget that you are a very old man.”
Jack elbowed his side in protest. “See, now you have to go and ruin the moment. I came down here to ask you out on a date.” Ianto eyes flicked to Jack’s face for a second, making sure no real hurt was there, before turning away again, hiding his grin. “I even made reservations at Garcon.” Jack sounded inordinately proud of this fact.
Ianto was continuously surprised by Jack’s enthusiasm towards the mundane, considering Jack had probably been around the block more times than he could count at this point. He wondered, not for the first time, if Jack had a manual entitled “Dating Rituals of 21st Century Earth” stowed someplace around the Hub. Jack, the one that came back, seemed to enthusiastically embrace the whole courting process, much to Ianto’s shock. More often than not, Jack’s gusto for tradition shoved him well out of his zone of comfort. The first time Jack had shown up at his doorstep with flowers, well, he spent no time quickly dispelling him of that notion. Ianto had found that navigating the world of dating was tough enough, but now with the added element of not only dating a bloke, but dating Jack, he regularly felt lost, like he was bobbing out on the open sea, not sure where to anchor. But, and he wouldn’t admit this even under pain of death, there was a tiny part of him that liked that Jack had somehow come to the conclusion that a fancy French restaurant was an acceptable romantic overture, even if painfully obvious and utterly clichéd. Ianto smirked at him. “Gwen giving us the night off?”
Something akin to pain flickered through Jack’s eyes, gone quick as a flash and replaced by a broad smile, but Ianto’s gut still twisted a bit at the reminder of the ghosts surrounding them. Jack shifted to turn towards him, putting his hands on his hips and tossing his head. “Get out, you! You are driving me mad with the hovering. You’re worse than Rhys!” Ianto snorted at Jack’s absolutely horrendous Gwen impersonation. “And, take Ianto someplace nice for a change!” Which, wasn’t totally fair, as Ianto’s ideal date consisted of pizza, beer and dvds at his flat, whereas Jack seemed to prefer real, actual planned events that at times required multiple wardrobe changes.
Ianto slid to standing. “What time’s the reservation?”
“Eight.” Jack stood as well.
Ianto frowned as he looked at his watch—it was already half six. “I’d better be off, if I’m meant to be ready by then.”
Jack looked him up and down. “What’s wrong with what you are wearing?” Ianto gave him a look, and Jack just chuckled and shook his head. “Girl.”
“Wanker.” Ianto sighed again as he regarded the piles on the floor.
Jack laid a hand on his shoulder. “Don’t worry. They’ll be here waiting for you when you get back.”
Ianto started to move away from him towards the door. “Thanks for that.”
“Hey, don’t say I never do anything nice for you.” Jack followed him out, pulling the single chain hanging from the ceiling to extinguish the bare light bulb. Ianto just hummed in agreement and began up the staircase, Jack jogging up behind him. “Go home. Make yourself pretty.”
Ianto looked back over his shoulder. “I thought I was always pretty.”
“Oh, you are.” The sarcasm in Jack’s voice earned him another eye roll.
Gwen was sitting at what Ianto still regarded as Tosh’s workstation, quickly minimizing a website that appeared to be selling shoes. She grinned at him. “You off then?”
“He’s got to go make himself pretty.” Jack had stopped on the railing above her, one foot propped on the bars.
Gwen reached out and smoothed down his tie. “You’re always pretty.”
Ianto cocked an eyebrow in Jack’s direction, but Jack just laughed and walked into his office, calling out over his shoulder. “I’ll pick you up in an hour!”
“Yup.” Ianto lowered his voice to address Gwen. “Hey, thanks for this.”
She cuffed him lightly on the arm. “Off with you. Don’t want to keep himself waiting.” She twisted back towards her monitor, giving him a knowing smile as he walked away. “Have fun tonight.”
Ianto just shook his head and chuckled under his breath as he walked out the cog door.
The restaurant was elegant in a minimalist kind of way, tasteful and understated, just as it had been described in the Echo review that Ianto had read the week previously. They were seated at a nice table with a view of the Bay, the lighting low and intimate. Their waiter approached and introduced himself as François, quickly rattling off the specials of the day. Ianto goggled a bit at the £149 price tag of the bottle of wine that Jack ordered for them. As someone who had penny pinched out of necessity for the majority of his life, it had taken him a little while to get used to the constant five-star treatment, but he had been going on with Jack for long enough that he was beginning to relax enough to enjoy it.
“What sounds good to you?” Jack was scanning the menu with his finger, most likely looking for a steak dish.
“I’m thinking the pumpkin ravioli.” Not his usual fare, but the Echo reviewer had deemed it “simply divine”, so Ianto was willing to take a risk.
Jack raised his eyebrows a bit at the choice, but didn’t lift his head from his menu, still scanning, finally pointing at his selection. “I’m getting this one.” Ianto roughly translated the selection as steak with a mustard-cognac sauce. Very Jack.
