Characters: Jack, Ianto.
Summary: Now that Jack has moved in with Ianto he’s noticing how many benefits there are to living together, but it’s not all perfect.
Word Count: 1878
Written For: My own prompt ‘Torchwood, Jack/Ianto, “Don't forget to put the dustbin out!”,’ at fic_promptly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
There are a lot of things Jack likes about living with Ianto, starting with the fact that his king-sized double bed is not only spacious enough for all kinds of enjoyable activities but also happens to be extremely comfortable for sleeping in. Until he tried it out he hadn’t realised how big a difference it would make after a hard day at Torchwood, especially if he was still feeling sore and achy after coming back from a violent death.
He also very much enjoys that he gets to fall asleep beside, beneath, or on top of Ianto practically every night, and wake up in the morning in a similar position. Once or twice they’ve fallen asleep with one of them the wrong way round, and he’s woken up with a foot in his face, but he rather likes Ianto’s feet with their long, elegant toes, so he can’t say he minds. Waking to any part of Ianto is far better than waking up alone.
Another thing Jack likes about Ianto’s little house, which he supposes must now be his house as well, is that it has a bigger bathroom than his bunker in the Hub does. Better yet, it has an actual bathtub instead of just a small shower cubicle. Shared baths can be fun as well as being relaxing; before he’d moved in it had been a very long time, decades in fact, since he’d last had the opportunity to indulge in luxuriously long soaks with the hot water coming up to his chest. To Jack’s mind, coming as he does from a desert planet, hot baths are the height of decadent luxury, especially with plenty of bubbles. Bathing, whether alone or together, is bliss, and he indulges himself whenever possible.
Then there’s the kitchen, with its spacious worktops, and its oven, and its cupboards that he can fill with all the ingredients needed for baking cakes, and cookies, and pies. Ianto got a bit miffed with him to begin with because of the mess he left behind when he first started baking, but now that he’s being more careful and remembering to put all the mixing bowls and other baking paraphernalia in the dishwasher when he’s done, he’s allowed to bake whatever he wants whenever he feels like it. He cooks too, sometimes alone and sometimes with Ianto, fixing dinner, or breakfast, or a late supper after a Weevil hunt. There’s a lot to be said for sitting down in front of the TV with a homemade meal on a lap tray instead of pizza, or Chinese. Not that they’ve given up takeaways entirely, but they tend to be reserved for lunchtime at work, although nowadays sometimes he and Ianto will take a packed lunch with them to the Hub. After all, why not?
Speaking of sitting in front of the TV… Ianto has a top of the line entertainment system; not just a forty-eight inch TV, but a DVD player, a digibox, a stereo system with a turntable as well as a multi-disc CD, radio, MP3 hub… Fifty-first technology might have done everything smaller and better, but for the twenty-first century Ianto’s set-up is pretty impressive. There are shelves of DVDs and CDs and vinyl records, and it’s surprisingly pleasant to spend part of the evening watching or listening to something while they eat dinner, or just snuggle together on the big, squishy sofa, so much more comfortable than the ancient and lumpy one at the Hub. Ianto obviously takes his home comforts seriously, right down to the big cushions and the comfy blanket that lives draped over the sofa’s back, just waiting for cold evenings.
Their house is a lot cosier than the Hub, mostly because it’s so much smaller and therefore easier to heat, but it can be a bit chilly when they first get home, before they turn the heating on. It soon warms up though, thanks to radiators in every room, double-glazed windows, and good insulation. After years of living in the draughty Hub, sleeping on a narrow cot, and taking showers in a cubicle only big enough for one, Jack can’t help feeling a bit spoiled. He’s not sure what he’s done to deserve such luxurious living quarters, never mind such a wonderful man to share them with, but he’ll do whatever it takes to keep both.
As if the house weren’t enough, there’s even a garden! Not a big one, this being one of a row of terraced houses, but bigger than their immediate neighbour can boast since it’s the last house in the row, or the first, depending on which direction you’re coming from. It has off-road parking for a single car, a compact front garden that will be full of flowers come spring, and a back yard with a small lawn, an even smaller patio, a couple of flower beds, and some plants in tubs. Jack is looking forward to warmer weather and being able to spend time out there gardening, or just soaking up the sun. Living underground was never exactly conducive to sunbathing.
The house has its downsides too of course; they have to commute to the Hub every morning, and some nights they don’t get home at all, thanks to the Rift. There’s little point making the drive home if the Rift predictor says it’s going to be a busy night so sometimes they still end up sharing the cot in Jack’s bunker, or sometimes Ianto goes home alone. That’s not so much fun for either of them.
