Characters: Ianto, Jack, mentions Owen, Rhiannon and her family, Ianto’s parents.
Spoilers: Many and varied – let’s say everything up to and including CoE, though it’s set well before then, around about A Day In The Death or just after.
Summary: Ianto goes out drinking and Jack finds out quite a few things he didn’t know about his lover.
Word Count: 2547
Written For: Alice Carter, who asked some time ago for ‘Something Ianto told Jack in COE - "I tell you everything." When did he tell him about his dad working at Debenham's or about his sister?’ – Sorry it took me so long, I was waiting for inspiration.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
Ianto was sitting at the bar, nursing a double whiskey, drowning his sorrows over Owen’s… predicament, when Jack finally tracked him down to one of the pubs within easy walking distance of the Hub. He slid onto the bar stool next to his lover and ordered a glass of water. “There you are! I’ve been looking all over for you. What’re you doing in here?”
“Drinkin’? Pretty sure I’m drinkin’. That’s what pubs are for, right?” Ianto peered at Jack. “Owen liked drinkin’, but he can’t drink anymore, so I’m doin’ it for him. Least I can do f’r a friend.” He gave an awkward, lopsided shrug of his shoulders. “Sorta friend. More of a pain in the arse, but…” Another shrug.
Jack smiled faintly. “I see.”
“You do?” Ianto studied Jack owlishly, then wagged his head back and forth. “Noooo. No, y’don’t see, y’can’t b’cause I don’t see either.” He looked puzzled. “I wanted a drink, an’ then I thought, I bet Owen would like a drink too, so I thought I’d ‘ave one for ‘im while I was at it, but one and one made two, an’ Owen never had just one, so I had another fer him, an’ then another fer me, an’ then I think I lost count, but that’s okay, ‘cause my life’s all screwed up anyway.”
“What’s screwed up?” Jack sipped his water before leaning his elbow on the bar, head resting on his hand as he gave his lover his full attention. Ianto always talked more when he was drunk, saying things he’d never say while he was sober; it could be quite illuminating.
“Ever’thing. I make coffee, an’ pick up rubbish, an’ file reports, an’ chase aliens, an’ I sleep with my boss, who’s a guy.” He looked at Jack again and added helpfully, as if Jack might somehow not be aware of the fact, “Tha’s you,” pointing a finger at him and almost poking him in the eye with it.
It wasn’t easy keeping a straight face, but Jack managed, nodding encouragingly. “I know that.”
“Right! ‘Cause you would!” Ianto beamed happily at Jack, leaning forward to whisper rather loudly, “And you’re ver’ sexy, so ‘m not complainin’. Wouldn’ want you to think I was complainin’. ‘Cause I’m not.” He turned back to his glass, picked it up and frowned into it before putting it down again. “My sister keeps tryin’ to fix me up with one of ‘er friends, over an’ over again,” he grumbled. “An’ I keep tellin’ ‘er I’m not innerested, but she never listens! She says I should find a nice girl an’ settle down. What would I do with a girl? I’ve already got you. Not enough room in my bed for a girl, not even a reeeeeally tiny one, not the way you spread out all over.” Ianto waved his arms around, demonstrating, and only a quick grab by Jack saved their drinks. “You’ve got too many arms an’ legs an’ stuff.” He looked curiously at Jack. “Are you secretly an occo… otto…pus or somethin’? It’s okay, you c’n tell me, I won’t tell.”
“Sorry, still just a human.”
“Oh.” Ianto almost looked disappointed. He took a sip from Jack’s water and pulled a face. “Tha’s not whiskey.” Jack pushed Ianto’s drink back in front of him. “Oooh, thanks! Cheers!” Ianto picked up the glass and put it down again without drinking. “Wha’ was I sayin’?”
“You have a sister?” That was news to Jack. “How come you never told me?”
“I did! I tole you ‘bout ‘er ages ago! Sure I did. Didn’ I?”
“Not that I remember.”
“Must’ve. You know. Big sis, Rhiannonon…on…” Ianto nodded sagely. “That one. She married a right twat. Johnny Davies. Good thing the kids take after Rhi.”
Jack tried not to laugh. “How many kids?”
“Both of them,” Ianto assured him.
“Boys or girls?”
“Yeah. Good kids; ‘m not good with kids. Tha’s why I don’ ‘ave any.”
“How about your parents?”
“Oh, they ‘ad kids. Two of us.” That snippet of information was passed on with impressive solemnity as Ianto held up three fingers.
“So, d’you see your parents often?”