Choices made, they closed their menus and settled back into their chairs. Jack stretched a warm hand across Ianto’s thigh, and Ianto tried very hard not to react at all, apparently failing miserably. Jack leaned in close, whispering low into his ear “Easy there, tiger.” Ianto felt a blush creep up his face all the way to the tips of his earlobes, but he willed himself to calm down, just a bit. The wine arrived with the usual spectacle, and Jack swirled the liquid around in his glass, allowing it to breathe, before nodding in affirmation. They clinked their glasses together before taking a sip, discovering it really was a nice wine. Orders placed, they were left with just each other. Ianto took a healthy gulp of the wine when Jack rubbed his thumb in a slow circle over Ianto’s thigh. “So, what the hell were you doing down there in the archives?”
Ianto exhaled audibly. “Well, as I recall, someone ordered me to try and find a pattern of little shiny silver boxes falling through the Rift since he didn’t trust whatever algorithm Mainframe spat out.” He cut his eyes towards Jack. “She know you’re two-timing her?”
Jack gave his thigh a little squeeze and shrugged. “Her answer didn’t make any sense. Besides, it’s always better to double check.”
Ianto cocked an eyebrow at him. “I thought you said they were harmless children’s toys.”
Jack frowned at him, pulling his hand off of Ianto’s thigh to waggle a finger in warning. “You never know.” Just then, the bread arrived, thankfully forestalling any further shop talk, and a respectable amount of time later, the food came. Jack sighed in satisfaction when he cut into his meat, appropriately bloody. He pointed towards Ianto’s dish with his knife. “Any good?”
“It’s quite gorgeous, actually.” Ianto’s pasta was delicious as promised, the sauce not too heavy, the ravioli perfectly cooked.
Jack leered at him knowingly. “Better than sex?”
Ianto leaned closer to him, pitching his voice dramatically lower. “Not with you, you big studly man.”
Jack threw his head back, laughing without abandon. His laugh was infectious, and Ianto couldn’t help but grin in response. He leaned in to whisper in Ianto’s ear again. “I didn’t hear any complaints as I blew you over the conference table today when Gwen went to meet Rhys for lunch.” Ianto felt the blush creeping back up to his hairline. Jack shifted a bit in his seat, pitching his voice higher but still keeping it at a whisper. “Oh Jack, yes Jack, just like that, Jack.”
Ianto quickly recovered , retreating back to sarcasm. “It’s almost eerie how much Gwen and I sound alike in real life.”
Jack just grunted in response, spearing a ravioli without asking. He inclined his head towards Ianto’s plate, speaking around a mouthful of pasta. “It’s good, but I’m a little surprised. Not what you’d usually go with.”
Ianto raised his eyebrows and refolded his napkin in his lap. “I read a review of this place last week, and the ravioli came highly recommended.”
Jack smirked at him, raising an eyebrow in mock surprise. “Still I say: girl.”
Ianto smirked right back. “Still I say: wanker.”
Jack chuckled, shaking his head. “I’m sticking with girl.”
Ianto leaned in close, dropping his voice to just above a whisper. “We’ll see if you stand by that after we get back to mine.”
Jack crossed his arms across his chest. “I find it interesting that you assume that this night will end in sex.”
Ianto snorted. “Well, we’ve met. A few times now.”
Jack leaned back in his chair, regarding Ianto with suspicious eyes. “So, basically what you are saying is, you’ll whore yourself out in order to get a good meal?”
Ianto shrugged. “Whatever it takes.”
Jack sat up and pointed at Ianto in indignation. “Hey! That’s my line.”
Ianto shrugged again. “Still applies.”
They finished off their plates, Jack helping himself to some more of Ianto’s pasta and cutting him off a bit of steak to try. Jack ordered up a gooey chocolately thing they shared for dessert that was positively decadent, and Ianto left him to the bill as he went to gather their coats. Fighting over the check was a battle he had long since learned he would never win. When he returned, he helped Jack into his coat before shrugging into his own. Jack smiled at him then, the genuine, private smile that Ianto liked to believe was reserved for him alone. “Back to yours, then?”
Ianto gave a tiny smile in response and nodded. As he turned to follow Jack out, time seemed to stop and the bottom dropped out of his world as he came face to face with Sue Baker and her husband. Sue was well known as the biggest gossip on the estate his sister lived on. He stood, rooted to the spot, just staring back at her, desperately running over in his mind the events of the evening in an attempt to convince himself that she hadn’t seen anything truly damning, but he could tell by the look of shock in her eyes that she knew. He felt sick to his stomach and could hear the blood rushing in his ears, only managing after what seemed an eternity to give her a tight smile and nod in recognition. Jack unknowingly chased away any lingering doubts she may have had about the situation by reaching back and tugging on Ianto’s elbow, running his hand down Ianto’s arm to entwine their fingers and pulling him towards the exit. Ianto stumbled a little, thrown as he was, before gaining his footing and following Jack out the door. He did his best to hide the roiling of his stomach, as it would only get worse if Jack noticed and forced him to talk about it. Fuck.
Concluded here: Time Enough