Then there are the chores; a whole house needs a lot more cleaning than Jack’s small bunker ever did, and every day Ianto insists that something is done, be it vacuuming, dusting, washing windows, cleaning the bathroom, or changing the sheets on the bed. There’s a lot of laundry to do, and then the ironing, and there’s shopping for groceries… Okay, Jack kind of likes that last one because he can pick up some extra baking supplies, and other tasty treats, along with the loo rolls, and laundry detergent, and dishwasher tablets.
The dishwasher itself is a boon, so much so that Jack is seriously considering getting one put in at the Hub, even though it will mean Retconning whoever installs it. The benefits would surely outweigh that one minor downside, and he’s sure Ianto would appreciate not having to break out the rubber gloves several times a day. He has more than enough to do around the Hub without being forever washing coffee mugs. Maybe Jack will broach the subject with his boyfriend tomorrow, at work.
Right now, the dishes from dinner are in the dishwasher, there’s a load of laundry doing, and Ianto’s just getting everything ready to fix their after-dinner coffee. In a few minutes they’ll be lounging on the sofa, digesting their meal and watching whatever it was they recorded last night; Jack can’t remember offhand.
His sense of contentment evaporates with Ianto’s next words. “Don’t forget to put the dustbin out before you come and sit down.”
“What? But… have you seen the weather?” Outside the rain is pouring down and it’s blowing a gale; he’ll be drenched to the skin in the time it’ll take to drag the wheelybin from around the side of the house, where it lives, and down to the kerb.
“It’s collection day tomorrow, and you know they often come early,” Ianto points out.
“I’m aware of that, but why do I have to do it? Can’t you?” Okay, maybe it’s a little unfair of him to expect Ianto to go out in the rain when he doesn’t want to do it himself.
“Because it’s your turn.”
Jack sags in defeat; of course it is, and he knows he should be grateful that Ianto was willing to agree to rotas for the jobs they both hate, but why does the weather have to be so foul when it’s his turn?
“The quicker it’s done the quicker you’ll be back in the warm, with a mug of hot coffee,” Ianto tells him. “Best pull my mac and wellies on, I’ll have a towel waiting to dry your hair.”
Doing as he’s told, Jack shoves his feet into Ianto’s Wellington boots, and slips into the raincoat. He’s a bit broader across the shoulders than Ianto, but the mac is a generous size, probably so Ianto can wear it over his coat in weather like this. It’ll keep most of him dry, and the wellies will take care of the rest. Getting his hair wet is no big deal; it happens all the time. Jack plunges out into the wind and rain, shutting the porch door firmly behind him and ploughing through puddles on his way around the side of the house.
The carport keeps some of the rain off him as he collects the bin and manoeuvres it past Ianto’s car. The wind is blowing it sideways though and the slight protection is short lived. If anything, it’s even worse once he reaches the short driveway because now he’s right out in the open with no fences or buildings blocking the force of the wind. He’s almost grateful to be dragging a full and heavy dustbin because it’s helping to anchor him to the ground. Once he leaves it parked at the kerb though he’s all on his own, at the mercy of the gale; several times it almost blows him off his feet as he flounders his way back up the drive, into the lee of the house. Once there the going is easier and he reaches the back of the house safely, letting himself into the little porch off the kitchen to find Ianto already there waiting for him.
“My hero! You look half drowned.”
“I feel half drowned. That wind is vicious; if the bin wasn’t so heavy it would be halfway down the street by now.”
Ianto has spread newspapers on the floor to stand the wet boots on, more beneath the wall hooks where the mac usually lives, and he helps Jack take it off, hanging it up to drip dry before disappearing into the kitchen.
Jack follows, padding across the floor in his socks, but he doesn’t get far before Ianto’s back, carrying a towel he’s just plucked off the radiator in the hall. It’s deliciously warm, and Jack stands patiently while Ianto rubs his hair mostly dry with it. Jack decides it’s almost worth getting drenched to receive this kind of pampering. That’s another benefit of living with Ianto; he can count on his lover to make a fuss of him at times like this. He’d have done the same for Ianto if their roles tonight had been reversed.
“Much better, thanks.”
“Good. Now wash your hands and go through to the lounge; I’ll bring the coffee in as soon as it’s ready.”
Ianto’s as good as his word, following Jack a couple of minutes later, carrying a tray bearing two steaming mugs and a plate of dark chocolate hobnobs.
Come to think of it, Jack doesn’t mind so much braving the terrible weather to put the bin out if it gets him rewards like this. There really is a lot to like about living with Ianto Jones.