Characters: Ianto, Jack.
Word Count: 1159
Spoilers: End Of Days, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
Summary: Ianto’s days are all the same; only the date keeps changing, until Jack comes back
Written For: Challenge #133: Date at fan_flashworks.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
It was late, well past midnight, when Ianto finally abandoned filing and made his way up to Jack’s office. They all still called it that despite Jack being gone. The rest of the team had headed home hours ago, they probably didn’t even know that he’d taken to spending his nights in the Hub since Jack had disappeared. At first he’d wanted to be there just in case Jack returned, or tried to contact them, but after a while it had simply been more convenient. He worked longer hours than any of the others, having to fit in all his old duties as well as fieldwork and much of the general day-to-day running of Torchwood that had once been Jack’s responsibility. He was the last to leave at night and the first to arrive in the morning, so why bother going back to his flat at all when he could save himself the commute and sleep in the cot tucked away beneath the office? It had been good enough for Jack for years.
Before turning in for what was left of the night, he checked the calendar on the desk, crossing off another day. While he existed in a kind of limbo, time continued to pass, days becoming weeks, and weeks turning into a month, then two, now almost three. Somewhere above him, winter was slowly giving way to spring, and still they’d heard nothing from their errant Captain.
Ianto sank into the desk chair, rubbing his hands tiredly over his face. Had Jack really left them, left him, for good or was there still a chance that he might return sometime in the future? Was there a calendar where he was? Did he cross off the days too, counting down to the moment he would end his travels and return to Cardiff, or was he having way too much fun with the Doctor to even think of Torchwood and the team he’d left behind? All Ianto had these days were questions, never any answers. Weary to the bone, he climbed down into Jack’s cubbyhole, hung up his suit and crawled into bed for another night of restless sleep. All too soon his alarm clock would go off, announcing the start of another long day, just like all the others that had already passed while he waited, trying to hold on to hope.
A few more days passed and only the date changed. Every night before bed, Ianto crossed off another day and thought of Jack; every morning he dragged himself from the lonely little cot after too little sleep, relying on a cool shower and hot coffee to set him up for the day. Some days he never left the Hub at all; others, like today, he spent most of his time in the field. They’d been run off their feet all day and now it was dark and they had to chase down a drugged-up Blowfish driving a stolen sports car. In Ianto’s opinion, they didn’t do a very good job of it, causing an innocent family to be taken hostage. If any of them died, their blood would be on the hands of Team Torchwood.
Why had they ever thought they could do this job without their leader? The Blowfish was taunting them; one of them had to shoot it, but there was no margin for error, the slightest mistake and the girl would die, either by the Blowfish’s hand or by their own. They were all capable marksmen, and yet in this situation, none of them dared take the shot; the risk was too high. So there they were, locked in stalemate, until a shot rang out and the Blowfish dropped to the floor, a hole in its head. For a moment, Ianto was convinced he must have fired his gun without realising, but he hadn’t; the shot had come from behind him.
“Hey, kids, did ya miss me?”
Jack was back. Ianto should have known he’d wait until he could make a suitably dramatic entrance.
Everything was a blur after that: Cleanup, retconning the family, returning to the Hub only to be plunged into chaos by the arrival of one Captain John Hart. Jack’s former partner and lover was a complete psychopath, and seemed intent on rekindling what they’d once had. Ianto wasn’t at all sure that Jack would want to stay in Cardiff when he clearly had other, far more exciting options available to him.
He thought at first that was why Jack was nervously babbling about offices and photocopiers as they started their search for what Hart claimed were radiation cluster bombs. Not that Jack had seemed to believe his ex, but he possibility of any kind of radiation was a threat to be taken seriously, which was why they were wandering around the top floor of one of Cardiff’s tallest office buildings in the first place. But Jack wasn’t getting up the nerve to say that he was leaving, so when he did finally get to the point, Ianto was taken completely by surprise.
“While I was away, I was thinking, maybe we could, when this is all done. Dinner? A movie?”
For a moment Ianto was convinced he must have misheard; he replayed Jack’s words in his head and they came out the same way. Still, best to be sure, wouldn’t want to make a fool of himself. He found his voice.
“Are you asking me out on a date?”
Jack still looked nervous, and it was oddly endearing. Ianto knew he should still be angry at the way he’d been abandoned, three months with no idea whether his lover would ever come back, but that puppy-dog expression was impossible to resist. Besides, an actual date with Jack would be a step up from what they’d been doing before he left. Of course he was interested, but he wasn’t going to act too enthusiastic. Jack was going to have to work for this; he had a lot of making up to do. On the other hand, turning him down and playing hard to get would be stupid, Jack might not bother to ask again, so there was only one sensible course of action.
“Well, as long as it's not in an office. Some fetishes should be kept to yourself.” Okay, not the smoothest line ever, but he was a little off-balance. Jack wanted to take him on a date, dinner and a movie. That was so… normal. Not a word he would usually apply to his boss/lover. Maybe absence really did make the heart grow fonder. That was a nice thought, it meant Jack had missed him while he’d been away, had even been thinking of him and contemplating what he would do when he got back. That had to be a good sign, right?
It didn’t quite make up for everything Ianto had gone through during Jack’s absence, but it was start, and for now, that was enough.