"Happy birthday to you…!"
Ianto tensed as Andy nearly tripped over Owen's leg in the dark as he came into the room carrying the candle-covered cake. Happily, he stayed upright, and the cake did not hit the floor in a smashed up mess of coloured icing and chocolate sponge.
Ianto knew Lisa and Andy loved their new flat, and he had to admit it was beautiful, but they definitely needed more chairs. Gwen, Rhys and Owen were all slumped on the floor in piles of cushions appropriated from the sofas the rest of them had taken up.
Andy carefully placed the cake down on the coffee table in front of Lisa, who took a deep breath and blew out the token 3 candles on the top of it in a single breath.
"Make a wish," Jack reminded her enthusiastically as Andy slid back into his seat next to Lisa and pressed a chaste kiss to the corner of her lips.
Lisa smiled at him. "Don't worry, I already did. And no, I'm not telling you what it was."
Andy picked up the knife from the coffee table where he'd left it when he brought out plates before the cake. "Right, so before we get to presents, who wants cake?" he said, looking around at them and offering the knife to Lisa.
Ianto shrugged out from underneath Jack's arm and sat up straight. "Yes please," he joined in the chorus from around the room.
Mere moments later, there was a plate with a generous slice of cake being thrust at him. He had to twist away before Jack could get a finger into the creamy icing. "You're about to get your own, Jack. This is mine."
He knew Jack would be pouting theatrically without even having to turn his head to look at him.
The cake was – as he'd expected – delicious when he scooped a forkful into his mouth. If you had asked him a year and a half ago what Andy Davidson was like in the kitchen, he would probably have guessed fairly hopeless, but it turned out he had a surprisingly good touch with cakes and biscuits.
Ianto occasionally suspected the main reason Jack had eventually stopped complaining about Andy's presence on the team was carefully timed application of baked goods on Andy's part. Nearly three years together had taught Ianto a lot about Jack, and about how agreeable he could become when offered the right incentives – given his own lack of talent in the art of home made desserts, Ianto was glad he would always have coffee and sex to fall back on.
The room was silent – except for the sound of munching and the intermittent scrapes of forks across plates – for several moments as they all dug into the cake.
"This is really good," Owen said, still swallowing a bite. There was a wave of agreement from the rest of the room.
"Andy's cakes always are," Lisa said, smiling as she leant over and kissed a smear of icing from the corner of Andy's mouth. "Why do you think I moved in with him?"
"Cake, that would make sense," Jack said, waving his spoon at Ianto in a fashion that caused Ianto mild alarm. "I always thought it was about the sex, but cake does sound believable." Ianto smiled indulgently at him and leant back a little so as to be out of the way of the waving spoon.
Lisa rested her forehead on Andy's shoulder, shaking it slightly. "Only you, Jack," she said, the words slightly muffled by being directed at Andy's chest. "Only you."
"Right," Andy announced a few minutes later, "if we're all done with the cake, then I think it's time for presents."
Ianto helped Andy round up all the practically-and-in-one-case-literally-licked-clean plates into the kitchen; he knew what Andy's present was, and it seemed advisable to clear as many things as possible from the living room. Less possibility of things being knocked over and broken. He'd learned that one the hard way.
When they came back out, there were already a few gifts on the table in front of Lisa.
"You can't open any of these until you get my present," Andy said, perching beside Lisa for a moment and pushing the gifts slightly across to the other side of the table.
Lisa furrowed her brows at him. "Will they give it away if I do?"
Ianto thought about what he and Jack had given her, and ran through the list of possible items Andy had provided them with in his mind. Yep, almost all of them would give it away in a heartbeat. "Most definitely," he interjected.
"Okay…" Lisa said, looking around suspiciously. "Should I be worried here?"
"Will you believe us if we say no?" Jack said, leaning forward and resting a hand casually on Ianto's knee for support.
Lisa bobbed her head sideways in thought. "Probably not," she admitted.
"Well, wait here and you can decide once you've seen what I bring you," Andy grinned, standing up and disappearing into the hallway.
When he returned a few moments later he was cradling a small bundle in his arms. He carefully sat back down next to Lisa, and deposited the bundle gently onto her lap.
Despite his care, the tiny tabby kitten woke up as she landed on Lisa's knees, stretching and squirming.
