Characters: Ianto, Jack, Nosy.
Word Count: 1453
Summary: Ianto comes home from a UNIT conference to find that Jack has arranged a special treat for him.
Written For: Challenge 333: Amnesty at fan_flashworks, using Challenge 131: Cake.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
A/N: Also for SciFiGirl88.
Ianto had half expected Jack to be at the railway station to meet him when he arrived back from London. His lover was full of surprises like that. Torchwood being Torchwood, however, he wasn’t surprised when he stepped off the train to find the platform completely empty of immortal captains from the fifty-first century wearing vintage World War Two greatcoats.
Come to think of it, if he HAD been faced with a flock of Jacks that would really have been cause for concern, so perhaps it was just as well there wasn’t even a single Jack in sight. This close to the Rift it wasn’t a good idea to tempt fate.
His good fortune remained with him as he left the station; in spite of all the commuters and other travellers who’d arrived on the same train as him, getting a taxi didn’t prove too difficult and he was soon relaxing in the back seat, glad to be heading home. He could have stopped off at the Hub along the way, just to see what was going on and if he’d missed anything important, but he was tired and had a headache; all he really wanted was to go home, take a shower, and relax somewhere he didn’t have people yelling in both his ears. Silence would be bliss.
It was amazing how exhausting sitting around a table could be, but then that was UNIT for you, turning a simple exchange of information into the Spanish Inquisition, minus the physical torture. Although he should probably report UNIT coffee to the Geneva Convention. Torchwood might not be at war with UNIT, although outsiders might be forgiven for believing they were, but inhumane treatment should be outlawed regardless of circumstances, and the stuff UNIT tried to pass off as coffee certainly counted. Maybe he should campaign for the ethical treatment of people forced to attend conferences. Substandard coffee should be outlawed around the globe; people would thank him.
Almost before Ianto knew it, the taxi pulled up outside the old docklands warehouse where he now lived with Jack and their friendly alien Fluff in their luxuriously spacious penthouse flat. Tipping the cabbie generously, grateful to the man for not talking his ear off beyond asking where he wanted to go, Ianto picked up his briefcase, punched his code into the keypad beside the door, and went inside, passing through the garage area and taking the rickety old freight lift up to the top floor.
The first thing he noticed on entering the flat was a delicious aroma hanging on the air. The second thing he noticed was Jack, naked aside from a frilly pink apron. It was impossible to miss him as he came bounding out of the kitchen, oven mitts in hand, beaming all over his face.
“Ianto! Welcome home! I’ve missed you!”
“You make it sound like I’ve been gone a week at least, when you saw me this morning at breakfast.” Despite his weariness, Ianto couldn’t keep from smiling. Jack’s happiness was infectious.
“But that was hours ago, I’ve been without you all day! Didn’t you miss me?”
What could Ianto say to that? “Of course I did. You know how tedious UNIT conferences are. I had plenty of time to think about where I’d rather be, and who I’d rather be with. It’s good to be home.”
If anything, Jack’s smile became even more dazzling, and Ianto found himself on the receiving end of a kiss that left him close to breathless. Never let it be said that Jack didn’t know the importance of a proper greeting.
“Why don’t you shower, and change into something comfy? When you’re done, I’ve got a special treat for you.”
“A treat? I’m intrigued. Would it have something to do with whatever it is you’ve been baking?”
Jack winked. “It might. You’ll find out soon enough.”
Ianto’s stomach rumbled hungrily; UNIT’s idea of catering at their conferences wasn’t much better than their coffee, consisting largely of limp meat paste sandwiches and an industrial-sized tin of fruit cocktail shared between the attendees. If attendance wasn’t mandatory for heads of departments, no one would bother to show up. They certainly didn’t go for the food.
Patting Nosy in passing, and receiving a friendly hum in response, Ianto made his way upstairs to the master suite, dropping his briefcase on a chair and gratefully shedding his suit and tie. He felt travel-strained and rumpled from his long day.
The shower was heavenly. Jack had thoughtfully set out a fresh bottle of soothing, lavender-scented shower gel, and had even laid Ianto’s favourite comfy slobbing about at home clothes out on their bed; worn jeans and a baggy old sweater he said made Ianto look like a cuddly teddy bear.
Dressed but still barefoot, Ianto padded back down to the lounge, where Jack was laying out plates of assorted foods on the coffee table. There was homemade quiche fresh from the oven, an extravagant mixed salad with everything but the kitchen sink in it, warm bread rolls and a slab of butter, an assortment of cheeses, and in pride of place, a magnificent lemon drizzle cake that set Ianto’s mouth watering. That too was freshly baked, although it had been out of the oven long enough to cool and be properly decorated.
“You did all this for me? It must have taken you hours!”
“The Rift was quiet so I took the afternoon off. I wanted to do something special for you, to make up for having to spend all day in the company of General Burnside and his so-called scientific experts. I know lemon drizzle cake is your favourite, so I found a recipe online. I think it’s turned out rather well.”
Ianto could only agree. “It looks wonderful, Jack. Thank you! I can’t imagine a better surprise.”
Slithering over to join its friends, Nosy reared up to goggle at the feast spread across the low table.
“HUM!” it agreed.
“Sit, eat. I’ll just get a couple of lap trays.” Jack bustled back into the kitchen, bare arse in full view, making Ianto grin. Jack always stripped off when he was baking; said he got too hot otherwise. The sight was almost as enticing as the celebratory welcome home dinner, but right at that moment the food was more important. If things went the way he expected, Ianto confidently anticipated needing as much energy as he could muster for a more intimate celebration of his return home from the wilds of London. His lover never did anything by halves.
Jack was back in moments, with two lap trays, and a dish of salad for Nosy, to which he added some bits of cheese. Nosy hummed its thanks, but waited politely for its friends to serve themselves before tucking in.
Over dinner, Jack filled Ianto in on events at the Hub, which, since it had been a quiet day, mostly consisted of who had played practical jokes on whom, and what had happened when Owen had tried to take a blood sample from an alien they’d captured the previous day. He’d broken three needles trying to pierce its thick hide, and while he was doing that, the alien, standing there quite placidly, had been eating the bottom of his lab coat.
“I hope there’s CCTV footage of that!” Ianto said, chuckling.
“Of course there is. Tosh saved a copy for your entertainment; it’s probably in your email inbox by now.”
First course eaten, it was finally time to sample Jack’s magnificent cake. Fetching more plates and a knife, Jack cut generous slices for all three of them, and Ianto all but swooned with delight at his first taste. The sponge was so light and fluffy it practically melted in his mouth, tart and tangy from the lemon, and yet wonderfully sweet.
“This is heavenly!”
“Mm,” Jack agreed, licking icing from his lips. “Not bad for a first attempt.” He smiled proudly.
“I have a feeling it won’t last for long.” Ianto was already contemplating whether or not he’d have room for a second slice.
“Oh, I wouldn’t worry too much about that,” Jack said with a smug grin. “I made two. I figured that way we really could have our cake and eat it.”
Ianto laughed, headache and tiredness completely forgotten. “You really have thought of everything, haven’t you?”
“When it’s for you, I always do the best I can.”
It was worth sitting through eight hours of tedious UNIT ‘discussions’, Ianto decided, if it meant getting pampered this thoroughly.
“Just give me time to digest my dinner and I’ll show you exactly how much I appreciate your thoughtfulness.”
Jack offered up his best leer. “I’ll look forward to it!”