Characters: Jack Harkness/Ianto Jones
Word Count: 1900
Summary: Jack said softly, “I just wanted to take you out.”
Spoilers: “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”, “To the Last Man”
Author’s Notes: For , who gave me the prompts “late as usual,” “awkward” and “unorthodox.”
14 Valentines Day 5: Sexuality.
“Pancake races,” Jack said, “are right up there with camping and room service as one of Earth’s better inventions.”
They were watching the late news in Ianto’s flat, the remains of supper on the coffee table and Ianto’s head on Jack’s chest. The news had a filler piece about pancake races in London, and Ianto had to admit they looked like a fun way to pass an hour. Jack had said he wanted to check for possible incursions, even after Ianto pointed out aliens tended to invade at Christmas, not Shrove Tuesday.
Ianto lifted his head a moment to look at Jack, but it seemed that was Jack’s full thought on the matter so Ianto laid his head on Jack’s chest again. “Surely not better than room service,” he said.
“Room service only gives you the pancakes,” Jack pointed out. “It doesn’t involve any effort on your part.”
“For many people, that’s the appeal.”
Jack chuckled, rubbing Ianto’s back. “What are you giving up for Lent?”
“Nothing. I haven’t observed Lent for years. Why? What are you giving up?”
“Nothing.” He kissed the top of Ianto’s head. “I want to do something special for Valentine’s Day and I want to be sure there aren’t any limits.”
“Oh,” Ianto said and then pushed himself upright to look at Jack. “You want—what?”
“To do something special for Valentine’s day,” Jack repeated, utterly relaxed. “Why are you looking at me like that?”
“Because—why would you want to? It’s a ridiculous holiday that keeps the greeting card business going for another year. Anybody who needs a sanctioned holiday to show love needs to reexamine their relationship.”
Jack said softly, “I just wanted to take you out.”
Ianto couldn’t answer a moment. “We never have time.”
“We’ll make time. I want to make time.” He touched Ianto’s back, slowly tracing shapes and swirls. “I want to take you out to dinner and maybe go dancing.”
“Oh.” He arched his back to encourage Jack’s fingers. “A date. We haven’t done that for a while.”
“Like you said, we never have time.”
“Well,” Ianto said, still unsettled by the entire notion, “the purpose of dating is to spend time with someone and we spend a lot of time together as it is—hardly apart an hour out of twenty-four.”
“Is that bad?” Jack moved closer and kissed the back of Ianto’s neck.
“Of course not,” Ianto said with a shiver.
“Good. Then I’m taking you out next week.” More kisses pressed to his neck, and then warm, long fingers were pulling his shirt of his waistband and sliding under his shirt to stroke his skin, and Ianto tilted back his head and reached back to grasp Jack’s hair. “Wear something pretty,” Jack whispered and Ianto laughed as he kissed him.
Ianto fell asleep as he liked best, with Jack’s body in his arms and Jack’s heart beating under his hand. He woke how he hated most: alone.
He sat up and sighed. It was still dark out and the flat was so quiet he could hear the faint murmur of his television in the other room. Sometimes Jack read in bed beside him, with a little book light Ianto had given him a few weeks into their relationship. Sometimes he just lay in bed, watching Ianto sleep. Sometimes he slept himself, but it was hard to tell if he actually got any rest on those nights.
And sometimes he left the flat, though he usually left a note of some kind behind: “Wear the blue suit today, please?” or “You’re having such good dreams I can’t bear to wake you,” or “Call me if you’re stopping somewhere for breakfast.” Despite these notes, Ianto hated it when Jack left: it felt too close to abandonment, like one of these mornings he would search for Jack and not find him, not find him at the Hub or anywhere.
That he’d leave the bed to watch a movie was slightly better. Ianto pulled on sleep pants and went out to the lounge, lay down on the couch and put his head on Jack’s leg. Jack rubbed his back a few times and pulled a wool blanket over him, and began carding his fingers through Ianto’s hair. Ianto exhaled and closed his eyes, and was soon asleep again, soothed by Jack’s touch.
“He’s promised you he won’t leave again,” Toshiko said a few days later as they waited in line for lunch.
“I know,” Ianto said and the entire line shuffled forward.
“So what are you worried about?”
“I don’t know, exactly,” Ianto said. “I’ve never dated a bloke before, so maybe that’s all that’s unsettling me.” She shrugged in agreement, and he said, “Or maybe it’s just Jack.”
Toshiko laughed. “I suspect that’s it. Everything about Jack is unorthodox, really—it’s no surprise his relationships are, too.” The line shuffled forward again and she scanned the menu over the counter. “They do the pad Thai with tofu, don’t they?”
“Yes, it’s very good. I wouldn’t quite call it unorthodox, really—I just don’t know what to make of it all. He wants to take me out for Valentine’s Day.”
Toshiko arched one perfectly-plucked eyebrow at him.”Oh, no, not a date on Valentine’s Day,” she said dryly.
Ianto rolled his eyes at her. “A date with Jack on Valentine’s Day.”
“You make it sound so shocking,” Tosh said and then it was her turn to order. Ianto got out the slip where he’d written Gwen, Owen and Jack’s lunch order and frowned at it. Shocking? No. But it surprised him still, how intensely he felt about Jack and how every new development threw him for yet another loop. He hadn’t been so clumsy since his first girlfriend.