Ianto knocked back half his drink. “Sometimes ’ave tea at mum’s. We watch telly. It’s nice. Ord’nary, tea an’ telly. And cake. Always ‘aveta ‘ave cake.” He stared into his glass, swirling the contents so it spilled over the side, onto his hand, but he didn’t seem to notice. “Cake,” he repeated. “I like cake.” He started to topple sideways and Jack caught him, relieving him of his glass and knocking back the contents himself.
“Hey!” Ianto protested indignantly. “I was drinkin’ that!”
“I think you’ve had enough. Come on, it’s about time you were home in bed.”
“Yesss!” Pulling himself up straighter, Ianto leered at Jack. “Bed, yeah, let’s go. Gonna get nekkid an’ shag like bunnies! I wanna be top bunny!”
Jack choked back a laugh, helping Ianto off his barstool and steering him towards the door. “Let’s just get you home first.” Perhaps he wouldn’t remind Ianto about the bunny part of their conversation tomorrow… The state he was in, it was unlikely anything of that sort was going to happen anyway.
“Home. Yeah. Where the bed lives.” Ianto allowed himself to be manhandled out of the pub and into the SUV. He was asleep before Jack even got him belted in.
The following morning, Ianto was a tad hung over, to put it mildly. He groaned pitifully as Jack sat on the edge of the bed, setting the room spinning.
“Oh God, my head! Feels like there’s a whole rugby team in there using my brain as the ball.”
“Can’t say I’m surprised after last night. Here, take these. They should make you feel more yourself.” Jack offered him a glass of water and a couple of Owen’s miracle hangover pills.
“I don’t want to feel more of myself; I want to feel less!” Ianto swallowed the pills dry and downed the contents of the glass in a couple of gulps, then lay back against the pillows, waiting for the medicine to kick in and make him feel less like he was at death’s door. “What happened last night?” he asked blearily as Jack climbed back into bed beside him.
“You went drinking.”
“That part is self-evident.”
“When I tracked you down, you told me you were drinking for Owen as well, because he can’t drink for himself now.”
“How very considerate of me,” Ianto said dryly. “I didn’t do anything embarrassing did I?”
“No, not really. Mostly you were just talking about your sister wanting to fix you up with a friend of hers. How come you never told me you have a sister?”
Ianto rolled onto his side, looking at Jack, a serious expression on his face. “I probably should have, but I edited her out of my personnel file when I came here with Lisa, thought she’d be safer that way if you didn’t know. I never got around to adding her back in.” He sighed heavily. “You know, sometimes I feel like I’m two people; there’s the Ianto Jones who’s a Torchwood agent, and then there’s Ianto Jones, ordinary bloke from the council estate. It’s like living in two different worlds, always trying to prevent them from colliding, but then I figure if I can keep them separate, maybe I can keep my family safe from all the crap we deal with. They think I work for the tourist board, a dull, ordinary, safe job. I don’t want them having to worry about me all the time. So when I’m with them, I’m not Torchwood, I’m just ordinary Ianto Jones, and the rest of the time, Torchwood is all I am. Does that make sense?”
Jack thought about it. “Yeah, I suppose it does, in a weird sort of way, but…” He fell silent, staring up at the ceiling.
“I guess I realised last night just how little I really know about you. I mean, I never asked, I just assumed you didn’t have any family, and yet you do.”
“Yeah, I do. I’m not trying to hide anything from you, Jack, no more secrets, not now. I’ll tell you anything you want to know; you only have to ask.”
“You wouldn’t mind?”
“No, of course not. Talking about family, it’s not always easy, but I don’t mind. Not if you really want to know.”
“I do. I want to know everything about you. It that’s okay with you.”
That made Ianto chuckle softly. “Everything might take quite a while, so how about just a bit at a time?”
Jack smiled. “Works for me. So, your family…?”
“Right.” Ianto shifted around until his head was pillowed on Jack’s chest. Jack wrapped his arms around his lover, running one hand lightly up and down a bare arm. “Okay,” Ianto started. “Family. So, I have one sister, Rhiannon. She’s eight years older than me; I was sort of an afterthought. Always wondered if I was an accident, unplanned, but I never dared ask and nobody ever said, so… Anyway, Rhi’s married.”
Jack nodded, even though Ianto couldn’t see him. “To Johnny the twat.”
“What?” Ianto lifted his head from Jack’s chest, peering up at the other man’s face, but from this angle, all he could see was Jack’s chin, and a pretty clear view up his nose, until Jack raised his head off the pillow to look back at him.
