Characters: Ianto, Jack.
Summary: The Torchwood team have been run off their feet for days; it’s time Jack and Ianto took a little time for themselves.
Word Count: 1526
Written For: mahmfic’s prompt ‘Beach at night,’ and anonymous’s prompt ‘Warm quiet night and a stroll outside, hand in hand,’ at torchwood_fest.
Beta: My lovely friend milady_dragon. Thanks so much!
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
“When you said it was a nice evening for a stroll, this isn’t quite what I thought you meant.” Not that Ianto was complaining or anything, but Jack’s idea of a ‘stroll’ usually meant either Weevil hunting, or a walk to the chip shop.
“Don’t you like it? I thought we were in a bit of a rut and this would be nice, you know, romantic.” Jack glanced sidelong at him, a slightly worried frown creasing his forehead.
“No, I mean yes, I like it; it’s very romantic. I hadn’t noticed we were in a rut, but now you mention it…”
“Weevil hunting and takeaway?”
“Mm. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but this is a very pleasant change of pace.”
Jack’s frown was replaced by a bright smile and he reached for Ianto’s hand, twining their fingers together. “I’m glad you approve. Everything’s been so busy lately we haven’t had much time for us.”
Ianto half-shrugged. “That’s Torchwood for you. The Rift doesn’t operate to a set schedule, and invading aliens drop in any time they please, regardless of the disruption they cause. It’s very inconvenient; makes it difficult to plan dates.”
“You’d rather they book in advance?” Jack said with a chuckle.
“Now there’s an idea.” Ianto grinned at his lover. “They can call ahead, and we’ll be all ‘How does a week on Thursday suit you? We can fit you in between two and three-thirty, and please don’t be late; we’re very busy’. Got to be strict with these aliens; can’t have them invading willy nilly.”
They were both laughing now as they ambled along at the water’s edge, barefoot and with their trouser legs rolled up, enjoying the cool water as small wavelets lapped around their feet, never going higher than their ankles. “There would have to be penalties for any aliens who arrived late or failed to show up for their scheduled invasion,” Jack added.
“Naturally, they’d have to abide by certain rules and accept the consequences for non-compliance. If they arrived late they’d have to pay a penalty and reschedule for a later date. If they simply didn’t turn up… Well, that would be unforgivably rude, I think they’d have to forfeit their right to invasion privileges.”
“Sounds about right,” Jack agreed. “If they can’t be bothered to keep their appointment, they can’t be serious about invading anyway. We should slap a sign on the Moon. ‘No Time Wasters’.”
“In mile high neon letters, so no one can miss it. Maybe have the invasion booking office up there too, for convenience. I’m sure we could find someone willing to staff it.”
“I’ll suggest it to Lizzie next time I’m in London,” Jack said with a grin. “With the number of times London has been targeted, she’s always open to suggestions for improving earth’s defences.”
“You do that. If nothing else, it’ll give Her Majesty a good laugh.”
Falling into a comfortable silence, they wandered onwards, going nowhere in particular, and in no hurry to get there. It was soothing, just luxuriating in the peace and quiet, hearing nothing but the wavelets lapping against the shore and the sound their footsteps made in the wet sand. Ianto couldn’t think of anywhere he’d rather be. It made a welcome change from Torchwood’s usual frenetic pace; this was the first time in days they’d had a chance to spend time together doing something that wasn’t work-related. They really should try to make more time for themselves.
The weather over the last few days had been much too hot for Ianto’s tastes, with temperatures climbing into the high eighties and beyond, but now the sun had set it had cooled down to something he was more comfortable with. A pleasant breeze was coming in off the sea, ruffling his hair with invisible fingers, and he decided he could quite happily stay out here on this peaceful, moon-washed beach all night, if it weren’t for the fact that he and Jack would both have to be at the Hub bright and early the next morning.
