Title: First Date Nerves
Characters/Pairing: Jack/Ianto, a few random OCs
Word Count: 2,836
Summary: Jack has planned the perfect first date, for himself and Ianto, but somehow things don’t quite go as planned.
Spoilers: Teeny one for Kiss Kiss Bang Bang I guess, and for Doctor Who, The Sound of Drums.
Warnings: None really. If you’ve read my fics before, you know what to expect – humour, fluff and silliness, with a little romance thrown in for good measure.
Written For: My cottoncandy_bingo square ‘It’s the thought that counts.’
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood or any of the characters. Which is sad.
A/N: The greatly expanded version of my drabble ‘Not Quite As Planned’
A/N2: I have this provisionally listed as being for my bingo square ‘It’s the thought that counts’, so I’d appreciate your opinions, my dear readers – does it fit well enough? I hope it does because that means I’ll have one fewer still to write…
Jack was nervous; this would be his first proper date with Ianto, and he wanted it to be perfect. He hadn’t taken anyone on a date in more than twenty years, wasn’t even sure if dating conventions had changed over the last couple of decades, but he figured dinner and a movie would be a fairly safe option; it had served him well in the past. He knew Ianto liked a good movie, a bit of escapism from the insanity that was the life of a Torchwood employee, and really you couldn’t go wrong with food.
Still, he was nervous. Would Ianto like the restaurant? It was small, intimate, romantic… would he think that was too much for a first date? Maybe he should have picked somewhere less cosy, but the table was already booked, it was too late for a change of plans now.
Fretting, Jack hurried into his shower only to discover he was out of shower gel, so he used shampoo instead, hoping Ianto wouldn’t notice that his entire body smelled of apples.
Ianto was nervous. This was a huge step in his and Jack’s… whatever it was. He wondered where Jack would be taking him for their date. Jack had said ‘Dinner and a movie’, but Ianto had no idea which restaurant. Pulling on his suit pants, he wondered if he should have chosen a more casual ensemble, then caught sight of the clock. It was too late to change his mind now; he’d just have to wear what he’d already picked out: a dark grey pinstripe with a red shirt and a silver grey tie. He laced his shoes and slipped into his jacket, picking up phone and keys and slipping them into the appropriate pockets. It was 6.55 pm, Jack would be here in a few minutes.
Jack was running a little late, mostly because when he’d pulled his shirt on, he’d somehow managed to pull both cuff buttons off and had to find another shirt. Then he’d had to iron the other shirt because it looked like he’d slept in it. He gave it a quick sniff, just to be sure he hadn’t. It smelled of detergent, so it had to be clean, he must not have put it away carefully enough.
The hands of his watch edged past 7 pm as he slipped the replacement shirt on, taking more care this time. He’d told Ianto he’d pick him up around 7, but he wasn’t too worried about being a little late, he’d allowed extra time in case of delays. Their reservation was for 7.45; there would probably even be time for them to have a drink before dinner.
Grabbing his suit jacket, Jack headed up the ladder from his bunker and out to the garage, where he discovered he’d picked up the SUV keys instead of the keys to his personal car. Hurrying back to his bunker, he grabbed the correct keys, and his wallet, which he’d put with his car keys so he wouldn’t forget it, and ran back to the garage. It was nearly 7.15 now, but there was still plenty of time as long as he didn’t dawdle.
Ianto checked his watch again; it was 7.15. He supposed Jack had been held up and hoped it wasn’t by something serious enough that they’d have to cancel their date. Nervous though he was, he’d been looking forward to tonight, and he thought Jack had too. Maybe Jack was having second thoughts.
Before he really had a chance to worry about that possibility, the doorbell rang and he opened the door to reveal a rather flustered Jack, looking very dashing in a black suit and deep blue shirt, but with a sheepish look on his face and a rather crumpled bunch of flowers in one hand.
“Sorry I’m late, took longer to get ready than I‘d expected. I bought you flowers,” he added, holding them out.
Ianto accepted them cautiously.
“Thank you. They’re… lovely.”
“They’re a bit bent, sorry. I left them in the car so I wouldn’t forget them, then forgot they were there and sat on them.”
“Ah. Well, I’ll just pop them in water, then we can go.”
Ianto retreated to the kitchen, leaving Jack standing in the hallway, and put the flowers in a vase. Maybe a bit of water would perk them up. A few petals fell off in the sink. He shrugged, set the vase on the kitchen table and hurried to rejoin Jack.
“Ready to go?” Jack asked as Ianto approached him.
“Yep. You look amazing, by the way.”
“So do you.” Jack held out his hand and after a moment’s hesitation, Ianto took it. Beaming at him, Jack led him out to the car.
Thankfully, traffic was light and the drive to the restaurant was going well, the two of them chatting companionably. Then Jack, paying more attention to what Ianto was saying than to where they were going, missed his turning and suddenly they were on a one-way street, which might have been okay if they hadn’t been going the wrong way and if a police car hadn’t passed them, going the right way. Next thing Ianto knew, they were being pulled over.
