Characters: Ianto, Jack.
Summary: Jack has never grown up, and now he wants Ianto to join in his childish games!
Word Count: 1077
Written For: Prompt 023 – Inner Child at fandomweekly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
“Hold this for a minute, would you?” Shrugging out of his greatcoat, Jack thrust it at Ianto before darting away into the children’s play area, which was completely deserted since it was getting on towards one in the morning.
Shaking out Jack’s coat and draping it over one arm, Ianto watched, rolling his eyes heavenward, as his lover made a beeline for the slide, scrambling up the ladder, then sliding down with an exuberant “Wheeeeeeee!” As soon as he reached the bottom he was straight back up the ladder again, repeating the whole process, over and over.
“Just how old do you think you are?” Ianto asked as Jack abruptly changed direction and headed for the roundabout, pushing it around and around until he’d got it going at a good speed before jumping aboard. “This playground is for little kids!” he added, raising his voice.
“Make it go faster?” Jack had his head tipped back, watching the stars whirl giddily above him.
“No, I’m not making it go faster. You’re supposed to be an adult; try acting like one for once!”
Jack turned and jumped from the still-spinning roundabout, stumbling slightly on landing and stalking a little unsteadily over to Ianto.
“You know your problem?” he said, fixing Ianto with a stern stare. “You’ve forgotten how to have fun. You’re twenty-six going on sixty! You know I love you, but you’re always trying so hard to be a responsible adult I sometimes look at you and wonder if you were ever a child at all.”
“Of course I was a child, but then I grew up, which is a stage of life you apparently chose to skip over.”
“I can act as responsibly as you can, when it’s warranted. The difference is, I don’t feel the need to be responsible every minute of every day. I know how to let my hair down and have fun. You need to learn to embrace your inner child; then maybe you wouldn’t be so stressed all the time.”
“Yes, you are. You know the real reason people have kids? So they have a good excuse to play, splashing in puddles, jumping in piles of leaves, building snowmen, riding the swings, and the roundabout, and… Here.” Jack took his coat and draped it over one of the bars of the climbing frame before grabbing Ianto by the hand. “Come on the seesaw with me.”
Ianto pulled back. “Jack, I don’t think that’s a good idea…”
“Why not? It’s not like you’ll ruin your suit; you’re wearing jeans.”
“But shouldn’t we get that,” Ianto pointed at the containment box sitting on the ground nearby, “back to the Hub?”
“It’s just a Gyurian prayer wheel, Ianto, nothing dangerous. Besides, not like it’s going to suddenly sprout little legs and walk off, is it? Now stop worrying about every little thing and try to remember what it was like to be young and carefree! What harm can it possibly do?”
Knowing Jack wasn’t likely to give up, Ianto reluctantly surrendered to the inevitable. “Fine, but only for a few minutes, then we really have to get back to the Hub if we want to get any sleep tonight.”
“You can have a lie in tomorrow to catch up on your beauty sleep.”
“Right, because what could possibly go wrong if I’m not there to keep you lot organised?”
“This is exactly what I was taking about! You’re such a worrywart,” Jack accused.
“Someone has to make sure things get done.”
“But not right now. Tonight you’re going to forget all about responsibility for a bit and just have fun, starting with the seesaw.” Jack firmly dragged Ianto in that direction.
And it was fun bouncing up and down, if a bit hard on the leg muscles after a while, so then Jack dragged Ianto onto the slide, which brought back happy childhood memories, although Ianto refused point blank to go “Wheeeee!” all the way down like Jack did. He had to preserve some degree of dignity.
The roundabout was next, with both of them scooting hard against the ground with one foot, trying to make it go faster and faster, so that when they did eventually get off, neither of them could walk straight and they wound up tangled together in a giggling heap on the grass.
They hung upside down from the climbing frame next, feeling the blood rushing to their heads, then after some hesitation, remembering how he’d broken his leg when he was twelve, Ianto let himself be persuaded onto the swings.
“As long as you don’t push me…”
“I’ll be on the swing next to yours; you’ll have to push yourself, I’m not doing it for you.”
The few minutes Ianto had stipulated soon turned into half an hour, and still they played. As they jumped off the swings, Jack persuaded Ianto onto one of the two rocking horses standing on their massive central springs, mounting the other one himself and declaring it a race. They swayed backwards and forwards, urging their mounts faster, neck-and-neck the whole way since both were firmly anchored into the concrete beneath the safety matting.
Jack’s horse rocked more and more violently as he stood on the footrests, leaning forward over its neck like a champion jockey, until…
The horse lurched forward, and Jack flew head over heels, landing flat on his back with the horse on top of him, its spring sheared in half. Lying there winded, he stared up into the stern face of one of Cardiff’s finest.
“Damaging public property,” Ianto sighed, sitting beside Jack in the holding cell. “This is what I get for embracing my inner child! I should never have listened to you. I didn’t even cause any damage, but I’m stuck in here anyway. Guilt by association.”
To make matters worse, while they’d been indulging themselves in childish games, someone had nicked their containment unit, complete with the prayer wheel inside. Ianto wasn’t sure which he was more annoyed about, getting arrested, or losing the alien artefact. It didn’t matter that it wasn’t something dangerous; there were reasons why anything of alien origin needed to be kept out of the wrong hands.
“It was fun though, wasn’t it?” said Jack. “Until I broke my horse.”
Ianto would have liked to give Jack an earful about carelessness and irresponsibility, but that would have been hypocritical. Instead, he smiled wryly. “Yes,” he admitted. “It was fun.”