Disclaimer: I do not own Torchwood.
"It never gets old with you, Mr. Jones."
With a satisfied and languid smile, Jack wrapped his arms securely around the man nestling into his shoulder. Ianto let out a deep sigh as he linked legs with Jack, not bothering to mind the thin sheet of sweat that caked both their skins.
"I could say the same for you." he murmured into the Captain's chest, his fingers gently roaming Jack's skin.
Jack squirmed, "That tickles!" He exclaimed, poking Ianto pointedly in the ribcage. They both laughed exhaustingly, curling into each other almost as though it was routine. The feel of Ianto's soft hair tucked underneath his chin was enough to lull Jack to sleep.
"So," Jack mumbled, stretching his arms over his head, "up for a shower?"
"Alone?" Ianto inquired, his eyebrows furrowed together as he lifted his head from Jack's chest to stare at his lover questioningly. The older man chucked huskily, shaking his head as he pondered the question. Groping underneath the covers for Ianto's hand, Jack intertwined their fingers and threw the covers off of the bed, dragging the two of them to the bathroom sleepily.
"God, Jack. It was warm under there." Ianto whined, rubbing at his eyes. Jack turned on the water spout, testing it with his finger as he undressed deftly with one hand. He turned to face Ianto, a seductive smile on his face as he expertly popped open two buttons on his shirt and let four fingers tease his skin gingerly.
"Don't worry," he murmured, sliding the shirt off of Ianto's shoulders and letting his hands travel all over the younger man's skin as though he was doing it for the first time, "you'll warm up quickly."
"I like the way you think," Ianto said, cocking his head to the side with a grin as he slid out of his remaining clothing and joined Jack underneath the steady shower of water that pounded down on their skin. The Captain's eyes flickered over Ianto's body as he stepped into the tub, smiling hungrily as he instantly captured his lips in a wet kiss, beads of water falling down their faces. They pressed themselves closer to each other, moaning greedily at the touch of skin against skin. It was amazing how even though they had touched more than a hundred times, fire still ignited at even the simplest connection of fingertips.
"Just can't get enough…" Jack sighed, raking a hand through his hair as once again, Ianto lay glued to side with the bed sheets pooled around their waists. Playing lightly with Ianto's fingers, Jack sighed contentedly.
"Marry me?" he asked quietly.
Ianto's head snapped to the side, eyes wide as tree trunks as his gaze connected with the older man's. "What?!"
Ianto promptly began laughing, twisting in the bed so he was lying on his stomach. "Very funny, Jack. And soon you'll be looking at adoption leaflets."
Jack tutted at Ianto's disbelief, "What, you don't believe me? C'mon, Ianto, you know that I love you and I think you'd make a good wife, so why not?"
"Oh, I'd be the wife?"
"You're the one who makes the coffee."
Ianto pondered the thought for a moment before he squinted his eyes and shook his head, "No! Jack, getting married is not like going out for a date! It's not something casual you just throw out after a shag! And the fact that you do say something while we're in bed together makes me feel even more worthless!"
"Ianto, what's so hard to believe, I think we'd be great together!" Jack told him defensively, not being able to wipe his smile off of his face.
"You know, Jack, this stopped being funny like – yesterday." Ianto grabbed his pants, hastily stepping into them, "If you even knew me at all, you'd know that I wouldn't want a proposal after a shag."
"Next time, try actually inviting me to dinner first." Ianto said heatedly, raking a hand through his hair and leaving Jack's office with a shake of the head.
Jack sighed, tutting incredulously as he watched Ianto stalk from the office with an aura of hurt and indignance.
"Never knew he wanted to be courted like a lady…" The Captain muttered underneath his breath. He remembered proposals he had performed in the past in the 1800s, and even then Jack had been a simple man. And the ladies he had been with had accepted that, all the way from the fact that he didn't cook and clean to the way that he proposed. Just a ring.
If Ianto wanted more, however, Jack would try.
The next morning, he was a little surprised not to be fixed with Ianto's icy stare. Instead, he received his morning coffee with a brisk "Good morning, sir," and that had been all. Jack had put down his coffee and snaked his hands around Ianto's waist from behind, kissing him gently on the neck.
"Someone," he began, nuzzling the younger man's shoulder blade, "needs to make your coffee every once in a while, Yan."
