Title: Getting Creative – Sequel to ‘Beginnings’
Characters: Jack, Ianto, Andy, assorted OCs
Word Count: 2682
Summary: Jack, Ianto and Andy finally get to be in another school play together, much to their delight.
Warnings: Completely AU, set in a universe where Torchwood doesn’t exist.
Written For: My cottoncandy_bingo square Building/Creating Something.
Beta: The wonderful zazajb, my advisor in all things school related. Thanks so much, your advice and assistance have been invaluable!
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood or any of the characters. Which is sad.
A/N: This is the second in a series of AU stories for different prompts on my bingo card, following Jack and Ianto through their school years and beyond. There are seven in total, of wildly varying lengths.
When Ianto and Jack moved up to year 3, they were put in the same class; better yet, they got to sit together. They couldn’t have been happier and as the end of the school year approached, they made plans to audition for the end of year play. But on the day the auditions were held, Ianto was off school with chicken pox. That evening, Ianto’s mam let him phone Jack.
“What part did you get?” asked Ianto, both excited for his friend and disappointed for himself.
“I didn’t go to the try-outs.”
That was a surprise. They’d both been so excited about being in another play that they’d been talking about it non-stop since it had been announced three weeks earlier.
“It didn’t feel right without you. Besides, I didn’t want to be in Mother Goose anyway. It’s a silly pantomime, not a proper play; it’s for kids!”
“We are kids, silly!”
“I know, but that play’s for the little kids. Next year we’ll be in Year 4 and it’ll be a better play. We can get parts in that. Okay?”
“Okay. I would’ve helped you practice though. You know; if you’d got a part.”
“I know you would. You’re my best friend! I didn’t like being at school without you; it was weird. How d’you feel?”
“I itch a lot. It’s horrible. I want to scratch, but mam says I mustn’t. She puts all this cold, pink stuff on my spots. It helps for a bit, but then I’m all itchy again. And I’m bored. There’s nothing much to do on my own except read or watch telly, but there’s nothing good on.”
”You’ll be better soon then we can play together again. I miss you!”
“I miss you too. I wish we could play together now.”
The next morning Jack woke up covered in spots and itching. His mom dropped him off at Ianto’s house because Ianto’s mother said she didn’t mind looking after both of them while Jack’s mom was at work. They played together all day, and every day after that until they both stopped itching and could go back to school.
Jack didn’t mind a bit. After all, he and Ianto shared everything, even spots. That’s just what best friends did.
When the boys were eight, The Wizard of Oz was announced as the end of year play for Year 4. The two friends were the first to put their names down.
They read the book together while waiting for audition day, and watched the movie several times to prepare. When the day finally arrived they got to the school hall early, excited to finally have the chance to be in another play together. Jack knew which part he wanted to play, but the teacher in charge, Mrs Hutchins, had other ideas.
“No, Jack, you can’t play Dorothy. It’s a girl’s role.”
“Because Dorothy is a girl’s name. Anyway, Kathy is going to be Dorothy.”
Jack sighed resignedly.
“Well, what part can I play?”
“I thought you, Ianto and Andy could be the Tin Man, Scarecrow and Cowardly Lion. Why don’t you decide among yourselves which part you want to play while I’m choosing the Munchkins?”
As Mrs Hutchins bustled away, the three boys looked at each other.
“Well, I’d rather not be the scarecrow,” said Ianto, “All the straw would be itchy.” He felt he’d endured enough itchiness with the chicken pox to last him a lifetime.
Andy’s grandparents lived on a farm so he was used to straw.
“I don’t mind being the Scarecrow, I can wear some of my granddad’s old clothes.”
Jack thought hard.
“Okay. That leaves the Cowardly Lion and the Tin Man. I don’t mind being either. Ianto, you choose.”
Ianto tilted his head to one side, deep in thought. Finally, he turned to Jack.
“I’ll be the Tin Man. We’ve got some silver spray paint at home, left over from Christmas and there’s always lots of cardboard from the shop, it shouldn’t be too hard to make the costume. I have some ideas.” Ianto was pretty good at making things.
“Great! That makes me the Cowardly Lion,” Jack grinned. “It’ll be cool to have a tail. Mom’s no good at sewing though, so we might have to buy a lion outfit.”
“Maybe we could make it ourselves. My mam might help, she can sew, and so can I a bit. She’s been teaching my sister. I watch. I’m sure we can work something out.”
As always, Jack was impressed. Ianto was the best when it came to organising stuff. Jack was positive his friend could do just about anything.
