Disclaimer: I do not own the characters or anything about the wonderful show 'Torchwood'. Russell T. Davies is responsible for that feat. Nor do I own the song 'Babyface'. That is Harry Akst and Benny Davis' work!
Pairing: Ianto/Jack. Some Gwen/Jack to create some angst and deep contemplation for our beloved 'teaboy'.
Summary: Ianto spends a Christmas Eve with Jack and makes a mostly unknown declaration.
Frost on a Window
Frost on a Window
As a child, Ianto Jones loved winter windows, frozen and enveloped in frost. On such surrendered surfaces were captured sparkling, intricate images that painters would curse themselves for never being able to emulate.
He was a thoughtful child, and while other children rushed outside to eagerly conquer fresh snow, he preferred to linger inside or, if forced, outdoors to perch on a fence or to haunt a doorway, watching as the others formed snowballs to throw or build forts for protection against such sudden attacks.
This action never called to him.
It was the windows that lured him to them, an attraction he rarely chose to fight. It was a world as fragile as he felt. Once he had touched it, fingertips chilled, and soon remorseful, for with the heat his skin brought to it, the frost was stolen.
So he had become only a willing watcher once more and happily so, in Wales, the land of his birth.
Years added to years, until Ianto Jones was no longer a child and his home became the new Torchwood, the family, no matter how small, that he had fallen into by some small miracle. And then finally, once more, winter came and not only that, but Christmas Eve, as well.
The room was so terribly empty to Ianto. So much of the family lost or at some other engagement. Gwen had left seconds before to meet up with Rhys and attend some concert.
"No point coming in tomorrow?" she asked, putting on her winter coat, and looking rather fetching, but then she usually did.
"Hey," Jack said, taking his feet from off the desk where they had been resting. "We may need you."
"Come off it, Jack," she argued. "I think it can wait. No beasties out."
"The Doctor could tell you differently," the man said. "So should your time with us."
The woman nodded. "I want to stay in bed all day."
Ianto listened to the uneasy silence the comment brought. He watched, just as he did when he was a child, from the sidelines.
"Well I better get off then," she said, and her eyes were dark and shy. "Merry Christmas you two," she smiled. "Jack. Ianto."
When she met his eyes, Ianto was smiling wryly. "Would you mind drinking some of that Egg Nog before you leave? I don't know how to dispose of it."
The corner of her lip raised slightly. "Not when I'm driving," she stated.
Ianto looked as innocent as humanly possible. "I give you my oath it wasn't that way when I made it!" he swore as he held his hands up in defense.
"Yeah right," she put her own hands on her hips and looked far from persuaded. She made a motion to look at Jack, but then, as if thinking against it, she quickly turned and left. "See you."
Ianto glanced at Jack who had watched the woman leave.
"So when do we get going?" the Welshman cleared his throat before asking.
Jack turned around and looked at his lover. The smile that came to his lips was genuine and it warmed Ianto to see it.
"I'm just about done here," Jack said. "I'm ready when you are."
"You always are," Ianto said. "Sometimes you're a tad earlier." As if Gwen's sudden shyness was contagious, he felt suddenly hesitant as well. "Look. I've got to finish up a few things here before."
Jack studied him. Understanding the other man's mood, he simply nodded. "But you got the information? You know where it is?"
"By heart," Jones offered a nod.
The eyes of the two men locked. Once more the understanding was there, as was an intense need and depth of feeling.
Jack started to leave, putting on his famous jacket and looking as irresistibly handsome as he always did, even in moments of great stress.
This irresistibility was in large part the problem of Jack Harkness, Ianto knew.
"Yeah?" Harkness asked, the coat having fallen to his broad shoulders, and looking for all the world like a photo of a movie star from wartime.
"Do me a favor and finish off the Egg Nog," Ianto said with a straight face.
Jack frowned. "You can't be seri…."
"Just joking," Ianto said, hiding his hands in his pockets and looking pleased.
The other man laughed. "Must be Christmas."
Jack walked to Ianto and quickly held him, letting their lips meet at first gently and then passionately as if the touch was breath and the act necessary, perhaps, as it was.
Jack had left but still Ianto felt the kiss.
He remembered the first one they had shared. The shock of it and then the sweetness and the surrender.
