Title: The Curry Club
Characters/Pairings: Ianto, Tosh, Ianto/Jack, Tosh/Owen, mentions Ianto/Lisa
Word Count: 1106
Summary: Friendships can begin in the most inauspicious circumstances.
Spoilers: For Cyberwoman, Countrycide, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, also Reset and Exit Wounds with an AU twist
Warnings: Goes a little AU
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood or any of the characters. Which is sad.
A/N: For janie_17 for leaving the 900th review on my ff.net drabble collection. She asked: ‘How about some Ianto/Tosh friendship that includes curry. No idea, why curry, it just kind of popped into my head!’ So here it is, hope you like it!
Ianto had liked Tosh the moment he’d met her; he’d felt that, given different circumstances, they could have been good friends, but at the time he’d been intent on distancing himself from his new colleagues. After all, he wasn’t planning on sticking around once he found a way to cure Lisa.
Then his plans had fallen apart; Lisa proved she was beyond saving by trying to upgrade the team. His dreams in tatters, and faced with suspicion, resentment and barely concealed hostility from the others, he was surprised to see only sympathy and understanding in Tosh’s eyes.
Still, he kept his distance from her, not feeling he deserved any kindness after almost unleashing the Cybermen once more on an unsuspecting world. The deaths of poor Annie and Professor Tanizaki weighed heavily on him.
But the events of their trip to the Brecon Beacons changed everything. In retrospect, the team-bonding exercise wasn’t a complete failure. Being held prisoner and facing death together had given him a new respect for Tosh and her abilities as a field agent. He’d never seen her in a dangerous situation before and was amazed by how calm she remained, even when he himself was on the ragged edge of blind panic. Knowing she was better equipped to find a way out of their situation, he’d risked his own life to help her escape, and in a round about way, it had paid off. Against all odds, they’d survived, thanks to a timely rescue by the man he’d once vowed to watch suffer and die. He’d thought Jack a monster; it had taken nearly getting eaten by cannibals to show him what a real monster was. Well, if nothing else, the trip had been educational.
What had been most unexpected was the bond that had developed between himself and Tosh during the time they’d been held captive. Ianto realised that not only could he trust her with his life, but also that he’d willingly sacrifice his life to save hers. In the midst of one of the most terrifying experiences of his entire life, somehow they’d become firm friends.
Neither of them wanting to be alone after what they’d been through, Tosh had asked Jack to drop them both at Ianto’s flat, after stopping briefly at her house so she could pick up a change of clothes and some DVDs.
Hungry, but unable to face the thought of meat, they’d dragged out everything they could find in Ianto’s kitchen and knocked together the most outlandish vegetable curry ever invented. Jostling each other as they juggled pans and sliced and diced half-shrivelled vegetables in Ianto’s tiny kitchen, they put on ridiculous accents, pretending to be TV chefs, and laughing themselves silly. The laughter hurt like hell because of his cracked ribs, but at the same time it felt amazing. Ianto knew the euphoria of being alive would probably wear off before long, so he decided to enjoy it while he could.
Surprisingly, the curry had turned out to be pretty good despite them not having a recipe and only a vague idea of what they were doing. They’d enjoyed the cooking and the camaraderie so much that they decided to have another go, but with a recipe next time.
Thus the Curry Club was born. Every two or three weeks, when they both managed to have an afternoon or evening off together, they’d choose one of the recipes they’d downloaded from the internet, buy fresh ingredients, and head to one of their homes to make a curry. With their plates piled high and iced water close to hand, they’d slump in front of the TV and watch old black and white movies while they ate. It was a welcomed respite from the insanity of their working lives.
When Jack disappeared, running off with his Doctor, the Curry Club became a weekly event, although they often didn’t have time to cook and bought takeaway instead. They’d sit in front of the TV, eat and complain about their colleagues. Sometimes they’d talk about Jack; how much they both missed him and how much they hated him for just leaving them without a word. Their friendship kept them both going through the difficult months without their leader, when the whole team felt rudderless and adrift.
Of course, just when they all finally started to pull together as a team, their wayward leader decided to return and upset the fragile balance again. Worse, the ex from hell showed up and had them all chasing non-existent threats, leaving most of the team battered and bruised, as well as royally pissed off.
With Jack back in charge, it took a while for the team to find their balance again, and once more the Curry Club provided the two friends with a bit of much needed normality.
Time passed and things changed. Ianto and Jack grew closer, their relationship blossoming. Owen nearly died, which seemed to be the wake-up call he’d needed, and after saving Tosh’s life when she was shot by Jack’s little brother, he finally asked her out. Of course, Tosh said yes. Suddenly the Curry Club had doubled its membership and Jack decided a larger kitchen was needed. He and Ianto bought a house and within a few months, Tosh and Owen found a place of their own just down the street.
Life went on.
They’re getting older now, children grown up and moved away. Torchwood is in the hands of younger, fitter people. Curry Club meetings are rare because of the distances involved, but the two friends still keep in touch. Jack and Ianto try to get back to earth once or twice a year, for special occasions; neither of them looks any older. Sometimes Tosh is a little envious, but then she thinks about how they’ll go on, outliving their friends and even their own children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren… She knows she wouldn’t trade places, even if she could. Earth is her home and she has a good life here, surrounded by those she loves. She misses Ianto, but she’s happy for him. After fifty years and countless curries, their friendship is as strong as ever.
Tosh smiles to herself. Ianto and Jack will be here soon. Ianto phoned ahead and told her they were bringing the curry, so she sets the plates to warm. Owen is dozing in his chair; she’ll wake him soon to get ready for their guests, but for now she just wants to sit in the quiet for a while and remember how it all began with wilted vegetables and a jar of curry powder, in a tiny kitchen so long ago.