Lisa's face lit up in a wide smile. "I can't believe you actually picked up on my hints!" she said in a muted exclamation, clearly not wanting to alarm the tiny bundle of fur with a loud excited cry.
"Those weren't hints you were dropping," Andy pointed out. "Those were, to borrow a phrase from a popular TV show, anvils."
Lisa shrugged one shoulder and kept grinning. "Still." She reached down and very cautiously gathered the kitten into her arms. "What's his name… or her name?"
"Her," Andy told her. "And we… I didn't give her one. Thought you'd want to name her."
"We?" Lisa didn't look up from staring at the kitten, but her tone was as effective as one of her looks.
"Well, everyone was in on the decision – as you'll see soon, I think – but Jack and Ianto were the only ones who came with me to choose her. And they've been looking after her since we picked her up yesterday."
Lisa looked up briefly at Jack and Ianto, and then at Andy. "How…?" She frowned, and lifted a hand to tickle under the kitten's chin.
"They snuck her in while you were on the phone to your friends from work," Andy responded.
"What would you have done of they hadn't phoned?" Lisa asked, her attention clearly not fully behind the question as the tiny bundle of fur in her arms stretched out and squirmed.
Andy sat back and shrugged. "Ah, well…"
Lisa carefully placed the wriggling kitten onto the floor. "Was there anybody other than me that wasn't in on this?"
Andy looked to Ianto quizzically. Gwen, Rhys, Tosh and Owen were all looking studiously blank when Ianto glanced at them. Ianto picked up his glass – it wasn't safe on the coffee table now that the kitten was free to explore – and pondered the question. "Not that you're particularly friends with, no," he concluded a few moments later.
"I would protest at all of this plotting," Lisa said mildly, "but as it has resulted in my having this beautiful little kitten, I'll let you all off just this once."
Everyone's eyes were locked on the kitten as she wandered around the legs of the coffee table, nosing things curiously. Ianto knew the table was fairly sturdy, but was still waiting on the tiny bundle of fur managing somehow to tip it over, toppling everything onto the floor. A number of supposedly stable things had been upended just in the 36 hours the kitten had spent at his and Jack's flat.
"What are you going to call her?" Gwen asked as her foot was duly inspected. She reached down and stroked the kitten's head gently, earning herself a closer examination in the process.
Lisa shook her head thoughtfully. "I'm not sure. I think I need to get to know her personality a little more before I decide."
Ianto toes his shoes off before folding his legs up under him and leaning into Jack's side as they all watched the kitten's progress around the room – and the people in it – quietly. Jack's free arm – for he, too, had rescued his glass as soon as the kitten was free to roam – came around him, pulling him closer. Ianto let his head drop onto Jack's shoulder, smiling as the kitten lost her footing and rolled off the cushion she'd been exploring.
"So," he said lazily. "Are you going to open the rest, then?" He waved his glass vaguely in the direction of the remaining wrapped boxes on the table.
"Ooh, yes," Lisa said, wriggling out of Andy's arms just enough to sit forward again. "I'd actually almost forgotten there was more, in my excitement at well, kitten!"
The wrapping paper was carefully ripped away to reveal – as everyone but Lisa already knew – a wide range of cat and kitten related items.
"I'm impressed," Lisa said afterwards, trying to tempt the kitten to play with one of the toys she'd unwrapped instead of just the discarded wrapping paper. "Who knew you could all be so organised?"
"Hey, remember we had Ianto," Rhys pointed out from the floor. "You lived with the man for years; you know what he's like. Give him a chance and he'd organise the whole bloody world. Which probably wouldn't be a half bad idea, now I think of it."
"Point," Lisa nodded.
"As much as I'd love to take credit," Ianto said, "this was all Andy. Jack and I helped when he asked, but getting everyone organised was all his work."
Lisa scooped up the kitten again and turned to Andy. "Thank you," she said emotionally. "I love her, I love you."
Andy leant over and kissed her carefully over the kitten's head. "I love you too. Happy birthday."
Ianto watched them with a warm feeling in his heart. Five years ago they'd skipped celebrating Lisa's birthday in favour of just keeping her alive. Back then, he could never have predicted what was to come. His only thought had been to find a way to cure Lisa so they could live 'happily ever after' together.
Things had turned out so very differently, but seeing how happy Lisa was now, and knowing how happy he was with Jack, he wouldn't change any of it for the world.