“Now,” said Mrs Hutchins, “don’t forget to ask your parents to sign your forms. If you need help with costumes, ask Mr Williams or Miss Cooper. Rehearsals will be after school every Tuesday and Thursday, starting next week.”
Mr Williams taught art while Miss Cooper taught the girls sewing.
“At least we can ask for help if we need it,” said Andy.
“We should try by ourselves first though,” he decided. “They’ll probably be busy helping the other kids whose parents are too busy to help them.”
“Let’s meet up at morning break and we can start planning.”
Break time finally arrived and Andy ran over to Jack and Ianto as soon as he spotted them across the playground. Ianto was already writing in a scruffy old notebook that went everywhere with him.
“Hi, Andy. I’ve been thinkin’. If you get some old clothes from your granddad, d’you think he’ll let you have some straw too?”
“Don’t see why not, there’s always loads on the farm. We’re going to visit on Saturday so I’ll ask him then.”
“Great! A hat would be good too. The Scarecrow in the movie had a hat so you should too. If your granddad doesn’t have one, I think my sister’s got an old straw sunhat that’ll do. My costume should be easy too, but I’m not sure about Jack’s.” He looked up at Jack. “You’d better talk to your mam and I’ll ask mine. I think I know how to do your feet; we’ll just need an old pair of trainers, some brown fur and glue. We could maybe stick fur on some gloves for your hands. Dunno about the rest yet. Maybe an old pair of jammies, or track pants and jumper. Got to get the colour right though, lions are sort of light brown.”
“What are jammies?” asked Jack, confused. Ianto was his very best friend ever, but sometimes he used really weird words.
“Pyjamas, dummy!” Ianto shoved Jack playfully and soon they were wresting each other and laughing, all thoughts of planning forgotten.
The week before rehearsals started was very busy. Jack and Ianto spent every evening after school collecting bits and pieces together and working on their costumes. Jack’s mother dyed an old pair of tracksuit pants golden brown to almost match an old sweater she’d found in a charity shop, so the lion’s body was ready. Ianto helped Jack make the tail from a long piece of cloth folded in half, sewn down the side and stuffed with old tights. It was a bit lumpy but it looked okay once they’d stuck a tuft of fur on one end and sewn the other end to the back of the pants.
Ianto’s mother helped with the lion’s head, sewing fur to the hood of Ianto’s old, outgrown parka. Two felt ears stuck out of the fur and when Jack tried in on he really felt like a lion. He grinned at Ianto, roared and chased him around the room, with Ianto giggling and pretending to be afraid. It was brilliant!
Old furry gloves and the pair of trainers they’d covered in fur completed the outfit.
Making Ianto’s Tin Man costume was taking longer. There was a lot of measuring and cutting to be done before all the pieces of cardboard could be spray-painted and left to dry. A big plastic cooking funnel that had been lying around the kitchen forever was painted silver as well. That would be Ianto’s hat. The two boys spent most of Saturday afternoon in the garden painting everything they would need, under the supervision of Ianto’s father. That was a lot of fun, though they had to be careful not to get the paint on the wrong things. Jack’s parents would have gone nuts if he’d come home with silver paint all over him!
Andy came by early on Saturday evening to show his friends what he’d got from his grandparents for his scarecrow costume. There was a big, floppy-brimmed hat that used to be his grandma’s, a baggy old shirt and an old suit with braces to hold the trousers up. His mother was going to shorten the sleeves and trouser legs so they fitted him a bit better. He had a bag of straw too, just in case it was needed. Ianto thought there should at least be straw coming out of the bottom of Andy’s sleeves, so Andy promised to talk to his mother about it. He didn’t want to let his friends down by not looking scarecrow-y enough. Not when they were working so hard on their own costumes.
The kids who were in the play got their scripts first thing on Monday morning, so at break time Andy joined Jack and Ianto, they found a quiet corner and started learning their lines. They had as lot more to say than when they’d been angels; remembering it all would be hard, except for Ianto who always seemed to remember everything. They had a few weeks before the play though, so Jack thought maybe it would be okay. Anyway, if he or Andy forgot their lines on the night, he knew Ianto would remind them.
Tuesday came and after school they headed for the hall for the first rehearsal. It was a horrible muddle. No one knew where to stand or what to do, everyone kept losing their places in their scripts and some of the Munchkins got into a fight. Then the Wicked Witch of the West fell over and started crying.
Ianto looked at Jack and rolled his eyes.
“I don’t think Wicked Witches are supposed to cry.”
Jack laughed at his best friend’s exasperated expression.
“She’s still a girl and girls always cry. It’s just what they do.”