“Sir, are you aware that you’re driving the wrong way down a one way street?”
“Yes, I know, I’m sorry. I took a wrong turn and then there was no way to turn around.”
“Let me see your licence and registration, please.”
Jack patted his pockets, an expression of horror on his face as he turned to Ianto. “I think my licence is still in my coat, at home.”
Ianto lifted his head from where he was rummaging in the car’s glove compartment.
“Don’t you keep your licence in your wallet?” he asked, locating the car’s registration documents and trying unsuccessfully to flatten them out.
Jack’s eyes widened comically. “Yes! You’re a genius!” Thank goodness Ianto remembered there was a duplicate there. Pulling out his wallet, Jack dug through it, scattering the contents over both seats and the floor while Ianto tried to retrieve everything. Finally, he passed his licence and the crumpled registration documents out the car window to the waiting policeman.
“I’m really sorry, I just got a bit lost.”
The constable went back to his car to check that Jack’s licence and registration were genuine and that he wasn’t wanted for anything, returning everything a few minutes later.
“Right, Mr Harkness, I’m going to let you off with a warning this time as it’s your first offence, just be more careful in future.”
“Yes, I will, I promise. Thank you.” He handed the documents to Ianto, who put them back where they belonged before returning Jack’s wallet. The constable helpfully stopped oncoming traffic for a moment to allow Jack to turn his car around and off they went again. A glance at his watch told Jack that it was now 7.40; they were going to be late for their reservation.
It was 8.05 by the time they finally stepped through the door of the restaurant. Ianto had phoned ahead once Jack had told him where they were going and asked for their table to be held as they were running a bit late due to unforeseen circumstances.
It was lovely. The lights were low while the tables, set with flickering candles, were spaced far enough apart to give the illusion of privacy. Ianto was impressed; he hadn’t even known this place existed.
The maitre d’ ushered them to their table and an unobtrusive waiter brought menus.
“Just let me know when you’re ready to order, Sirs.”
For a while they sat in a comfortable silence, perusing their menus. Everything looked so good, Ianto hardly knew what to choose, but eventually they signalled to their waiter and gave him their order.
As soon as they were alone again, Jack reached across the table to take Ianto’s hand, somehow managing to catch his sleeve on the candleholder as he did so and knocking it over. Instantly, the tablecloth and napkins ignited. Jack and Ianto both leapt to their feet and Jack, spotting a waiter passing by with a tray of drinks, grabbed the nearest glass and flung its contents over the table in an attempt to douse the flames. It was sheer bad luck that the glass he’d grabbed turned out to be a snifter of brandy. The flames leapt higher, the restaurant started to fill with smoke, alarms went off and then the sprinkler system kicked in. Everyone in the restaurant abandoned their meals and bolted for the nearest exit, the restaurant staff hot on their heels.
By the time the firemen arrived, the fire had already been put out by the sprinklers, but there was no way anyone would be dining there that night; the entire place would have to be dried out and cleaned before it could open for business again.
Damp would-be diners stood around in pairs and small clumps, looking disoriented and bewildered, as the harassed looking manager moved among them, promising free meals once they re-opened and compensation for their ruined outfits and hair-dos.
Jack approached the manager, looking distraught.
“I’m so sorry, this is all my fault. I will of course pay for all repairs.” He was practically wringing his hands. How had his oh so carefully planned date turned into such a disaster?
The manager, taking pity on him, patted Jack’s damp sleeve reassuringly.
“Thank you, sir, it’s good of you to offer but the insurance will take care of everything. It really wasn’t your fault. I’ve warned the owner time and again that something like this could happen. ‘The candles give a lovely ambience,’ I told him, ‘but we really need non-flammable tablecloths in case of mishaps.’ Does he listen though? Not on your life. Maybe now he will.” He patted Jack’s arm again and continued, “I hope this unfortunate incident won’t dissuade you from dining here in future,” and he bustled away to soothe the frazzled nerves of another group of diners.
Jack turned mournfully to Ianto.
“Guess there’s no point hanging around here, I’d better just take you home.” Shoulders slumping, he set off towards where they’d parked the car.
Ianto jogged after him.
“Hey, wait up. I thought we were on a date.”
Jack stopped dead and stared at him incredulously.
“We were, but it’s been a disaster! We got stopped by the police, I set fire to the restaurant and now we’re both wet and the restaurant is closed.”
The corner of Ianto’s mouth twitched.
“You sat on the flowers too, don’t forget that.”
Jack groaned and ran his hands through his damp hair.
“I wanted this evening to be romantic,” he said plaintively, turning away once more to resume his trek across the car park.
Ianto stared after him for a moment, eyebrows nearly vanishing into his hairline, then burst out laughing, causing Jack to turn back with a wounded expression on his face.
