Title: Up, Up, And Away
Characters: Ianto, Jack, OCs
Word Count: 935
Summary: Ianto wanted to get away from it all for a bit, so Jack finds a way.
Written For: Challenge #137: Air at fan_flashworks.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
Ianto shook his head, laughing. “You’re certifiable, you do know that, right?” This probably wasn’t the nuttiest idea Jack had ever thrown at him, but it was definitely in the top five
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Jack’s grin was infectious and the way the brisk wind was ruffling his hair made him look younger and more carefree than Ianto had ever seen him. “Anyway, I don’t hear you complaining.”
“When I said that I wished we could get away from it all for a bit… Well, let’s just say this never even crossed my mind.”
“That’s what you’ve got me for, to come up with the great ideas. Besides, this is about as far away from it all as we can get while still staying close to home.”
“We’re a bit out of reach if there’s an emergency.”
“Tosh said the Rift would be quiet today, and the weather’s perfect, dry and with just enough wind. If there does happen to be an emergency the others can’t handle, we can be back at the Hub in an hour or two, so why don’t you just relax and enjoy the view?”
It really was a great view; you could see for miles in every direction. Ianto peered down at the patchwork of fields, small copses of trees, and winding country lanes far below them, trying to figure out exactly where they were. Not that it mattered. He was merely curious; everything looked so different from above. “I didn’t even know you could fly one of these. I’m impressed.”
“If it flies, I can fly it,” Jack assured him. “Anything from a kite to a spacecraft. I piloted observation balloons for a while in World War One, kept myself up to date with advances in ballooning since then. There’s something about just drifting along on the wind. It’s relaxing, peaceful.”
That was certainly true; they were floating along in near silence. Every once in a while the distant hum of traffic on the roads drifted up to them, and occasional birdsong reached Ianto’s ears, but most of the time all he could hear was the wind and the intermittent roar of the balloon’s burner when Jack used it to heat the air that was keeping them aloft.
They lapsed into a comfortable silence, watching the shadow of their balloon moving over the landscape beneath them. From time to time, they’d nudge each other and point out something of interest, a landmark, or a hunting bird of prey. Ianto felt all his cares and worries melting away, becoming as distant and unimportant as the clouds that floated as far above them as they themselves were above the Welsh countryside. Torchwood, and everything it involved, didn’t exist up here.
Time ceased to have any meaning; there was nowhere they had to be and nothing they had to do except simply breathe in the clean, fresh air and drink in the view. Ianto watched tiny cars, no doubt carrying even tinier people, pootle along the narrow roads, saw a flock of miniature sheep being herded down a lane like a seething white flood, bursting through a gate to spread out across a field, fuzzy white dots scattering across the green of the grass. He almost wished he could stay up there forever, watching at a distance as the people on the ground lived out their ordinary, everyday lives.
All good things have to come to an end eventually though, and at last Jack guided the balloon down to land in a field, empty aside from the van that waited to take them and the balloon back to Cardiff. Two men jumped out of the van to grab the rapidly uncoiling ropes Jack tossed over the sides of the basket, helping to bring them safely to earth once more. Jumping from the basket once they’d touched down was a peculiar experience, rather like stepping ashore from a boat. The solid ground felt strange beneath his feet, but he had to regain his land legs quickly because there was a massive balloon envelope to deflate and fold, rigging to carefully gather, and the gas burner with its remaining fuel to make safe. For once, Ianto had no idea what he was doing and simply followed whatever instructions he was given by Jack and the other two men, who had all obviously packed up balloons many times.
Despite the manic activity that followed their landing, Ianto felt more relaxed than he had in months. The fresh air and the gentle wind had left him re-energised, his head clear as though all the cobwebs that had been cluttering up his thoughts had been swept away.
“So, did you have a good time?” Jack asked as he and Ianto piled into the back of the van and settled into their seats, fastening their seatbelts.
“It was brilliant! Thank you, Jack.” Ianto couldn’t stop smiling.
“See? Some of my ideas might seem crazy, but I do actually know what I’m doing.”
“Sometimes, yes.” Ianto winked at Jack. “I think it’s safe to say this was one of your better ones.”
“I’ve always thought that when it comes to getting away from it all, there’s nothing better than flying.”
“You know what? I think I might have to agree with you on that.”
“So we can do it again?”
“Oh yeah!” Ianto looked through the van window, tilting his head back to stare up at the sky. “We’re definitely doing that again!” He was already looking forward to his next balloon trip, floating way up there with the clouds. It couldn’t come soon enough.