Title: Merry Christmas From Jack
Word Count: 2932 words
Characters: Jack, Ianto, Tosh, Gwen, Owen, Rhys, Myfanwy and Janet.
Contains: Fluff, humour and silliness, maybe a touch of crack.
Written For: My prompt ‘Jack has been busy in secret, knitting Christmas sweaters/hats/scarves, for the team, including Myf and Janet,’ at torchwood_fest.
Summary: Jack’s been oddly secretive lately, but all is revealed on Christmas Eve.
Beta: The ever-wonderful kul_breez who has generously and bravely taken on all the betaing for my December Fest fics. You’re my hero! Thank you so much.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
Ever since the team had learned about his immortality, Jack had become a lot more open and honest about his past, regaling them with tales of his experiences on earth as well as his adventures with the Time Agency. They still didn’t always believe the stories, and at times he was rather more honest about certain things than they were really comfortable with, but he’d given up keeping secrets from them and a lot of things about their mysterious boss were mysteries no longer.
Over the last couple of months though, he seemed to have reverted, sneaking around and hiding things from them. He’d disappear on quiet days, often for hours at a time, presumably still somewhere in the Hub because he was always there when he was needed, but even Ianto couldn’t work out where he hid himself. Then sometimes when one of them went up to his office, he’d quickly shove something in his desk drawer and lock it. What was he hiding from them and why? It was no good asking Jack because all he’d say on the matter was, “Can’t a guy have a few secrets?” As infuriating as it was, he had a point, and anyway, he assured them that whatever he was hiding, it had nothing to do with work.
By the time December arrived, Owen and Gwen had exhausted every avenue of investigation they could come up with. Tosh had found nothing on the CCTV footage, and Ianto had chosen to respect Jack’s privacy and let him keep his secrets. If Jack wanted them to know, he’d tell them. Besides, Christmas was rapidly approaching and they all had more than enough other things to keep them busy.
Uncharacteristically, the Rift monitor showed a probability of more than ninety-eight per cent that there would be minimal activity over the Christmas period. It was the best news they’d had in quite a while. The week before Christmas, each member of the team was able to take an afternoon off to get their shopping done, and they even found time to decorate the Hub. With the Christmas spirit in full swing, they’d practically forgotten about Jack’s secretive behaviour.
On Christmas Eve, Rhys joined the team at the Hub for the official Torchwood Christmas Party, which was only fair since he’d done most of the cooking. Everyone was in high spirits, exchanging gifts and toasting each other with eggnog. No one even noticed when Jack slipped away, but they certainly noticed his return. They could hardly miss him, considering the Santa outfit he was now wearing.
“HO HO HO! MERRY CHRISTMAS!” he bellowed in his best Santa voice, lowering the bulging sack he had slung over his shoulder onto the floor. “Have you all been good boys and girls? Come sit on Santa’s knee and tell me what you want for Christmas; if you’ve been good, you might get a present!”
Ianto rolled his eyes. “We’re a little old for that, don’t you think?”
Santa pouted at him through his false beard.
“Forget it, Harkness, there’s no way I’m sitting on your knee, you pervert!”
“That goes for me too,” Rhys agreed.
Jack sighed sadly. “I thought it would be a bit of fun.”
“For you, maybe,” Owen griped.
“If you’re going to be like that, maybe I just won’t give you your present.” Jack slumped onto the steps, a red and white lump of dejection.
Tosh glared at her colleagues. “Don’t be so mean! Where’s your holiday spirit?” She put down her drink and went over to Jack, perching on his knee. “I’ve been a very good girl this year, Santa,” she told him. “Does that mean I get a present?”
“You’ve been very good indeed, sweet Toshiko!” Jack agreed, brightening up again and giving her a whiskery kiss on the cheek. He rummaged in his sack and pulled out something lumpy wrapped in shiny purple paper. “This one’s for you, but wait until everyone’s got theirs before you open it, otherwise you’ll spoil the surprise.” He glanced around at his team. “That goes for the rest of you too.”
