Notes: The full oneshot for #80 from 'Snapshots of Smiles'. Requested by Sony Boy and toobeauty.
Disclaimer: I do not own Torchwood and I am not making any profit from this work.
The Nitty Gritty Bits
"Alright?" Ianto asked, coming to sit down on the Hub sofa beside Gwen. He obviously knew something wasn't, because he came armed with the chocolate biscuits and Gwen's 'especially crap day' coffee with the chocolate sprinkles on. That coffee only appeared on Gwen's bad days, or Tosh's birthday.
"Mm," she mumbled, taking the peace offering and giving him a pathetic smile. "Thanks."
"No problem," he said. "What's the matter?"
"How do you know something's the matter?" she asked. It was a genuine question. Ianto was so perceptive when it came to other people, Gwen would have called him a girl if he'd been a character in a book (and she didn't know, being Welsh, that Ianto was a male name). Rename the Ianto-character Bronwen and nobody would be any the wiser.
"Two sisters, several female cousins, and a mother whose hormones were about as predictable as Mount Etna," Ianto said. "It's a breeze nowadays."
"Ouch," Gwen sympathised. Her mother-in-law sounded like she'd get along with Ianto's mother quite nicely.
"Yeah, puberty was the worst," Ianto grimaced. "So, what's the matter?"
"Big row with Rhys last night," she said, shrugging and taking a biscuit. "Just not sure I want to face him yet. It'll be sniping and accusations from both sides, then I'll cry and he'll get all awkward."
"Yeah, but the making up bit must be good," Ianto said.
"Yeah, it's just the bit before that's crap."
"Well if it wasn't so crap, the making up wouldn't be so good," Ianto shrugged.
"Do you have to make up with Jack a lot?" she asked curiously.
"Oh yes," Ianto said. "He drives me nuts half the time. We spend most nights making up."
"God," Gwen grimaced. "How do you stand it? I'd kill Jack if I was in a relationship with him."
"I've been tempted," Ianto smirked. "It's how I know that I love him. He drives me absolutely insane, and I've used up every expletive I know - and that's four languages' worth - on the man, but I still consider it a good day if it was spent with him."
"You're doomed," Gwen predicted sensibly, taking another biscuit.
"Yeah," Ianto shrugged. "He flirts with anything that moves, he disregards me, or he mothers me to death. He puts his boots on the table, breaks into my flat, eats my food, likes to deliberately hide my clothing so I'll be late for work and he gets to see me wander around half-dressed..."
"God, I hate that. Rhys does it too," Gwen scowled.
"And let's not forget the snoring."
"Jack snores? Jack doesn't even sleep."
"When he does, he snores. It's like having a rock concert going off in one ear."
Gwen giggled: "Well, Rhys..."
Jack watched from the windows of his office and rolled his eyes.
"Hey, you," Jack said, sliding his arms around Ianto's waist and grinning at him. "Gwen gone home now?"
"Yeah. Did my duty and swapped stories with her," Ianto said. "You get that paperwork I left you done?"
"Eventually. Hey, why didn't you say I annoy you so much?" Jack asked, but the tone was playful.
"I do. Loudly. Repeatedly. You just ignore me," Ianto shrugged. "I think I might give up soon, and just start smacking you one when you piss me off enough."
"Terrifying," Jack drawled. "I'll just have to learn new ways to irritate you, so you'll have to keep telling me."
Ianto snorted, and Jack's grin widened.
"Did I insult you?" Jack wondered. "Do we have to make up now?"
"Skip the fight, start the making up process. Saves time," Ianto proposed.
Jack laughed, worming his hands up under Ianto's shirt. He knew the way he would untuck the shirt annoyed Ianto too, but he didn't really care. Lots of things he did annoyed Ianto - and lots of things Ianto did annoyed Jack in return.
The proof was in the sticking around, not so much the nitty gritty bits.
"Ianto," Jack asked, sometime the next morning between waking up tangled in sleeping Welshman, and deciding to actually get untangled from said sleeping Welshman. "If I annoy you so much, why are you still here?"
"Cos I love you, stupid git," Ianto mumbled. His mouth was somewhere in the region of Jack's neck, though not actually doing anything. It was too early for that.
"How do you know?"
"I haven't killed you or quit in disgust," Ianto said, yawning widely. "You may be my boss, Jack, but only blood relatives and lovers get to piss anybody off that much."
Jack laughed at that. He knew the feeling. When he was a child, his little brother had irritated him beyond belief, but he'd loved him anyway. Ianto bitched about his sisters all the time, but Jack knew he would drop everything to help either one of them.
"So you know you love me because you haven't murdered me and hid the body yet?" Jack teased.
"Yeah," Ianto agreed. "Love's stupid, not blind."
"Well, you're pedantic."
"And you're a childish, mud-slinging weasel," Ianto grumbled. "Let me sleep, Jack. 'Nother half hour, that's all I ask."
"What if I want to play?" Jack asked, walking his fingers up Ianto's rather sensitive ribs. Ianto twitched and Jack could feel him scowling against his neck.
"Piss off," Ianto snapped.
"You love me anyway," Jack beamed, turning them so he was looming over Ianto, who blinked up at him in sleepy surprise.
"Are we making up again?" he asked.
"Hopefully," Jack said. "You did call me a weasel."
Ianto laughed, and drew Jack down for a kiss.
Jack had expected a lot of things from life, after becoming eternal. He knew he would see things others would only dream of, and experience thousands upon thousands of people.
But he had never expected to find a relationship where 'you're an annoying bastard' became synonymous with 'I love you'.
It wasn't romantic, but it was reality. Nitty gritty bits and all.