Jack used his key to let himself into Ianto's apartment building. He stopped dead in his tracks as he walked into the old lady from downstairs brandishing a rolled up newspaper at him.
"Ow," he yelled, throwing up his arms to protect his head. "Mrs Johnson, please. We've been through this."
"Ianto. Told. Me. Not. To. Let. You. In," she shrilled, punctuating each word with a whack from the paper.
"I know," Jack pleaded, "but that was months ago. Look, he gave me a key."
"Hey Mrs Johnson," said a voice from the open doorway, "what's up."
The old lady gave Jack another whack before turning to speak to the newcomer. "Oh Hello, Rhys," she said, "how's that lovely wife of yours."
"Oh you know Gwen, fit as ever," He tried to keep a straight face as she resumed her attack.
"Goddamn it," Jack grunted, "will you please tell her to stop hitting me."
Rhys chuckled "It's okay, Mrs Johnson" he said "he's with me." He put an arm around her shoulders and led her back to her front door. Just before she disappeared into her flat she turned around and made an "I'm watching you" gesture at Jack. He growled at her.
"Gee thanks, Rhys" he said, "little sooner next time though, yeah?"
Rhys smirked. After a second or two, Jack rolled his eyes and smiled back, shaking his head affectionately. While not exactly best buddies Jack and Rhys had come to an understanding and they were happy to concede they both just wanted what was best for Ianto.
"Where is the lovely Mrs Williams anyway?"
"She's upstairs with Ianto. She's been helping Tosh get him ready all afternoon."
When they reached Ianto's flat, Jack opened the door and stood back to let Rhys in.
He indicated for the other man to go sit in the lounge while he went in search of his young lover. He knocked on the bedroom door and entered without waiting for an answer, suppressing a guffaw at the sight that met him. Ianto was sitting at his desk while Gwen was giving him a manicure and Tosh was running a pair of straighteners through his hair.
"So this is what you three get up to when the rest of us aren't around." Jack chuckled.
The young Welshman had grown quite close to both girls in recent months and they regularly socialised, both with and without their respective partners. Jack suspected that on the odd occasion when his work sent him half way around the world to investigate some amazing find, (which nine times out of ten turned out to be a random piece of flotsam or jetsam,) the three of them had week-long slumber parties, telling each other scary stories, making dens out of duvets, playing spin the bottle and now it appears, giving each other makeovers too.
Jack sat down on the bed and the movement caused the jewel encrusted handcuffs hanging from the bedstead to rattle noisily. He smirked, catching Ianto's eye and raising his eyebrows suggestively. Ianto blushed and looked away but couldn't help a small smile escaping his lips. The girls burst out laughing.
"Oh god," Ianto moaned, "when you've done making fun of my love life."
"They're just jealous," Jack grinned, "by the way, Mrs Johnson attacked me again."
"Oh, shit. Jack I'm sorry. I'll talk to her. Mind you, I think it might be easier if I just moved. I need somewhere bigger anyway."
"S'okay. She's just trying to look out for you. Is Rhiannon going to be there tonight?"
"Of course, she's my sister."
"Sorry ," Jack said, trying not to sound too petulant, "it's just she hates me."
"She doesn't," Ianto assured him, "Not really. Or at least, no more than your daughter hates me."
Jack sighed. It was a conversation they'd had many times and the one thing they both agreed upon is life would be pretty much perfect if it wasn't for their families.
"How are you feeling," he asked, changing the subject, "not nervous or anything?"
"Why would I be nervous?"
"Ianto," Jack scolded, "I won't allow you to do this."
"Make out that it's not a big deal."
"Oh," the young Welshman laughed, "It's not a big deal though is it. I seem to remember you calling it a crappy local paper once."
"A crappy local paper read by 95% of Cardiff's population and they are the ones voting in this thing."
"Yes, but you know as well as I do the only reason I was even nominated for Cardiff's Sports Personality of the Year is because of a viral campaign by a few dozen hysterical women."