“I suppose.” Ianto held out his hand. “Come on, let’s go practice our lines while Mrs Hutchins sorts everyone out.”
Jack nodded, took Ianto’s hand and they wandered over to the side of the stage.
“Maybe one day we’ll be proper actors,” Jack said. “That would be so cool!”
Ianto nodded eagerly.
“I’d like that. Then we could always be in plays together.”
“That’s what we’ll do then,” Jack decided, grinning all over his face.
The weeks before the play flew past. Rehearsals gradually improved as everyone got used to what they were supposed to be doing.
On the days they didn’t rehearse at school, Jack and Ianto practised their lines together while working on Ianto’s costume, turning the pieces of painted cardboard into different sized tubes by punching holes in two edges and lacing them together. Ianto knew he would need to be laced into the main body part, but the legs and arms, each in two pieces, would slip on, then have to be loosely tied to the body with bits of elastic so he could walk and move his arms. There were shoulder straps on the body section so it wouldn’t fall down and a chinstrap on the funnel hat to keep it on. To complete the outfit, Ianto had silver painted sneakers and thin light grey gloves that nearly matched the pyjamas he’d be wearing underneath everything.
“You’re going to look brilliant,” Jack told his friend.
“You really think so?”
“I know so! This is going to be the best play we’ve ever been in!” He kissed Ianto on the cheek and Ianto turned pink, just as he always did. Jack beamed. Ianto only ever turned pink for him. Somehow that made Jack feel very special.
At last, the long awaited evening arrived. The children taking part were excited and nervous; all their parents, brothers and sisters would be in the audience, along with a lot of other kids and their parents.
Everyone gathered backstage, getting ready for their big night. Ianto and Jack helped each other get into costume, with Jack patiently lacing Ianto together. They’d practised getting dressed as well as learning their lines so that they would know exactly what to do and wouldn’t forget anything. While the rest of the cast were struggling with their own costumes and panicking over things they couldn’t find, the Tim Man, Cowardly Lion and Scarecrow kept out of the way and got themselves ready.
“We look so cool!” Jack grinned gappily at his friends. He’d lost a front tooth the previous day. Being a lion with a missing tooth bothered him a bit, but there was nothing to be done about it and Ianto assured him no one would notice. “We should get someone to take our photo!”
“I’ll ask Mr Williams,” said Andy, shuffling off in his big shoes and baggy trousers to find the teacher.
Mr Williams was happy to help.
“Well, don’t you three look grand! You’ve done great work with your costumes. Did you make them all by yourselves?”
“Our moms and Ianto’s dad helped out some,” Jack told him, “but we did as much as we could.”
“Well done then, that’s champion! Right, stand together and I’ll take your picture.” He snapped off several shots on Jack’s little camera and handed it back. Jack tucked it back in his pocket. He’d decided he wanted to keep a record of every play he and Ianto were in. One day when they were grown up and proper actors, they could look at the pictures and remember all the fun they had in their first parts.
The audience and the actors all seemed to enjoy the play and most of it went okay. The Munchkins started yet another fight, which Mrs Hutchins had to break up, and the Wicked Witch of the West got the giggles when she was supposed to be dead; everybody could see her moving, which Jack thought wasn’t very realistic. Then the Good Witch went off stage the wrong way and had to dash back across, which was funny.
Mrs Hutchins breathed a sigh of relief when the main characters managed to get through the whole play without forgetting their lines, even though the Cowardly Lion and Tin Man held hands most of the time and the scarecrow’s hat kept getting knocked off. The audience seemed to think that was supposed to happen, and laughed and applauded every time.
The stickiest moment came during the big reveal of Oz himself, which didn’t quite go as planned because instead of dropping to the ground, the curtain fell on top of him. He had to be untangled by the rest of the cast, and she was sure she saw the Tin Man rolling his eyes. The audience thought it was wonderful!
Heading home afterwards with their families, Jack and Ianto were tired but happy. They’d had a terrific time on stage and their parents had been so proud of them both. Jack’s dad had called them “Our budding thespians,” which they both agreed sounded very impressive, even though neither of them knew what it meant. The only sad thing was that the fun was over now. They wouldn’t get to be in a play again for almost a whole year.
“It’s an awfully long time to wait,” said Ianto quietly, cuddled up with Jack in the back seat of Ianto’s tad’s car.
“We waited two years for this play though,” Jack reminded him.
“That’s true.” Ianto hugged his friend. “I guess we’ll just have to be patient. Next year’s play is sure to be even better!”
Jack hoped Ianto was right.
TBC in ‘Part 3 - The Young Performers’