Tosh took her gift and gave Santa a peck on the cheek. “Thank you, Santa,” she grinned, skipping back over to the others, clutching her present to her chest. It felt soft and squishy; she couldn’t imagine what it might be.
“Me please!” Gwen squeaked, bouncing forwards and plonking herself in Jack’s lap.
“Fair Gwendolyn, you’ve been both naughty and nice this year, haven’t you?”
“Um, I guess so.” Gwen flushed a bit. “But it wasn’t all my fault,” she added, widening her eyes beseechingly.
“Hmmm, well, I suppose the nice outweighs the naughty, so here you go.” Jack handed her a shiny green package and she hugged him before bouncing tipsily back to Rhys. The remaining three looked at each other, wondering who should go next.
“Oh, what the hell?” muttered Owen, stomping forward. He glanced back at Tosh, who nodded. “Okay, fine, I must be drunker than I thought.” He sat on Jack’s lap. “You try to kiss me and I’ll deck you! And no groping either.”
“The thought never crossed my mind!” Jack projected an air of injured innocence.
“A likely story. Right, I’ve been very naughty this year, and I’m not even sorry about most of it.” He stared challengingly at Jack. “Do I still get a present?”
“Hmmm.” Jack pretended to consider it. “You get points for honesty, at least, and you did save a few lives, so…” Jack plucked a silver parcel out of his sack. “Merry Christmas, Owen.”
“Thanks. And just so you know, I’m not kissin’ you.”
“Your loss!” Before Owen could get up, Jack planted a smacker on his cheek.
“Ugh! Gerroff!” Owen leapt to his feet, wiping at his face with one hand, and stalked back to Tosh, telling himself the slight pink tinge to his cheeks was from the brandy in the eggnog and had nothing whatsoever to do with embarrassment.
“Might as well get this over with,” Rhys muttered, making his way over to Santa Jack. “I’m still not sittin’ on your lap, mind, don’t reckon I’d fit anyway.” He held out his hand to shake and Jack obliged. “I’ve tried to be good. Haven’t always succeeded but I’ve done me best.”
“You’re a good man, Rhys Williams, the world would be a better place if there were more people like you in it.”
Over by the buffet table, Gwen nodded agreement, making her paper hat slip over her eyes. She shoved it quickly back into place, hoping nobody had noticed.
“Let me see.” Jack dug in his sack and pulled out something wrapped in gleaming gold. “Merry Christmas!”
“Thanks, mate. Same to you.” Rhys took his present and went to sit beside Gwen, turning it over in his hands and squeezing it experimentally, as if trying to work out what it might be.
“Guess that just leaves me.” Ianto drained his glass, set it on the nearby table, and took his place on Jack’s lap, leaning in to snog him. “So, Santa, have I been a good boy this year?” He arched one eyebrow questioningly.
“Oh yeah, Mister Jones, you’ve been sensational!” Seeing Santa leering was a bit disturbing, but Ianto decided to ignore it since he already knew who was inside the costume. After all, Jack was still Jack, no matter how he was dressed. A leopard can’t change his spots. “For actions above and beyond the call of duty.” Predictably, Ianto’s present was wrapped in bright red foil.
“Thank you. You’ve been pretty amazing too, do you have a present in your sack for yourself?”
“I don’t need one, I’ve got you.” Jack gave Ianto a squeeze.
“Charmer. I noticed your sack isn’t empty yet.”
“Ah, those are for Myfanwy and Janet, I’ll give them their gifts in a few minutes, after all of you have opened yours.”
“Does that mean we can open then now?” Gwen asked, giddily excited.
“Yep! All together now, ladies and gentlemen!” The teeth in Jack’s wide grin were even whiter than his fake beard. “But don’t tear the paper, you have to unwrap them properly.”
“Oh, you have got to be kiddin’ me!” Owen groaned.
“Nope! I don’t want any of you getting in before the others because…”
“It would spoil the surprise. We know. Fine, if that’s the way you want it.”