“Sorry. That’s what you called him last night.”
“I did? Oh.” Ianto dropped his head back onto Jack’s chest. “Well, it’s a reasonably accurate description, but he’s good to Rhi and the kids, which is what matters. David’s nine and Mica’s six. They’re good kids, but I’m not a very good uncle. I don’t see them very often, and when I do, I never know how to talk to them, so I just end up giving them money. Drives Rhi nuts, she thinks I should make more of an effort with them, and I would, but I just don’t know how, and I can’t seem to make her understand that. Besides, maybe it’s best if I don’t get too close to them, what with working for Torchwood. It’ll hurt them less when I…” Ianto trailed off into silence
“Don’t talk like that.” Jack’s tone was sharp.
A grunt of mild annoyance came from Ianto. “Torchwood doesn’t have a pension plan for a reason, Jack; nobody lasts long enough to retire. You know that better than anyone.”
“I don’t care. You’re going to be the exception. You’ll live to be grey and wrinkly, and you’ll still be telling me off for not doing my paperwork,” Jack said firmly.
Ianto huffed a laugh against his lover’s chest. “Proving once again that you’re un-trainable. Fine, have it your way. I’ll be pottering around the Hub with my walking stick and hearing aid when I’m ninety. Happy now?”
“Deliriously.” Jack kissed the top of Ianto’s head. “What about your parents? From what you said last night, I know you visit your mum, but where’s your dad?”
“He passed just before I left for London. We didn’t get along too well.”
“I don’t really know. It was different when I was little, he’d take me to the cinema on Saturdays, but the older I got, the more he pushed me, to do better at school, work harder… Nothing I did was good enough, and we fought all the time. Thinking back, maybe he just wanted more for me than he ended up with. He’d had such big ambitions, but they came to nothing in the end. When I was little, Dad worked as assistant to a master tailor, a friend of my grandfather’s. When the old man died, Dad thought he’d be able to take over the business. He knew his boss didn’t have any family and that the shop would be left to him, but it turned out the old man was in debt up to his eyebrows and the shop had to be sold to pay what he owed. Dad ended up with nothing to show for years of hard work, and he turned bitter after that. The only job he could get was as a shop assistant in the men’s wear department at Debenhams, and he hated it. Factory made clothing, off the rack suits, polyester shirts…”
“Must have been hard for your dad.”
“Yeah, but at the time I didn’t get that. I was too young, I suppose. Just thought he should be glad he had a job. Times were hard and a lot of my friends’ dads were on the dole. I didn’t make things any easier for him. Mum was working as a dinner lady at my school to help make ends meet, and dad did suit alterations on the side. He wanted me to learn the fine art of tailoring on top of my schoolwork, but I didn’t want to; I couldn’t see the point. Like most teens, I just wanted to go out with my friends and have a good time. I resented him, hated helping him take in seams or let them out, make repairs.”
“You did learn though.”
A half shrug. “Do something often enough and it sticks. As much as I protested back then, I have to admit the skills he taught me have come in handy. I’ve had to throw out fewer suits than I might have if I didn’t know how to make invisible repairs.” Peering past Jack, he checked the clock on the nightstand. “Okay, that’s all you’re getting today. It’s past seven, if we don’t get a move on we’ll be late for work.”
“Sure you’re up to it? How’re you feeling now?” Jack asked as Ianto sat up and threw the covers back.
“My head’s still a bit sore and I’m thirsty, but I’ll live. Remind me never to drink that much whiskey again.” Ianto slid off the bed and started trying to make it with Jack still in it. He scrambled out and straightened his side.
“You know, you could take the morning off.”
“Nah, with Owen like he is, we’re a man down. Besides, the residents will need feeding, and I’m not piling my jobs onto the rest of you when I can do them myself.”
“I think, if your dad could see you now, he’d be proud of you.”
Ianto looked up from straightening the bedspread. “You really think so?”
“I’m sure of it. You’ve worked hard and made a better life for yourself, even if it’s a bit… unorthodox and probably not exactly what he would’ve imagined for you.”
“When you put it that way, I suppose I have. Thanks, Jack.”
“Listening, understanding, just being here.”
“Yeah. Same here. If you ever, you know, want to talk, I mean.” Ianto looked around. “Right, come on, busy day ahead. I’ll put the coffee on, you get the shower running, and I’ll join you in a few minutes.” Throwing his robe on, Ianto headed for the kitchen.
Shaking his head and smiling, Jack made his way to the bathroom. Ianto was right; they did have a busy day ahead of them, and he had a lot to think about.