Characters: Ianto, Jack, Tosh, Owen, Gwen.
Word Count: 1499
Summary: Ianto has decided to give up something for Lent, so Jack decides maybe he should too…
Content Notes: None needed.
Written For: Challenge 189: Amnesty at fan_flashworks, using Challenges 60: Washing, 76: Question, and 94: Footwear.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
Standing in the Hub’s small kitchen area, putting the shopping away, Jack frowned. “Ianto, why did you get strawberry body paint? Had the store run out of chocolate?”
“No, I’m giving up chocolate for Lent and I didn’t want to be tempted,” Ianto explained patiently. Despite how long Jack had lived on earth, there were a lot of things he still didn’t completely understand, religious observances among them. “Maybe you should do the same.”
Jack looked horrified at the very thought. “Give up chocolate? Not in a million years, I wouldn’t last a day. Take away my chocolate and before you know it I’ll be in a heap on the ground because I’ve run out of energy.”
“I thought you were fuelled by coffee,” Ianto teased.
“That too,” Jack agreed. “Speaking of which…”
“Fine, I’ll make coffee if you’ll put the rest of the supplies away.”
That seemed to satisfy Jack, and the two men got on with their assigned tasks in comfortable silence for a few minutes, until Jack asked, “How long does Lent last anyway?”
“Forty days; this year it’s from March sixth to April 18th.”
“That long? And you’re seriously giving up chocolate?”
“Yep! No bars of chocolate, no chocolate biscuits, chocolate chip muffins or chocolate cake, no chocolate sauce, not even a chocolate milkshake…” Ianto sighed. It was a daunting prospect, but he’d made up his mind and he wasn’t going to back down. He ate way too much chocolate; giving it up for a few weeks would do him good. “So if you eat anything with chocolate in it, please do so in private and brush your teeth before you kiss me. I wouldn’t want to cheat by accident.” He had a feeling it was going to be a very long forty days.
Serving Jack his coffee, Ianto picked up his own mug and headed down to the archives; he had a few things to do before the rest of the team got in.
Jack couldn’t stop thinking about Lent. It was going to be hard on Ianto, going without chocolate-y goodness, and he wanted to be supportive of his lover, but giving up his sweet treats was out of the question. There had to be something else he could give up though, so he decided to ask the others when they got in. Naturally, Tosh was the first to arrive.
“Lent starts tomorrow,” Jack called to her as soon as she set foot in the Hub, not even taking the time to say hello. “What’re you giving up?”
“Good morning to you too, Jack,” Tosh laughed. “What’s got you so curious about Lent?”
“Ianto says he’s giving up chocolate. I thought perhaps I should give up something too, but there’s no way I can do without chocolate so I figured I could get ideas from the rest of you.”
“Not everyone observes Lent, you know.”
“I know, but a lot of people do, and since Ianto is, I want to do it too, show solidarity even if I can’t give up the same thing,” Jack reasoned.
“That’s a lovely gesture, Jack. I’m sure Ianto will be pleased. I wasn’t going to bother with it, but maybe I’ll give up chocolate too, just because Ianto is. I don’t suppose anyone else will, so we can keep each other from cheating when our willpower is tested by everyone else waving chocolate in our faces.”
“You’re a good friend, Tosh.” Jack gave his tech expert an impulsive hug, and she hugged him back.
“It’s the least I can do for my best friend,” she said before settling down to get on with some work.
Gwen and Owen finally straggled in one after the other just after nine.
“Sorry, Jack,” Gwen called. “I meant to be in earlier, but I overslept.”
“So did I,” Owen added.
“You probably did it on purpose,” Gwen accused. “Drink too much again last night, did you?”
“What if I did?”
“Hey!” Jack cut through the blossoming argument. “That’s enough! Play nicely, kids.”
Owen shrugged out of his jacket and slumped into the chair at his workstation. “Yeah, Gwen, leave off. I’m suffering enough as it is, I don’t need you nagging me about being hungover.”