“I knew you’d see it my way. Now, what’re you waiting for? Unwrap!”
They glanced at each other, and then ten sets of scrabbling fingers got busy, picking at bits of sticky tape, peeling them free and moving to the next bit, trying not to get too far ahead of each other. Ianto couldn’t help wondering if Jack had used the whole roll of tape, there was so much of it. Then again, the parcels were soft and unevenly shaped, so wrapping them wouldn’t have been easy with only one pair of hands. Still, despite all the tape, unwrapping their gifts only took a few minutes, even if it felt like much longer. From the corner of his eye, Ianto could see Jack watching them avidly, looking almost as though he wanted to dive in and help. He was clearly very pleased with himself about something, which made Ianto suspicious. What had his lover been up to?
Then the last bit of tape was unstuck, the brightly coloured paper fell away, and all was revealed. Inside each parcel was a warm woollen jumper, every one a different colour: deep red for Ianto, black for Owen, royal purple for Tosh. Gwen’s was mossy green with a v-neck, while Rhys’ was blue with manly cables.
“Well? What d’you think? Do you like them?” Jack was almost bouncing with eagerness, but there was a hint of nervous tension evident in the way he clasped his hands together, and the faintest trace of worry in his voice. “I had thought of making ones with Christmas motifs on them, Santas and snowmen and stuff, but then you’d only be able to wear them around Christmas so I changed my mind. I hope I got the sizes right.” Jack was babbling now, trying to fill the silence.
“You made them yourself?” Tosh asked when she eventually found her voice. Her sweater was so delicately lacy she had been stunned speechless at first. “It’s beautiful, it must have taken you ages!”
“Well, yes, several months to make all of them.”
“So this is what you were hiding from us.” Ianto looked at Jack, who nodded confirmation “It all makes sense now.” He held his sweater up, examining the textured pattern of the body and sleeves, the red and black Fairisle pattern on the yoke. Shrugging out of his jacket, he pulled the sweater over his head and straightened it. “Perfect fit. Thank you, Jack, I love it.”
“Really? You’re not just saying that?”
“No, I mean it.” Ianto went over to Jack and kissed him. “I never knew you could knit.”
“Did a lot of knitting during the wars, but not so much since then. I got the purple wool first because I saw it in a shop window one day and thought it would really suit Tosh. Then when I was trying to find the perfect design for her, I saw the pattern for the one you’re wearing and I just knew I had to make it for you. After that, well, I couldn’t leave anyone out; it wouldn’t have been fair, so I got more wool and more patterns, and just kept knitting. It wasn’t easy to keep what I was doing secret though, not with the way half of you kept snooping and trying to catch me.” He mock glared at Gwen and Owen.
“I can’t even knit a scarf,” Gwen admitted, “and look at this!” She did a twirl to show off the fit of her new jumper. “It’s amazing! Thanks, Jack.”
“Yeah, not bad for a bloke,” Owen agreed, trying on his plain black crewneck. It was the only one of the five with no pattern. Owen approved; it would look good with anything.
The team spent a few minutes admiring Jack’s handiwork, but eventually Ianto’s curiosity got the better of him and he turned to his lover.
“There’s just one more thing I really have to know…”
“You said the other two presents are for Myfanwy and Janet, does that mean you knitted them jumpers too?”
Jack laughed. “Of course not! That would be silly.”
“That’s a relief.” Ianto smiled; even for Torchwood, the thought of trying to get a Weevil and a Pteranodon dressed in hand-knitted jumpers was too bizarre for him to wrap his head around.
“I’ve made them woolly hats instead,” Jack continued blithely.
Owen nearly choked on his eggnog. “Are you serious?”
“Yep! Wanna see?”
“You do know you’re certifiable, yeah?” Owen gave Jack a funny look.
