Notes: The full oneshot for #71 from 'Snapshots of Smiles'. Requested by chocolatekiller and toobeauty, although commented on by many more of you.
Side note: My internet is being 'interesting' lately, so I may suddenly vanish for a few weeks until I can sort it all out. Internet service providers being what they are, it could take anything from a day to a month. I apologise in advance if I disappear, but I promise to return eventually.
Disclaimer: I do not own Torchwood and I am not making any profit from this work.
The first time was one evening when Ianto was shrugging on his coat to go home. Jack was watching him from the walkway to the office, naked from the waist up and quite obviously undressing Ianto with his eyes.
"You know what you should do?" Jack yelled across the Hub, and Ianto rolled his eyes as Gwen grinned in eager anticipation of the next flirtatious remark. She got a very odd thrill out of it all, in Ianto's opinion.
"You should marry me," Jack said, "and then I could come and live with you and your landlord couldn't do sod all about it."
Gwen's squeak sounded like a strangled cat, as she looked to Ianto, who laughed.
"Oh yes?" he said. "And how do I marry someone who died in 1941?"
"Point," Jack allowed, not even looking disappointed at the subtle rejection.
"See you in the morning," Ianto said, and left.
After a moment, Gwen followed, obviously intent on finding out why.
The second time was in a pub, the whole team together (for what would be one of the last times). Jack enjoyed these outings, because there was some thrill in being the only one who was stone cold sober. And Tosh really was quite adorable when she'd had a bit too much.
"I swear if that barmaid doesn't stop flirting with me, I'll set Owen on her," Ianto grumbled, one eye drooping a little with the onset of proper drunken-ness, and Jack snickered, tucking an arm around him.
"You should marry me so you can wear a ring, and then she won't flirt so much."
"I doubt it," Ianto shrugged. "Marriage doesn't stop a wandering eye, Jack."
There was a subtle, unspoken continuation of that sentence, but Jack ignored it, even though the girls, by the expressions on their faces, had clearly heard it.
The third time, Jack couldn't remember the exact date, but it was somewhere between Owen dying for the first time and that ill-fated trip to Frankie and Benny's which gave Gwen that awful dose of food poisoning.
"Ianto?" Jack called from the office, bouncing down to the kitchen with the folder in his hand. "Why is Owen everybody's next of kin?"
"Policy," Ianto said. "Team doctor is always the next of kin, along with a relative of your choice. Best position to make medical decisions."
"I understand that," Jack said, "but this means if you go to hospital, only Owen's allowed."
"Does it?" Ianto queried.
"Yeah, you haven't got a relative down."
"I would have to choose my mother or my sister. My sister lives in Glasgow, and my mother is not someone you want around when any member of her social circle is sick or injured. She flaps," Ianto pulled a face and Jack laughed.
"Can I be your next of kin, then? It would be like being your husband."
"Or I could just put your name on my paperwork?" Ianto suggested sarcastically. "They don't exactly check the next of kin is a relative, Jack."
"So write it in," Jack said, waving the folder under Ianto's nose, before dumping it on the counter and heading back up the stairs.
The fourth time was actually Rhys' fault, of all people, and his throwaway comments over a beer in the local. There had been a bit important rugby match on that Ianto and Gwen had bullied Jack into giving them time off for, and he'd gone along just to see what all the fuss was about. Hell, he couldn't even remember who Wales had been playing (only that they'd won, because everybody had gotten insanely drunk after the match, and Ianto knew some pretty good tricks when he was pissed). But Jack remembered that throwaway comment easily, pre-match, to break the ice.
"The way Gwen goes on about the two of you, I'm surprised you're not married yet," Rhys had said, and Ianto had snickered into his drink like a teenager thinking dirty thoughts.
"Well, I keep dropping hints, but he's completely oblivious," Jack said.
Ianto shrugged, and said, "I've always been like that."
The fifth time had been in the Tourist Office, on a sunny morning that had been bloody cold nonetheless, and Ianto had dragged his winter coat out of his cupboard again.
"You know, if you married me, you wouldn't have to go home, so you wouldn't leave, so you wouldn't get cold," Jack had commented, while burrowing his hands under the coat and suit to find Ianto's bare skin.
"I almost live here anyway," Ianto had said, but he hadn't stopped the hands on their determined path.
The sixth time had come from the sound of a wolf-whistle on the street while they had been out on a Weevil chase.
"I need to put a sign on you saying 'taken'," Jack had snickered, taking Ianto's hand to prove the point to the onlooker anyway.
"Like what?" Ianto had asked.
"Like a ring," Jack said, innocently rubbing his fingertips over the blank space on Ianto's left hand.
"Not much of a sign," Ianto said, wrinkling his nose. "It doesn't even have words - not ones you can read at a distance, anyway."
Jack laughed at his pedantic nature, but kept hold of his hand anyway. Just to prove a point.
The seventh time had been a few quick words, exchanged in anxious moments in the middle of an adventure that Jack could safely say he would rather never experience again.
"Marry me so I can stop flashing my Torchwood ID to get to see you in hospital!" he'd ordered, while trying to stop the bleeding, and Ianto had forced out his response through gritted teeth:
"You flash everything anyway."
The eighth had been one of those things that happen when you're not sure you're going to see one another again. The sounds of the Earth dying rang through the speakers, and Ianto was white-faced, struggling to keep away the memories of metal on metal and screaming, dying colleagues.
"If we both survive this," Jack had whispered into his ear as he shouldered the gun and prepared to go, "then I'll marry you as a reward."
"A legal contract with you is a reward?" Ianto had sniped shakily. "Can't I just get a good shag instead?"
"Deal," Jack whispered, and then he was gone.
The ninth had been Ianto's fault - entirely and completely and definitely Ianto's fault. Jack hadn't had any ideas until Ianto had looked up from scrubbing bloodstains off the autopsy bay floor and said, "I feel like your bloody housemaid sometimes."
"Housewife, maybe," Jack said.
"I'm not your bloody wife, Jack."
"You could be."
Ianto snorted and said, "Oh, right. Let me guess, then. Our new alien toy turns blokes into birds, to quote a well-known doctor. Does it?"
"No," Jack admitted. "But I would definitely be the husband in the relationship."
"In which case, I'm going to enact wife revenge and deny you sex for a week," Ianto said, and returned to his scrubbing.
"Shit," Jack said conversationally, but got no reply.
It was on the tenth attempt that Jack got it. Which wasn't too bad, in the grand scheme of things. And he seemed to get it quite suddenly, coming down to the main floor of the Hub and yelling up to Ianto in the kitchen.
Gwen looked up, frowning at the disturbance, as did Ianto when he emerged from the kitchen, drying his hands.
"What?" he asked.
"Will you marry me?" Jack yelled.
Gwen did the same squeak she'd done all those months ago and stared up at Ianto with her blue eyes wide, almost daring him to defy her and refuse again.
"Yeah, alright," he said.
Jack grinned, blew him a kiss, and went back to his office, leaving Gwen to puzzle and Ianto to wash up.
Ianto knew he'd figure it out. Eventually.