And it hadn't been Lisa and it was just another way to have lost her.
There was guilt there but there was release too.
Here was another Christmas without her and maybe that was all right too because he was spending it with Jack and that was good.
He cleaned up, knowing he didn't need to but hesitating because he needed something to do and occupy his thoughts. Ianto realized he could have escaped in Jack's embrace, should have left with him, but that wasn't his way.
And Jack was why his thoughts were in a flurry, as tossed and blurred as the snowflakes and the night sky they were crowding.
You could never be completely sure with someone like Jack. Having given his love freely now, Ianto knew he had risked the chance of not being last and maybe Jack would only give his whole love, his loyalty, to the person he gave it to in the end.
So his hands, moved quickly, as he straightened things which did not need to be straightened, and tidied up areas that weren't even messy, while all the while he remembered the way Gwen and Jack had looked at one another in that blasted, longing way.
Feeling frustrated, and not being able to block the image, he took a deep breath and stood, walking to the kitchen, a used glass on his tray.
As he passed the counter, he looked at the bowl of Egg Nog.
"Bloody Hell," Ianto said, dropping the tray on the counter. It was empty.
Apparently, Jack had finished it off before his departure.
Smiling, Ianto took the bowl and rinsed it under the sink, grateful there wasn't too much waste and that the man had done this for him, whether it was from love, shame or responsibility.
Darkness claimed the sky over England. The snowflakes had done their part to make the blackness not so complete, illuminating sky and ground and catching a bit of the light from the streetlamps to shine.
Ianto enjoyed it: the chill of the air against his uncovered face and the sight of the snow covering the ground, though, it may not last for long before becoming tainted and grey from the cars and all that which made London what it was.
The Welshman knew he could have hailed a taxi or bus to the Bed and Breakfast Jack had rented a room for them to spend Christmas together at. Still, he had chosen to get there by foot. Foolish maybe but what his mood demanded and what he would not deny.
Down in a space by a bridge, snow angels had been formed and the cheers of children as they played could be heard.
Ianto smiled as he listened. He caught a glimpse of them.
A lone child stood by the fence, watching but not joining in. He couldn't tell if it was a boy or a girl. It didn't matter really. Suddenly, Ianto Jones was a boy again. Both lonely and resigned to it. The child turned its head and looked up at the man passing by. It raised a mitted hand and waved. Ianto stopped. He brought up a hand, gloved, and waved back.
They looked at one another for a few brief seconds before Ianto resumed his journey and the child went back to watching.
Becoming lost in his own thoughts, the man was in better spirits now.
"And maybe she'll have him at the end of it all," he thought remembering Gwen. "And maybe she won't." It was all about time and patience and waiting just as it was with watching. He had been best at waiting. And while he did, he had survived. Even after, when it had all fallen apart and left him alone and grieving.
Ianto Jones no longer was shivering. Winter was cold but not as cold as being alone. Jack was waiting for him and that was truly all that counted.
It was only a block and a few more footsteps more until he reached the Bed and Breakfast's doors.
Ianto entered through them and found himself in the hallway leading to a small desk.
An elderly, gray-haired woman waited there. Her face possessed as many lines as a Shakespeare play. Her blue eyes found the stranger in her hallway.
"Cold night," was all she offered as he shook the snow from off his coat.
"Yes it is, isn't it?" he said. "I'm looking for a Mr. Davies." It was the alias they had both agreed on.
She didn't need to look at the register. The smile that stole across her face was enough evidence to prove to Ianto Jones that the woman had already fallen victim to the irresistible charms of Jack Harkness. "Yes… Yes. He's in room 8. Second floor."
"Thank you," Ianto said.
As he was walking away, he caught her mumbling. "… needs a good woman… all I can say," was what he caught. "But he does have good taste… mighty fine in a suit…"
Climbing the stairs, Ianto tried his best to forget her words and theory. Except for the last part. That was okay.
The door was open. He knocked before entering, not that Jack showed any hint of modesty while in his presence.
"Jack," the Welshman said as he entered, not seeing the man, but hearing him whistling.
"Come on in!" Jack said, the voice coming from the bathroom assumedly. "But stay off the bed! Ignore it until I get there!"
"That won't be hard to do."
Looking at the room, a large window garnered his attention first.
Ianto Jones walked towards it, the pull almost magnetic.
