Characters: Ianto, Jack, Others.
Summary: Jack likes to watch people, but he often finds twenty-first century humans baffling.
Word Count: 500
Written For: Prompt # 444: It's A Sign Of The... at slashthedrabble.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
Strolling through the park with Ianto on a bright and beautiful late spring day, Jack was licking his ice cream and indulging in one of his favourite hobbies, that of people watching. Twenty-first century humans were a fascinating, if sometimes incomprehensible species, as he’d pointed out to Ianto on any number of occasions.
There were people everywhere they looked, making the most of the warm weather while it lasted since the forecast for the following week was for a return to Arctic temperatures, and possible snow. There were sunbathers sprawled bonelessly on the grass, soaking up the rays, couples walking hand in hand, families having picnics, friends enjoying an alfresco lunch, and yet despite all the physical togetherness, there was a distance between them that they seemed unable to cross. Hardly any of the clusters of people were talking to each other; instead, they had their phones out and were texting, or reading, or playing games.
“What happened to the art of conversation?” Jack asked, once again completely baffled. “All these people have made the effort to spend time together, and yet they might as well be on their own for all the attention they’re paying to each other.”
“It’s a sign of the times,” Ianto agreed. “I’ve seen people sitting across the table from each other, texting when they could talk just as easily. Everyone’s become so reliant on their devices that they’ve forgotten how to communicate any other way.”
“It’s sad. They’re missing out on so much!”
“You do it too, sending me messages when you’re down in the Hub and I’m in the tourist office.”
“That’s different. I wouldn’t do that if we were in the same room. These people would be lost without their phones! They’ve probably barely said a word to each other all day, unlike us.”
Ianto smiled. He’d often claimed that he wasn’t much of a talker, but chatting with Jack was always so easy. He thought back to that morning, when they’d been woken up by the alarm clock, and Jack’s first words to him weren’t “Good morning,” but instead, “Oh God, it can’t be morning already, where did the night go?” The words had been spoken in such plaintive tones that Ianto had almost fallen out of bed laughing.
That had been followed by negotiating who got to shower first, then a brief argument over whose turn it was to make the bed, and a lively discussion about what to have for breakfast, which they’d then eaten while chatting about various stories in the morning paper.
Ianto had washed the breakfast dishes while Jack dried them and put them away, and they’d moved on to the topic of their plans for the day ahead, which was when Jack had suggested having lunch out, followed by a walk in the park, since they could both do with some fresh air.
“You’re right,” he replied. “The art of conversation may be dying, but thanks to people like us, it’s not quite dead yet.”