“Romantic? No. Unforgettable? Definitely. I am never going to forget this evening for as long as I live. But you know what?” He waved vaguely around him. “None of this matters. You planned a wonderful date, and I really appreciate that. It didn’t quite go to plan, but I don’t care. You’re here, with me, because you want to be, and that’s all that matters. We still have the rest of the evening ahead of us; let’s not waste it on regrets over what might have been. I was so nervous about tonight, thinking of everything that could go wrong, but I never anticipated any of this.” He chuckled ruefully. “If we can survive this date, we can survive anything. How does Chinese and a bottle of wine back at my place sound?”
Jack stared at him open mouthed in amazement, before breaking into a soft smile; not the cheesy, megawatt grin he used on everyone else, but a genuine smile, full of warmth and affection.
“Ianto Jones, you are the most amazing man I’ve ever met. What did I ever do to deserve you?” he asked. “I take you on the date from Hell, and you just shrug it off and with a few words, turn it into one of the best evenings of my life.”
Ianto chuckled again.
“The old adage had it right, Jack. It really is the thought that went into your plans that counts, not the less than perfect reality. And the evening’s not over yet,” he added with a suggestive smirk.
Jack’s smile widened.
“No it’s not, not by a long shot!” he stated decisively. Suddenly he felt like a huge weight had been lifted off his shoulders; where a few minutes ago he’d believed the whole evening was ruined, now it was full of potential. “What were you saying about takeaway and wine?”
“I’ve got a rather good White Burgundy in the fridge at home and that little Chinese takeaway we like isn’t far. It might not be the dinner we were going to have, but right now it sounds pretty good to me. We’ll get out of these wet clothes and into something dry, put a DVD on and just relax in front of the telly.”
“Sounds good to me too.” Jack took both of Ianto’s hands in his and leant in to kiss him lightly on the nose, giving it a quick lick in parting. “And then after dinner… Well, I’m sure we can think of some way to entertain ourselves.”
“Oh, I think that’s pretty much guaranteed,” Ianto agreed with a smirk.
Later that night, very much later in fact, when he was lying in Ianto’s bed with a sated, sleeping Ianto sprawled half across him (it amused Jack no end that the normally immaculate Ianto was so untidy in sleep), Jack reflected on their date. In spite of all the things that had gone wrong, he realised it had been as close to perfect as any date he’d ever had because in the end, it wasn’t the events that mattered, but the person he was sharing them with.
They’d picked up an assortment of dishes from the takeaway and driven back to Ianto’s flat with mouth-watering aromas filling the car. Ianto hadn’t waited until they were home to start eating; instead, he’d opened one of the containers almost immediately, alternating feeding Jack morsels as he drove and feeding himself.
Back at the flat, they’d dumped the rest of their dinner on the coffee table, shrugged out of their damp clothes, leaving them draped over chairs to dry, then pulled on sweatshirts and track pants from Ianto’s wardrobe. Ianto turned up the heat and fetched the wine, glasses and plates from the kitchen while Jack picked out a DVD and switched on the TV, then they’d snuggled together on the couch to eat, piling their plates full and feeding each other morsels as they laughed at the movie.
The food was tasty, the wine was excellent, the ambience was cosy and intimate and the movie entertaining. They’d watched it to the end, wrapped around each other and tangled in the throw Ianto kept on the back of the couch for chilly evenings. Warm, dry and stuffed with good food, slightly tipsy from the wine, they’d giggled and groped each other until the final credits rolled then cleared up the remains of their meal and headed for the bedroom to entertain each other in an altogether more physical but extremely satisfying way.
Ianto twitched in his sleep, emitting a soft snore and making Jack chuckle. The vibration deep in Jack’s chest half roused the sleeping Welshman, who opened one eye and glared at him accusingly.
“You’re thinking too loud. Go to sleep.”
“Yes, Sir!” Jack grinned down at his drowsy lover, dropping a kiss on the top of his head and pinching him playfully on the arse, where his hand just happened to be conveniently resting.
Ianto bit Jack on the chest in retaliation, making him yelp. Satisfied that he’d made his point, he settled down again, head on Jack’s chest.
“Did you know you smell of apples?” he mumbled as he drifted back to sleep.
Smiling contentedly, Jack wrapped his arms more securely around Ianto and closed his eyes. Coming back from his time with The Doctor and his ordeal at the hands of the insane Time Lord who called himself the Master had been difficult. For weeks he’d struggled to fit back into his old life, feeling a bit like a spare part that no one quite knew what to do with and wondering if his team even really needed him anymore.
But here, curled up in Ianto’s bed with Ianto himself warm and alive in his arms and soft moonlight bathing them both through a gap in the curtains, Jack finally knew for sure that he was right where he belonged. This, more than any place in the universe or moment in time, was home, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.