"I can make my own coffee, Jack."
"Yes, but…" Jack twisted the younger man in his arms enthusiastically, nipping gently at the skin below his ear. He reveled in the feeling of Ianto shuddering in his arms despite the Welshman's clear efforts to suppress his tingling. "I think you should let someone else do your work once."
Ianto sighed, squirming out of Jack's arms and eyeing the coffee machine suspiciously, almost as though it wouldn't be in good hands with the Captain around.
"All right." He agreed finally, reluctantly scooting away from the machine but still remaining in earshot.
Jack frowned, "Ianto, go relax. Use my office. You don't have to watch me like I'm about to kill the machine."
With a raised eyebrow, Ianto shuffled away. Jack stared at the machine as though it held all of the answers in the world, mostly because he had no idea how it worked in the first place. During his whole time at Torchwood he'd always had someone else run it.
Tentatively, he played with the buttons until he had a frothy, steaming, hopefully tasty cup of coffee in a mug. Humming, Jack swirled a spoon around the bottom of the cup before gently hooking a message off of the spoon almost like a miniature flag. With a broad beam, Jack carried the coffee off to Ianto and handed it to him innocently.
"Thanks, Jack." Ianto sniffed the beverage hesitantly before taking a sip. It was then that he noticed the spoon sliding around the rim noisily, and with it, the note taped onto the utensil as well. He snatched it off, murmuring its contents to himself.
"You're even hotter than the coffee," Ianto heaved a deep sigh as he read the note, "and I need someone to heat up the hub when I'm lonely. Will you marry me?"
Jack put his hands behind his back with a guiltless grin and expectantly raised eyebrows. Ianto tutted and put the coffee on the counter.
"Jack, you think that's romantic?" He asked incredulously, running a hand through his hair.
"It's… different. And your coffee is something that symbolizes you, so I thought it would be thoughtful."
"And you were real discreet this morning with shooing me away from the coffee machine, Jack." He rolled his eyes, "I know that an engagement isn't about how you do it or what you say. But the fact that you're not a woman means I'm automatically going to miss out on so many experiences, and I just want this one thing."
Jack gingerly took Ianto's hand in his and kissed each one, "Your wish is my command, milady."
Ianto thought that there was nothing better in the world than a fresh, mouth-watering clam chowder still steaming and hot enough to burn his tongue. It was things like that that made a burnt tongue absolutely worth it.
"You know how I feel about food in the hub, Ianto…" a teasing voice mumbled from behind Ianto.
"Yes, I do, Jack. You love food in the hub. Want some?" Ianto waggled the spoon over his shoulder at Jack temptingly, swallowing a loaded mouthful after Jack politely declined.
"Never really liked clam chowder. Tasted… real clammy."
Ianto chortled into his soup as he felt Jack's hands massaging his shoulders. He subconsciously melted into the touch, still sipping noisily at his soup.
"That's the point, sir."
"You've got to stop calling me that," Jack said with a husky chuckle, "at least not during work."
"Does it turn you on or something?" Ianto asked with a smirk, licking at his spoon.
"Just put away the soup, Ianto, I can think of something better to do with that tongue than eat …" he pulled the bowl away from the younger man. Ianto made an indignant sound, yanking it back to the safety of his part of the table.
"Get your own soup." He slurped up another generous spoonful, even making a content mmm noise before he felt something abnormal slide against his tongue and fall awkwardly down his throat. Promptly he choked, coughing the object back into his mouth and hastily retrieving it into his hands.
A soaked piece of paper caked with a clam chowder scent was in his fingers. With a frown, Ianto unfurled it and read the slightly faded black message.
"Jack fucking Harkness," Ianto growled, "If you want to propose, don't let me choke on my food." He hurried away from the table with a scowl.
"Still on for tonight?" Jack whispered huskily into Ianto's ear, his fingers ghosting over the younger man's hips like a spider's sprinting. Ianto jumped at the sudden touches, swiveling around from the chair he had situated himself in.
"Uh, sure. My place or your office?"
Jack smiled, "Yours. And bring your stopwatch," he said with a catlike lick on Ianto's earlobe. "You know. The gold one that I like."
Ianto flushed at the words before he felt Jack's hands slip away from his waist. He vaguely registered Owen watching them from the nearby room with his eyebrows cocked.