The days following Lisa's death windows had been even more attractive to him. Each one was an invitation to suicide, a door to numbness or to the embrace of a woman he believed he had lost forever.
Now he went to it for another reason, the same reason that he had been drawn to them as a child. He pulled the curtains back. With a strange ecstasy he saw the frost on the window, covering it almost completely as a lover sought to embrace the beloved.
It was too tempting for the man to leave unmarked. But he would not disrupt its serenity for something foolish. It deserved something more fragile from him; perhaps it was there only to coax it from him, the sole being for its existence.
"Why not?" Ianto thought. He had seen far stranger things since his days with Torchwood.
And so he took the invitation, real or imagined, extending a naked finger to the glass where it was chilled almost immediately until the frost sacrificed itself completely to the touch.
He stared at his work and something moved inside him, a knowledge not possessed before.
Maybe he could place himself somewhere deep inside Jack's core if he just loved him. And even if Gwen was there it was okay. He could weather it. Love was romantic. It was fire and ice. And love was the most ordinary thing in the world, a gift from God. It needed to be nurtured. It survived and lived by being there. When It would die the world would truly be Godless and life would be worthless.
Or maybe the words were just frost and would disappear with time, as ephemeral as the snow falling outside.
"Hi," Ianto heard Jack say from behind him.
Ianto turned around, pulling the curtains back behind him. "Hi."
Harkness walked towards his lover. "Hey why the long face?"
"Genetics," Ianto replied. "But I always thought, personally, that it was more round than long."
This won a smile from Jack. The Captain grabbed Ianto by the waist. "Baby face, you got the cutest little baby face…"
Ianto was close to blushing.
"I got a nifty little Santa's suit if you'd like me to put it on."
Ianto didn't answer. Instead he placed his lips tenderly on Jack's. The kiss grew, becoming more passionate.
Jack was the one to break free. He raised a finger and walked towards the bed. Ianto watched as he pulled back the duvet. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of candy canes covered the mattress. They were different colors and sizes, a vast rainbow that Jack must have prepared in advance.
"You know we can always find new places to hang these," Jack said impishly as he picked one up and dangled it from his finger.
Ianto's blush deepened. "I had a feeling you'd say that."
"And do you approve?"
"If that's what you want, Jack. If that's what you want."
Ianto walked towards the man and resumed the interrupted kiss, this time passionate and tender all at once as they fell onto the bed, Jack setting free a little moan as he landed on the numerous candies.
The child was walking home. She had spent too much time at play in the snow with her friends, making a choir full of angels out of snow. She had still been making them minutes after all her friends had left, had felt more comfortable when they were gone.
And as she had made them, the image of the man who had waved at her had filled her mind. He had been too far away to see his face but she had sensed a certain kindness about him and certain sadness as well. She would not have waved at him otherwise.
Rachel knew, she had stayed too long. Now she feared she had been bad, lying to her parents that she would be home before dark and Santa would pass her by.
Rushing to her house, just a little further down the street, she passed the Bed and Breakfast owned by Mrs. Randall a crotchety old woman she disliked strongly. Usually she did not look at the building, preferred to run away past it, and away from Randall and her usual cries of disapproval. The animosity was mutual.
However something caught her eye. On a window, on the second floor, something had been written. The snow illuminated it, the words almost glowing strangely in the dark night.
Rachel stopped and stared at it in fascination, her feeling of guilt and desire for rewards of gifts pushed into the background. It was curiosity that moved her to discover them before they were lost forever. They were written backwards yet the first word was simple enough. It was the letter 'I'.
The shape afterwards was easy too for it is universal.
The girl put her hands on hips and gave a satisfactory nod.
"I love Jack," she whispered to herself
Suddenly, it no longer mattered to her if she received any presents, though in the morning her fears would be proven false and she would find that she had gotten many. At that moment, the declaration on the window somehow felt like a gift enough.
Briefly she wondered who had written the words and who was it about. A girl like herself? Maybe. Or maybe it was only about Jack Frost, the words written in his artwork on the window, afterall.
She was content with the mystery, however. It was painted in possibility and magic without the answer.
The girl rushed home, leaving behind the words, still visible in the night air as Ianto Jones fell asleep in the arms of his lover Jack Harkness.