"No, that's what the paper want you to believe. The truth is you were nominated because a lot of people read you're blog and they like you."
"Maybe. By the way, I got an email from Jay this morning."
"Really? How is he? Is he seeing anyone new?"
"It's okay, you know, you can ask."
Jack smiled. "I'm sorry. I just didn't want you to feel jealous or think I minded whether or not he was still with John."
"You were with John for a long time before me," Ianto said, "I'd be surprised if you didn't still care if he was happy."
Jack nodded. "So......"
"Jay wants us to go over for the wedding in the summer."
Jack's mouth dropped open, "No!"
Ianto laughed. "No, you idiot. I was joking. Could you really see Jay settling down with anybody, never mind John. When his work permit is up, he's going to move on. South America he thinks but he hasn't decided yet." Ianto paused, "John is seeing someone though." He raised his eyes to Jack's. For a moment he was worried about what he would see there but he was relieved to see no regret or jealousy reflected in the American's gaze.
"Good. I'm glad." Jack smiled, "I only hope this new guy makes him as happy as you make me. Now come on you three or we are going to be late."
The award ceremony presenter opened the envelope and smiled. "And the winner is," he paused and leaned into the microphone, "Cardiff Blues Full Back, Ianto Jones.
Ianto was stunned.
Jack leaned over and whispered in his ear. "Erm, that's you," he said.
"Oh bloody hell," the young Welshman squeaked, "that's me."
"Yeah, I know. That's what I said. Go on then."
Ianto accepted the award and walked over to the podium nervously. He coughed. "Erm. Wow. Gosh. Thanks." he stuttered, "I don't know what to say. I haven't really prepared anything."
Rhys stood up and yelled, "liar!"
"Oh. Okay. Ha," Ianto took a thick wad of A4 sheets out of his suit pocket, "maybe I did prepare a little something" he said, "but ya know what?" He threw the sheets up in the air and they landed around the podium like confetti. "screw that. I'd rather just use this opportunity to say thanks to some people." He looked down at the table where the journalists and publishers from the paper were sitting. "Hey, Mr Brigstocke," he cheered, as if he'd just spotted the reporter, "I don't know if you've heard, but apparently I'm gay." He smiled broadly like an excited puppy and a few audience members started to snicker. "No seriously though, David. No hard feelings, eh? What is done is done and for what it's worth I'm glad it's out there. So thanks, but do me a favour and keep out of my life from now on."
The audience clapped and Ianto waited until the reaction had died down before continuing.
"It's been a tough year but things worked out in the end and that's mostly due to my sister and my friends so I'd like to say thanks to you all. To Owen, thanks for helping me with my demons. I really couldn't have done it without you, mate and I know you'll say you we're just doing your job but we both know you went above and beyond, so cheers. To the guys in the team, thanks for your support, especially Rhys and Johnny..."
"We love you, man." Johnny shouted.
"Yeah, thanks Johnny. By the way, hurt my sister and I'll hunt you down and kill you........slowly. To my sister, Rhiannon. We didn't have the best start in life, did we sis, but you made it bearable and if I had to go through it, I'm glad I went through it with you." Rhiannon wiped a tear from her eye and Johnny put her arm around her, resting her head on his shoulder. "To Gwen" Ianto continued, "who turned out to be a much better friend than she was an enemy, I'd like to say I'm sorry I wasted so much time being jealous of you and I hope you've forgiven me. To Tosh, I will be eternally grateful to Jack for bringing you in to my life. And finally," Ianto went on, "To Jack..." his face took on a dreamy look, "lovely Jack. What can I say, except........I love you." He took a deep breath before continuing. "You know Jack, when I said earlier I needed a bigger place," he leaned forward into the microphone and smiled. "your place is quite big isn't it." He held the award high, left the stage and made his way back to the table. The audience cheered as Jack met him half way and wrapped his arms around him.
"So," Jack beamed, "you wanna move in with me or what?"
"I dunno, Jack," the Welshman grinned, "let me think about it."