"Uh… it's just shiny, that's all." Ianto mumbled to him defensively.
"I don't even want to know, Ianto."
Embarrassingly, Ianto hastened away from his perch on his seat and hurried to find the stopwatch Jack had been speaking of. Rustling through all of the pockets in the coat he had hung up on the hat rack, Ianto finally located the petite clock, a dangly chain swinging off the Welshman's palm. Noticing all of the fingerprints on it as though someone had been tampering with it, Ianto swiftly flossed it with the sleeve of his suit. In two seconds, it promptly began to shine like a handful of fresh dimes again.
He was about to pocket the watch when it began beeping noisily. Frowning upon the piece of jewelry, Ianto hesitantly opened it to find a small, folded note fluttering out of its hold and onto the floor. He pressed a button to stop the beeping and knelt on the floor to retrieve the message.
Can you believe what you've made me do, Ianto Jones?
The sheer creating of this had me in groans,
I'm writing poetry for you,
Rhyming not just one sentence, but two,
But let me tell you that you are worth it, you see
Will you now marry me?
Ianto let out a puff of disbelief as he reread the poem practically half a dozen times. Captain Jack Harkness writing frilly, lovey-dovey poetry? Ianto cringed at the way Jack's mind appeared to be gearing itself into.
It was a little bit too effeminate for Ianto.
Fifty-two minutes later, Jack was coolly and wordlessly handed a note from Ianto on his way to leave the hub for lunch.
Are you just that feminine, or am I a girl?
Those very verses made me want to hurl.
All I want is something normal,
You don't have to make it so disgustingly formal.
Ianto blearily blinked as the beeping of his alarm clock pulled him from his peaceful slumber. Despite Jack's failed proposal tainting the sight of the little golden stopwatch, Ianto had brought it along anyway to their nightly meeting in the Welshman's apartment. And he believed that he could safely say for the two of them that it had been a smart idea.
Nestled in the crook of Jack's elbow, Ianto reluctantly pulled himself away from the warmth of the Captain's embrace and hobbled over to his closet.
As much as Jack's proposals definitely showed effort, all of his methods were meaningless, failed to show improvement in ingenuity, and seemed so casual with his almost daily inquiries of engagement that they may as well be stuck in nonchalant conversation over teatime.
Ianto was not amused.
He stumbled into his closet sleepily and groped for one his favorite suits. As s he reached to pull on his trousers, he noticed something crinkly lodged in his belt loop. At closer examination, Ianto found a very noticeable neon green post-it stuck to his pants.
You look so incredibly stunning in suits, it makes me want to buy you a world full of them. But as amazing as you look in them, I like you much better out of them!
Marry me please?
Ianto crumpled the note up in his fist, stomping out of his closet to find Jack rubbing his eyes and sitting up in bed, his muscles flexing as he stretched.
"Morning, Ianto." He greeted groggily, his voice thick with sleep.
"Jack, try actually speaking the words and not just marry me on pieces of paper." Exasperatedly, Ianto flicked the crisp piece of paper into Jack's lap and headed to the kitchen.
Ianto was lounging languidly by the coffee machine, taking bites from his sandwich at random intervals and vaguely watching Tosh monitor the rift activity. He was slightly subconscious as he took bites from his sandwich, occasionally lifting up the upper layer to spy for pieces of parchment and other lethal items once swallowed.
But Jack didn't even seem to be in the hub, so Ianto was almost one hundred percent sure that he would be dodging an embarrassing rejection and proposal today.
Ianto looked up from his perch on his chair, smiling politely at Gwen, who was standing awkwardly in front of him. Her foot was tapping meaningless rhythms on the floor and her hands were fidgeting behind her back. Ianto's eyebrows raised when he noticed that the usually comfortable woman was looking everywhere but the Welshman.
"Gwen…? Did you need something?"
"Um, no, but Jack wanted me to ask you something."
Oh no. Ianto could practically smell the clichés attacking his body like the never ending proposals was a colony of E. Coli and he was room temperature Canadian beef. He rubbed at his forehead with a sigh."
"All right." He said tiredly.
"He's wondering if you'd, uh, marry him." Gwen inquired uneasily.
Ianto's grip on his sandwich tightened considerably. His fingerprints were practically visible on the soft bread.