“Right,” Jack interrupted again, “question for the two of you; what are you giving up for Lent?”
“Rhys said he was giving up coffee, so I said I’d do the same.” Gwen glanced sheepishly at Ianto as he started distributing the team’s beverage of choice. “Sorry, Ianto, but I wanted to support Rhys; it wouldn’t be fair to him if I went home every night smelling of coffee. I bought my own teabags though, and I’ll make my own drinks, I promise. Anyway, Lent doesn’t start until tomorrow, so at least I get to indulge myself today.” She picked up her mug and took a sip, sighing gratefully. “Thanks, pet. I really need this to get me going this morning.”
“Me too,” Owen groaned. “Can’t face the day without the restorative powers of coffee.” He cradled his steaming mug in both hands, sipping carefully. “That hits the spot.”
“You haven’t said yet what you’re giving up for Lent, Owen,” Jack reminded the medic.
Owen mumbled something almost inaudible into his coffee mug and Tosh snorted. “That’s not going to be much of a sacrifice the way your luck’s been going lately.”
Privately, Jack agreed, although… The more he thought about it, the more it seemed like something he could manage to do without himself. Owen could be amazingly smart sometimes. As Gwen suggested that maybe Owen should give up alcohol instead, Jack turned away and headed for his office, tuning out the rest of the conversation, perfectly content with his decision to follow Owen’s example..
Lent officially began the following morning. Ianto left Gwen off his coffee rounds and she made herself cups of tea. Tosh and Ianto studiously avoided the others when chocolate was in sight, although Ianto still had to give Myfanwy her daily treat; the aroma of good chocolate was enticing, but he remained strong. Jack followed Ianto’s instructions to brush his teeth after indulging his own sweet tooth, so that he wouldn’t provide unfair temptation, and so the days drifted past. Not that any of them had much time to dwell on their sacrifices; for the next couple of weeks, the Rift kept them so insanely busy they barely had time to think.
Eventually, the pace of work let up a bit, and Ianto decided to take advantage of the lull to take care of some overdue chores. He put a load of washing on, took various items of clothing to the dry cleaner’s, paid some bills, picked up a few things that were running low, and arrived back at the Hub just in time to put the first washer load in the tumble drier and bung a second load into the washing machine. It wasn’t until later, when he was folding Jack’s clothes, that he noticed something a bit odd.
“Where are all your socks? Has Myf been stealing them again? I keep telling you not to leave dirty socks where she can get at them.”
“Oh, no, it’s not Myf, I’m just not wearing socks,” Jack replied casually.
“What? Why not?”
“I’ve given them up for Lent,” Jack explained with a bright smile.
Ianto’s bafflement showed on his face. “Your socks? I don’t understand…”
“Well, you said you were giving up chocolate, but I knew I could never do that, or give up coffee like Gwen and Rhys, and then Owen said he was giving up socks, so I figured I could do that easily. My boots chafe a bit, but it’s not too bad, and… Why are you laughing?”
Ianto was practically doubled over, tears streaming down his face.
“What’s so funny?” Now Jack was just as baffled as Ianto had been a few minutes earlier.
“You are!” Ianto choked out. “Owen said he was giving up SEX for Lent, not socks!”
Jack blinked. “He did? Oh. I thought socks seemed a bit of an odd choice, but I figured it must be okay…” Jack trailed off as Ianto continued to laugh. Then something else occurred to him. “But no way am I ever giving up sex!”
“I wouldn’t expect you to,” Ianto assured him, struggling to control his laughter. “I already gave up chocolate; I don’t plan on giving you up as well.” Grinning, he walked over to kiss Jack. “Twpsyn. It’s a good thing I love you so much. Will you be going back to wearing socks now?”
Jack considered that. “No, I don’t think so, at least not until Lent is over. I’d only have to give up something else instead. I miss them, but I think I can live without my socks for a few more weeks.”
“Maybe next year you could try giving up something a bit more traditional.”
“As long as it’s not sex, coffee, chocolate, or you, count me in!”