“I had wool left over,” Jack defended himself. “And anyway, Janet and Myfanwy are like our pets. Loads of people dress their pets up for the holidays.” Jack took the last two parcels, one blue and one pink, out of his sack and opened them. In the blue one was a black, green, and blue striped bobble hat, while in the pink one was a sort of Santa hat, made with the same red wool as Ianto’s sweater and carefully shaped to fit Myfanwy’s crest. “I can’t wait for Myf to try it on,” he said, whistling for the Pteranodon. “I think it’ll suit her.”
Myfanwy fluttered down with a squawk and Rhys took a few steps back, still wary of the team’s mascot; she was so big and her beak was a formidable weapon. “You’re not seriously going to try puttin’ that hat on her, are ya?” Rhys was flabbergasted; Owen was right, Jack was nuttier than a fruitcake.
“Why not?” Jack picked up the red hat and held it out. “What d’ya think, old girl? D’ya like it?”
Myf cocked her head to one side and made a purring sound as Jack approached and scratched around the base of her crest. She arched into his touch, the purring getting louder as she half closed her eyes in pleasure.
“She’s a big old softie,” Ianto chuckled.
“She likes being made a fuss of,” Jack agreed. Moving slowly and calmly, he slipped the hat over her long, curved, bony crest. It fitted nicely. Myf gave a soft, questioning trill. “You look beautiful,” Jack assured her and she arched her neck, practically preening and looking quite proud of her new headgear.
“I don’t believe it!” Rhys was astounded. “I figured she’d rip it to shreds.”
“Nah, not Myf, she’d a lady,” Owen smirked. “Janet though… She’ll probably try to eat hers.”
“I don’t see why,” Tosh objected. “Weevils wear clothing after all.”
“Never seen one in a hat though, ‘ave you?”
“Well, no, but maybe that’s because no one ever gave them hats.” It sounded quite reasonable when Tosh said it.
“Only one way to find out!” Jack petted Myf one last time, plucked up Janet’s hat and led the way to the vaults, the rest of the team trailing behind him looking variously amused, doubtful, and apprehensive. Rhys had only been down to the cells once before. Being so close to a Weevil, even a half-tame captive one, made him more than a little nervous.
Janet backed away growling when Jack approached her cell, not recognising him at first in his costume, but once he removed his false beard she relaxed.
“Merry Christmas, Janet! Got something for you!” Jack told her cheerfully. “It’s a hat, see?” He held it up to show her. “You wear it on your head, like this.” Taking off his Santa hat, he put the bobble hat on his head, modelling it for the Weevil while she watched intently. After a couple of minutes, Jack took the hat off and passed it through the feeding slot.
Janet approached slowly and picked it up, turning it over in her sharp-clawed hands, studying it from every angle. She looked enquiringly at Jack.
“Go ahead, put it on,” Jack encouraged her, pulling his Santa hat back on to demonstrate how. “Keeps your head nice and warm.”
Turning the hat around a few more times, Janet ducked her head and sniffed at it, then tugged it on.
“See?” Jack grinned. “I knew she’d like it!”
“You know what you’ve started, don’t you? Now all the Weevils will want woolly hats,” Ianto said wryly. Seeing Rhys’ confusion, he added, “Weevils are empathic and mildly telepathic. They’re all connected; what one feels they all feel.”
“I hadn’t thought of that,” Jack admitted. “Well, I guess I’ll just have to get knitting! Bobble hats are easy.” Cheerfully whistling Christmas songs, Jack led the way out of the vaults and back up to the Hub.
Ianto stayed behind for a few minutes, watching Janet and trying to imagine Cardiff’s Weevil population in bobble hats. It said something about his life that he could easily picture it. Working for Torchwood, he’d seen far weirder sights, and who knew? Maybe warm hats were the key to happy, well-adjusted Weevils. Stranger things had happened. Laughing to himself, he followed his colleagues. Maybe he could ask Jack to teach him to knit; if hats became the new must-have accessory for the well-dressed Weevil, Jack would need help keeping up with demand. Besides, it never hurt to learn new skills and knitting was supposed to be a relaxing hobby. He was quite looking forward to giving it a go.