“Look,” Toshiko said when they’d placed their orders and were waiting for them to be completed, “he wants to make you happy. Stop overthinking it.” She patted his arm.
“I’ll try,” Ianto said gloomily. He added, “Do you think I should wear the red?” and for some reason that made Toshiko laugh.
On Valentine’s night, Ianto straightened his tie and checked his hair, ran his tongue over his teeth and glanced at the clock. Late again—of course, time had no meaning to someone who had all of it. Ianto sighed and wondered if he should have worn the purple instead, and then smiled when his doorbell rang.
“Late,” he said when he opened the door.
Jack grinned at him and held out a bouquet of red roses. “But here.”
“Jack,” Ianto began, but took the bouquet and kissed Jack hello. If Jack wanted to indulge him, Ianto supposed this was the best day for it. “I have something for you, too.”
“Oo! I get a present?”
“Yes.” He picked up the wrapped package waiting on his counter, held it awkwardly for a moment, and then gave it to Jack. “Happy Valentine’s Day.”
“Thank you,” Jack said and kissed him again. “Should I open it now or wait?”
“Either,” Ianto said, feeling heat in his cheeks and a whole new level of ridiculous. It was a odd little gesture and he thought Jack would probably hate it.
“Then I’m opening it now!” Jack pulled the ribbon off and tore the tape, and looked at Ianto, puzzled, when he saw the box. “Thanks, Ianto, but why did you give me a DVD player?”
“A mini-DVD player,” Ianto pointed out. “So you don’t have to leave me to watch movies.”
“Oh,” Jack said, still puzzled, and Ianto sighed.
“So you can watch movies in bed,” he mumbled and started hunting through his cupboards for a vase. He was fairly certain he had a vase somewhere.
“Ianto,” Jack said and embraced him around his waist. Ianto closed his eyes and leaned against him. “Thank you. I love my present. Come on. A good dinner will get your mind off all this.”
Supper was good—the restaurant was a little more fancy than their usual places, but Ianto often thought he’d be just as happy eating chips from folded newspaper as he was with roast duck and piped mashed potatoes, so long as he was with Jack.
Particularly when Jack’s hand slid across the table to weave their fingers together, and their conversation trailed off as they gazed at each other.
Ianto said softly, “I think everybody here knows about us,” during one of these pauses, and Jack’s smile was both naughty and sweet.
“Are you okay with that?”
“Yes,” Ianto said. “Oh, yes.”
Instead of the techno dance club that Ianto expected—which didn’t seem like Jack’s style, really—Jack took him to a ballroom, where Ianto was not the only man in a suit and they were not the only men dancing together. “I don’t know how to dance this way,” he said doubtfully as Jack took him onto the dance floor.
“Just follow my lead,” Jack said, smiling at him. “Look at me, not your feet.” He looked into Jack’s eyes, and then pulled him closer and leaned his head against Jack’s. Jack chuckled. “Of course, this works, too.”
“Sorry, you want to waltz or something, don’t you,” Ianto said but Jack’s arms tightened around him when he started to pull away.
“I just want to dance. I want to hold you close and dance.”
Ianto smiled and lowered his hands from Jack’s back to his waist. He felt Jack exhale slowly and relax into him, and he kissed Jack’s cheek, pleased. “Thank you for this,” he whispered.
“It’s as much for me as it is for you.”
“I know. That’s what makes it wonderful.”
Jack rubbed their cheeks together. “Ianto. Why the DVD player?”
“Oh.” Ianto felt his shoulders stiffen, and Jack rubbed his back with his palm. “I hate it when I wake up and you’re not there. I mean, you don’t have to stay but I like it when you do.”
Jack added his fingertips to the soothing scratch on Ianto’s back. “I don’t want to keep you up all night.”
“So, use the headphones. Stay with me. Stay with me,” Ianto repeated more quietly and felt his face grow hot. “All I’ve ever wanted was for you to stay.”
Jack sighed and his hand stopped stroking Ianto’s back. “You still haven’t forgiven me for leaving, I see.”
“I’m working on it,” Ianto mumbled. “I still have dreams about you being missing.”
Ianto laid his head on Jack’s shoulder. “I missed you so much. So much.”
“I missed you too,” Jack said and started stroking his back again.”I’m not going anywhere. You’re stuck with me for as long as you want me.”
“Could be for the rest of my life,” Ianto warned him and Jack chuckled.
“I can hardly wait.”
Ianto took Jack home to the flat, of course. After a night like that he couldn’t just kiss Jack good night at the door, not that he ever wanted to anyway—he had to take Jack home and show him exactly how glad he was to have Jack home.
As he was dozing off he felt the bed dip and sway as Jack got up. Ianto burrowed deeper into the pillows, sighing—and then smiled to himself as the bed dipped again when Jack got back in. There was an electronic whir and the faint sound of theme music, and Jack curled close to Ianto’s body, settling the DVD player between them. After a few minutes Jack’s hand began to comb through Ianto’s hair.
Ianto exhaled and relaxed, certain for the first time in weeks that Jack would be there in the morning.