After the third day of Rift madness in a row, with frequent alerts keeping the whole team busy, Jack had found Ianto in the archives a couple of hours ago, just finishing up the last of the filing he hadn’t had time for earlier in the day. When he’d suggested they go for a late night stroll, Ianto, supposing his lover meant there was a Weevil on the rampage, had reluctantly agreed. No matter how wrung out he might feel, he knew his Torchwood duties always had to come first. Slumped in the SUV, caught up in his own thoughts, he hadn’t noticed at first that instead of turning towards the city centre, Jack had gone in the opposite direction. They’d been the other side of Newport before he’d surfaced enough to take stock of where they were, and Jack had kept driving until they’d reached this out-of-the-way stretch of the coast where they’d have the beach to themselves, not even a stray tourist for company.
It really was the perfect night for a stroll on the beach, he reflected. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and as the moon was waning, the stars overhead were brighter and more numerous than you’d ever get to see in the city, where the ever-present lights drowned them out. Ianto couldn’t remember the last time he’d done something like this. Probably it was back before the Battle of Canary Wharf, on one of his and Lisa’s camping trips.
He was surprised to realise that thinking of Lisa no longer hurt the way it used to. He’d loved her, tragically lost her, but he’d survived and moved on. Although he’d never forget her, he had Jack to love now, and he thought Lisa would be happy for him. The one time she’d seen Jack on one of his visits to London, she’d told Ianto later that the man was bloody gorgeous. He chuckled to himself at the memory.
“Penny for your thoughts?” Jack asked, nudging Ianto with his shoulder.
“Just remembering the time Lisa saw you at Torchwood Tower. She told me she’d heard rumours about you, that you were up for anything, and if she’d had the nerve she would’ve asked if you’d like to join us for a threesome later.”
Jack barked out a laugh. “And if she had asked, and I’d said yes, would you have gone along with it?”
“Don’t know. Probably. Could hardly ever say no to her. There are some definite similarities between the two of you; she was always good at getting her own way too.”
“Sounds like my kind of girl. You miss her?”
“Sometimes. Not like I used to though.”
Jack squeezed Ianto’s hand. “Those we love, even after they’re gone we never really lose them completely, not as long as we remember them. They live on in our hearts.”
“They do.” Ianto was silent for a moment before asking, “When I’m gone, will you remember me?”
Jack stopped walking, pulling Ianto to a halt beside him. Turning to face his lover, he cupped Ianto’s face with one hand and gazed intently into his eyes. “You, Ianto Jones, are not going anywhere anytime soon, understand? I don’t plan on losing you for a very long time, not until you’re old and wrinkly and chasing me with your walking stick when I’m behind with my paperwork. But yes, I’ll remember you for as long as I possibly can. I’m a better man because of you.”
“You’ve always been a better man than you think you are, Jack; sometimes you just need someone to remind you.” Ianto broke the seriousness with a smirk and the words, “Don’t let it go to your head though; that’s quite big enough already.” Before Jack could respond to his playful comment, Ianto silenced him with a kiss.
Ianto didn’t know how long they might have stood there like that, lost in each other, oblivious to the world around them, if the incoming tide hadn’t caused a bigger wave to sweep in, knocking them off balance and soaking them past their knees. They separated, laughing, grabbing each other by the hand and floundering out of the water.
“That put a bit of a damper on things,” Jack said, drawing a snort of amusement from Ianto.
“Just slightly. It’s getting late anyway; we should probably head back to the SUV if we want to get to bed before it’s time to get up again.”
“You’re right, as usual. Maybe we could come back here some other evening, when things aren’t so busy and we’ve got more time to spare.”
“I’d like that.”
Arms looped around each other’s waists, the stars still twinkling above, they headed back the way they’d come, walking slowly, in no hurry to return to civilisation, and more than content to be sharing this brief respite from their busy lives. In a few hours they’d be back at work, protecting the people of Cardiff from things they were better off not knowing about, but for now they were just two lovers, enjoying a relaxing stroll in the moonlight.