"And he wanted me to give you this too." Gwen uncomfortably handed Ianto a scarlet UNIT cap. Ianto flushed crimson.
"Oh my." He murmured, his hand sliding over his mouth. "Oh no he didn't."
"Um, Ianto, what should I tell him?"
"Tell him that if he wants the right answer, he shouldn't give me an engagement present that relates to sex. Otherwise he's fishing in the wrong ocean. Actually, he's not fishing at all. He's probably just dangling a fishhook in a bathtub."
"I – em, okay. Should I, uh, take that back?" she extended her hand awkwardly to retrieve the cap. Ianto stared at it contemplatively before he hesitantly shook his head.
"Uh, no, I think I'll keep this. It… it was a nice gesture after all." He mumbled embarrassingly, and ducked his head to attempt to hide his furiously blushing cheeks. Gwen scuttled away.
Ianto turned the lights on to his apartment with a sigh, tossing his keys onto his couch and loosening his tie from its chokehold's grip. Like most days, Ianto couldn't feel any muscles in his body anymore from their latest hunt. He hadn't been able to speak to Jack all day, to tell him that he should just give up, stop proposing, because Ianto couldn't take anymore cheesy lines and unorthodox proposals… he had officially given up with wanting a normal engagement. He had officially given up with wanting a normal relationship. The point was that he loved Jack and that he made him happy, whether he was dead or alive or more than a hundred years old. As much as it pained him to admit that he should've agreed to Jack's first proposal a long time ago, it was the truth, and right now, after a truckload of rejections having been hurled at him, Jack deserved Ianto's honesty.
He went to turn on the lights in his bedroom when he realized that they flicked on by themselves as he stepped exhaustingly into his sleeping space. His hand reaching for the gun tucked into his trousers, he froze when he saw Jack leaning in the doorway with his finger playing idly with the light switch.
"Didn't know you were here." Ianto mumbled quietly. Jack nodded.
"I have something to give you." the Captain announced. There was no impish grin on his face, which worried Ianto. Not even beneath his professional work glare was there a hint of a playful tease.
"What is it, Jack?"
Reaching into his pocket, the older man drew out two shining rings, playing with them on each of his thumbs. His eyes were glued to the jewelry in his hands as though the sight of them itself brought memories flitting into his head, and with a heavy sigh he handed Ianto one of them and closed his fist around it.
"I'm sorry, Ianto. I haven't been giving you what a guy like you should get. Your mother probably expects you to bring home some respectable lady when you want to introduce your fiancé. And we'd never have a proper marriage, or a proper life, or proper kids. And you deserved an engagement, something which I… I just couldn't seem to do right. So even if you say no, you don't want to marry me ever, I want you to have that ring. You deserve it, Yan."
Ianto unfurled his hand gingerly, picking up the ring and observing it in the light with dumbstruck eyes. The ring, though sparkling like a fresh penny, was dull around the edges and had the smell of used copper. It was clearly an old ring, treasured by someone in the past before.
"Was this yours?"
"It was my fathers." Jack said quietly. Ianto couldn't help but notice that the older man had already donned his own ring.
"And… and you want me to have it?"
"I couldn't think of anyone better."
Ianto felt an unstoppable grin forming on his face as he twirled the ring around his finger in awe. He slipped it onto his finger as easily as though it was a glove, letting out a steady breath of hot air he had been suppressing.
"It's – wow, Jack."
He felt Jack's hands winding their ways around Ianto's waist softly, his nose nuzzled protectively in his neck as a mother would nestle her young. Ianto hugged him back, loving the feel of a ring-adorned finger pressing against the Captain's back.
"This is exactly what I wanted, Jack. Something that means something to you."
"So I guess this time it's a yes?"
"No," Ianto said with a beam, "it's a definitely."
AN: For all of you who have a livejournal account, I'm here to let you know that I've had my lj account for almost a year now and I've never bothered to let all of you guys know… so, if you are a reader or a friend, feel free to friend me at juliakerns5 at livejournal! :D
In the meantime, I'd like to give a shout out to a great friend of mine who inspired me to write this story in the first place… a big thanks to my amazing friend Veterization! If you guys want to mentioned in my author's notes, you know what you have to do!! Send me a message because I love new friends!