Title: On A Roof In Cardiff
Characters: Jack, Ianto.
Summary: Jack can always find a reason to visit one of his favourite rooftops.
Word Count: 990
Written For: Prompt #008 - Rooftops at fandomweekly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
Whenever Jack goes missing of an evening, and sometimes even during the day, Ianto knows it’s a pretty safe bet that he’ll be up on a rooftop somewhere. He likes high places for brooding when things go badly and someone gets hurt, or when despite the team’s best efforts, they fail to save some innocent person or alien’s life. He’s always the first to point out that saving everybody every time just isn’t physically possible, not even for Torchwood, but that doesn’t mean such failures don’t affect him.
Ianto thinks in some ways, Jack takes each unavoidable death harder than any of them, perhaps because for him, death is never permanent. He’s immortal, and every time someone dies, even a complete stranger, it’s a reminder that he’ll go on living even after everyone he cares about is gone. That’s a heavy burden for anyone to carry, especially someone with a heart as big as Jack’s. Anyone who thinks Jack Harkness has forgotten how to care must surely be blind. He cares more deeply than anyone Ianto has every met, he just doesn’t let compassion get in the way when there are impossible decisions to be made, like sacrificing one person to save many.
Rooftops aren’t just for brooding though. When Torchwood is victorious, and the people of Cardiff have been saved from certain doom once more, Jack likes to stand at the edge of a roof and look out across the city that’s been his home for over a century, watchful and vigilant, making sure all is well again. Ianto calls it the hero pose, coat hanging open and whipping about in the ever-present wind, feet braced apart and hands on hips. Secretly, he thinks Jack has watched Batman too much.
Today though, Jack’s neither brooding nor protecting his city. The Rift is in a bit of a lull, the Weevils are keeping to the sewers and out of trouble for once, and there’s a big stack of paperwork on his desk; reports, invoices, expense sheets, requisition forms, and sundry other bits and pieces, all waiting to be looked over and signed. If he just knuckled down and got on with it, he could have it finished in two or three hours, so naturally, Jack is avoiding doing any of it. Up on one of his favourite rooftops, he can pretend that he doesn’t have any responsibilities.
“Thought I’d find you up here.” Ianto leans companionably against the parapet at Jack’s side, enjoying the feel of the breeze running invisible fingers through his hair. It’s getting a bit long; he should probably get it cut. It’s a surprisingly fine spring day, the temperature pleasantly mild after the cold of winter. Ianto can’t really blame Jack for preferring to be out here rather than cooped up in his underground office. Still… “Your paperwork isn’t going to do itself, you know.”
“On the other hand,” Jack replies, smirking slightly, “it’ll still be there when I go back to the Hub, so why the rush? Be honest, Ianto; did you really come all the way up here just to drag me back to do my paperwork, or did fancy a bit of fresh air yourself?”
Ianto doesn’t reply, just slides down until he’s sitting with his back to the parapet in a patch of sunlight, and opens the thermos Jack hadn’t previously noticed he was holding. “Coffee?”
“Don’t mind if I do.” Jack accepts the offered cup and sips slowly. “We don’t get enough days like this, when the weather’s nice and we’re not too busy saving the world to take advantage of it. I like springtime.”
“Mmmm, more likely to get good weather than in summer,” Ianto agrees. “Bound to rain come Easter though; always does. Same with bank holidays.”
“All the more reason to enjoy the sunshine while we can.” Jack slides down beside Ianto, closing his eyes as he continues to sip Ianto’s perfect coffee. There’s no need for talk so they sit in comfortable silence.
The cloudburst takes them both by surprise, the sudden patter of raindrops hitting them without warning. All across the flat rooftop it looks like millions of tiny diamonds are bouncing around them; it would be pretty if it weren’t so wet. Jumping to their feet, they race for shelter in the stairwell, just in time for the rain shower to turn to hail.
“You had to mention rain, didn’t you?” Jack grumbles.
"This is Cardiff Jack; never trust the weather, you'll live to regret it. I should’ve brought my umbrella."
The shower is brief, hail quickly turning to rain once more, before gradually fizzling out. The cloud responsible has passed over; someone else is getting wet now. An arc of bright colours fades into view as if someone just swept a paintbrush across the washed out blue of the sky. Jack nudges Ianto and points to it.
“Hey, look, there’s a rainbow! Make a wish!”
“How old are you?” Ianto’s expression is one of fond amusement.
“You’re never too old for rainbows. I didn’t see one until after I joined the Time Agency. Growing up on Boeshane, we didn’t get enough rain. What?” Jack stares at his lover, frowning, puzzled.
Ianto is grinning at him. “You rhymed!”
Jack flashes his megawatt smile. “I’m a closet poet.”
That gets a disparaging snort. “A likely story.”
“I’ll prove it. There once was a man named Jones, who spoke in dulcet Welsh tones, excepting when Jack had him flat on his back…”
“Stop right there!”
“Spoilsport.” Jack grabs Ianto’s hand, pulling him in for a kiss, and by the time they finally break apart, there are more clouds gathering. “Looks like that’s all the sunshine we’re getting today.”
“Playtime’s over,” Ianto agrees. “Back to work for both of us.”
“Paperwork. Oh joy.”
“Could be worse. I think I have dissected alien to clean up.”
They start back down the stairs. Neither notices that they’re still holding hands.