Characters: Ianto, Jack, Rhiannon, Johnny, Mica, David, OCs.
Summary: Ianto isn’t at all sure whether inviting Jack to Rhi’s birthday party was a wise decision, but it’s a bit too late now.
Word Count: 1203
Written For: juliet316’s prompt ‘Author's choice, author's choice, act properly’ at fic_promptly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
Ianto stopped dead just inside Rhi’s home, taking in the crowd. Aside from family, there looked to be some thirty or so guests at his sister’s birthday bash, no doubt friends and neighbours, and every one of them was now staring at him and Jack. The normal party hubbub had cut off so suddenly you could have heard a pin drop, and Ianto fervently wished the ground would open up and swallow him, or that he hadn’t invited Jack and had just come on his own, but it was too late now. They were already here, their relationship loudly broadcast for all to hear, and Rhi wasn’t going to let them sneak straight back out again, no matter how much Ianto wished he could get away with doing just that.
Rescue came from an unexpected source.
“Uncle Ianto!” Mica came barrelling into him, colliding solidly with his legs and grinning up at him, her brother trailing along behind her looking like a wet weekend. “Do you like my new party dress?” She twirled in front of him, showing it off.
“Very pretty. You look like a princess,” Ianto assured her. “David, what’s got you so gloomy?”
“I wanted to go play football with my friends, but mum said I had to stay here for her stupid party. It’s soooo boring!”
Ianto could sympathise; being a kid at a party where the rest of the guests were adults was no fun for a lively young boy. “Bit wet out for footie though, you’d hardly be able to see the ball through the rain, never mind the goal, and you’d be up to your knees in cold mud, which isn’t as much fun as it sounds.”
“I suppose.” David sighed heavily, obviously feeling the weight of his ten years.
“How about we have a game on your X-Box in a bit?”
“Okay, sure, whatever.” David did his best not to appear too enthusiastic, but Ianto could still tell he was pleased at the prospect.
“Great. Uh, this is my friend, Jack.”
During the distraction of greeting the kids and introducing Jack, who Mica immediately took a shine to, the other party guests had thankfully started talking to each other again, although Ianto was uncomfortably aware of the way he and Jack were still being scrutinised. He nudged his lover with his elbow.
“Act properly while we’re here, Jack,” he hissed.
“By ‘properly’, you mean…?” Jack raised one eyebrow at him curiously.
“You know what I mean; don’t hit on my sister or her guests. And especially don’t hit on my brother-in-law.” He’d just spotted Rhi dragging Johnny away from where he’d been serving drinks in the kitchen, and heading in their direction. “Just shake hands and be polite.”
“I’ll be on my very best behaviour, I promise,” Jack vowed, the twinkle in his eyes belying his serious tone.
“That’s what I’m worried about,” Ianto muttered, before turning to face his sister and her husband. “Johnny. How are you?” He plastered on a polite smile; Johnny treated Rhi and the kids well enough, but Ianto had always felt his sister could have done better for herself. Her husband was rough and ready, his manners generally worse than Jack’s, and he had even less tact than Owen, which was saying something.
“Ianto. Gone bender, have yer? Can’t say I’m all that surprised, not the way you dress, all them smart suits and ties. Always thought you looked a bit of a poofter.”
Ianto repressed a wince at Johnny’s words. Oh yes, this was going to be such a fun party. Where was a Rift alert when he needed one?
“Ianto just has excellent taste and a flawless sense of style, among other impressive attributes,” Jack cut in, answering for him and flashing one of his famous thousand-watt smiles at Johnny.
“Jack,” Ianto warned.
“What? It’s the truth! I mean just look at me! I’m quite a catch; handsome, charming, witty, an amazing lo…”
Ianto dug his elbow sharply into Jack’s gut before he could continue by extolling his virtues in bed, drawing a pained ‘oof’ from his lover. “That’s enough from you.”
Jack pouted like a five-year-old. Mica could have taken lessons from him.
“Is he always like this?” Rhi asked, eyeing Jack curiously.
“Believe it or not, this is Jack on his best behaviour,” Ianto told his sister with a put-upon sigh. “Can’t take him anywhere. Not in polite company at least.”
“Why d’you put up with him then?”
Ianto thought that was a bit rich considering who she was married to; he could have asked her the same thing about Johnny, but he held his tongue. Someone in the family needed to show some manners, and no one else was likely to.
“Sometimes I wonder that myself,” he said wryly. “He does have his good points though.”
Jack opened his mouth to say something, probably a list of what he considered his good points, but Ianto fixed him with a glare that promised dire retribution if he didn’t keep quiet, so he sensibly shut it again.
“Well, it’s obvious who wears the pants in your relationship,” Rhi teased, and Jack nodded, pointing at Ianto.
“He does. If I don’t behave, he punishes me with decaf,” he informed Rhi in a stage whisper, eyes wide and an expression of abject horror on his face.
Surprisingly, Johnny slapped a hand on Jack’s shoulder in commiseration. “Now that’s just cruel. A man needs his coffee.” He looked from Jack to Ianto and back again. “Right, what’re you two drinking? Beer? I got the good stuff; Brains, none of that cheap lager.”
Ianto would have liked something stronger to get through the next hour or so before he could decently make his excuses and leave, but getting hammered wouldn’t help in the long run, and wouldn’t set a good example in front of the kids, so beer would have to do. Besides, he was ravenously hungry from his earlier exertions, chasing aliens really worked up an appetite, and the buffet spread looked amazing. It was Rhi’s party, but he could guess that she’d had to organise the whole thing herself, including preparing all the food. It was highly unlikely that Johnny would have lifted a finger beyond organising the booze.
Accepting their drinks from Johnny, Ianto and Jack carried their pint glasses over to the buffet, filled their plates, and mingled with Rhi’s guests just long enough to appear polite before retreating to a corner of the living room to play video games with the kids. That was way more fun than making small talk with a bunch of strangers who were conspicuously not asking any of the personal questions about him and Jack they were clearly dying to know the answers to.
As David loaded a game into the console, Ianto glanced sidelong at Jack who, courtesy of Mica, was now adorned with clip-on earrings and a purple feather boa. He couldn’t help smiling at the sight; Jack looked completely at home. Despite his fears, introducing his lover to his family hadn’t gone all that badly, and the kids seemed to like him, especially Mica. Maybe inviting Jack hadn’t been the terrible mistake he’d imagined it might be.