Notes: The full oneshot for #115 of 'Snapshots of Smiles.' A lot of people asked or commented, but no, Tamara was not (to my knowledge) ever a feature in either Dr. Who or Torchwood. I just needed a name.
Nobody likes the return of an ex-girlfriend, and Jack, with his lifespan, had had plenty of those to avoid. So when the phone call came - and, with it, the threat of exposure - Jack had little choice.
He wasn't given much notice, and he had forgotten, in the six years since their flirt-and-fling (as Ianto had dubbed it one night when Jack had told him about the string of relationships he'd had just before the turn of the millennium) just how clever the woman was at finding the man she was after.
And so she appeared, like a wraith (and with about as much welcome) outside the pub after the rugby (Cardiff and Newport always packed the place out) to smirk coldly at him and eye Ianto like one would a mildly interesting dead fish.
"Jack," she said, "or it is something else now?"
Ianto had only noticed her when she spoke, and looked quizzically at Jack, who scowled. Ianto looked unbelievably his own age that night, in his rugby shirt and jeans, and flushed from the heat of the pub and one too many lagers, and hair rumpled from the strange affection that sporting men had here for grabbing each other by the hair and shaking lightly. And Jack had found him unbearably attractive like that, and Tamara - and damn women with their intuition - noticed.
"Or someone else?" she corrected herself.
"Still Jack," Jack replied flatly. "What do you want?"
"Oh, I was in the area," she smiled, coldly, and Jack wondered why she had been attractive. "Thought I'd look up some old friends. Get some old favours."
"I don't owe you anything," he replied, and Ianto's eyebrow rose. That one motion aged him by about five years, and he shifted stance, from casual to very alert. Jack knew that the hacker was back in town, and almost - almost - smiled.
"Don't be smart with me," she snapped.
And Ianto snapped his fingers, as if remembering something: "Tamara Barnes. One of the flirt-and-flings. Am I right?"
She quirked her own eyebrow then - maybe that was why she'd been attractive - but said nothing.
"Look, Yan, go on home, I'll be by later..." Jack began to say, but Ianto wasn't listening to him.
"The exposure threat," he continued. "You're the one who pops up every couple of years with a new line and an old threat."
Tamara smiled, cold enough to cause frostbite, and said, "Research. So who are you?"
"Another flirt-and-fling," Ianto confessed, grinning suddenly, and Jack had seen that look before. The one that spelled danger. The one that even Owen stayed out of the way of, because it meant that Ianto was reverting to his youth, when being clever had been a bad thing and he'd tuned it to being supremely adept at threats and carrying them out. "Lasted a bit longer than...what were you? The five week job?"
Tamara's scowl hit Siberian temperatures, and she took a step forward.
"I see," she said, "you think he loves you."
"Doesn't really matter, does it?" he shrugged.
Jack's face must have done something interesting, as much as he willed it not to, because she glanced at him and smirked before shifting her attention back to Ianto.
"He doesn't do love. You don't really think he loves you, do you?"
Ianto's other eyebrow joined its partner and he snickered, sounding more like a teenager hearing a dirty joke than a man approaching a catfight about his on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when the laugh faded, so did the amusement.
"Yes, I really do," he said.
Jack's chest hitched. Neither of them had ever said anything to that effect, or even hinted at it, but he was an idiot to think that Ianto couldn't see in his head like he always had before, even with this. And suddenly he wanted to say fuck Tamara - no matter how dangerous disregarding her would be - and take Ianto home and show him exactly how those four words had impacted him.
"Oh good," she said, "because you'll have your heart broken, you know. I can expose him as what he is any time I like - and he won't hang around for you. He'll be up and gone like a shot."
"What is he?" Ianto asked.
"You don't know?" and Jack knew the game Ianto was playing, suddenly, and he felt himself relaxing.
"Seems you don't," he shrugged.
"Captain Jack Harkness died in 1941," she smirked, "so who is he?"
She jabbed a finger at Jack and Ianto laughed.
"He," he replied, "is a British-American from Illinois who wasn't even born in 1941, let alone died in it. Really, Tammy-" and he smirked when she growled at his patronising tone, "you don't really think he's the only Jack Harkness in the world?"
He did disregard her, then, when his mobile rang. He turned away, quite deliberately, to peer at the caller ID and answer it with: "What do you want, you wanker?" before wandering away. Jack hesitated for a brief second before going after him, leaving Tamara where she was, and sliding an arm around Ianto's waist.
"Who is it?"
Jack took the phone, ordered Owen to bugger off and leave them alone, and pocketed it.
"Oi," Ianto protested, "you can't..."
"Can," Jack said, and kissed him to shut him up. It seemed to work, so when he broke away, he said: "You know what I want to do to you after you said that?"
"That you know I love you."
"I'm guessing it's not something I would repeat to my mother," Ianto said dryly.
"Nope," Jack said. "Your place, or the Hub?"