Author's Note: This little series is only five stories long, and it is, you guessed it, Jack/Ianto schmoop. Murhar, and all that. It is a gift, for my darling Ruthie, who requested Fire in the Fireplace.
Today's prompt: Sunscreen
Jack checked the weather forecast and the Rift predictor and made a decision. He picked up his phone and wallet and strode out into the Hub proper. "Ianto and I are taking the afternoon, guys. Ianto, meet me by the TI office in..." he twisted his watch around to look at it and smiled at Ianto's shocked expression, "thirty minutes. I'll make it worth your while, I promise."
"Jack, you can't just do that," Gwen protested, smiling as if she thought it was a joke. "What about the rest of us?"
He shrugged, squeezed Ianto's shoulder in passing and waited for the cog door to open. "You can make it up to us for the number of night shifts we've covered. Remind me, Gwen, when the last time you covered the night shift was?"
"There isn't a night shift..." she argued, confused.
"Yes there is," Ianto corrected her without looking up from where he'd buried his gaze. "The only time it's ever an issue is when Jack is away, and then Tosh usually takes it. Jack and I do it every night."
"What, together?" she asked.
"Yep." He started collecting his things together and tidying up, and stood up to retrieve his phone from the edge of Tosh's desk. "I'll do a pot of coffee before I leave, so don't drink it too fast. Don't expect to see us before tomorrow."
Owen retreated to the autopsy bay, muttering, and Gwen followed, casting glances over her shoulder. Running over his list of what he might need in his head to make sure he had everything, Ianto made up the pot of coffee as promised and headed out towards the cog door past Tosh, stopping by her desk briefly. "Sorry, Tosh. I'll leave it up to you what you decide to tell them," he smiled wryly and accepted a Malteser. "Are you going to be okay until tomorrow?"
She put the bag back in her drawer and nodded. "We'll be fine, and we'll try not to call you unless it's essential."
"I'll hold you to that," he waved the Malteser at her and popped it into his mouth. "Mmph!"
Up on the boardwalk outside the TI office, the cool breeze off the bay was a welcome relief from the warm sun high in the clear blue sky. Tourists flocked around the area, many of them queueing for rides on the boats that took them out for trips around the Bay and out into the Bristol Channel or looking for somewhere to sit and eat their ice creams or fish and chips. The sunlight sparkled off the tiny scudding waves beyond the piers and glinted off fibreglass masts and metal rails on the yachts moored at the marina. Ianto dodged a group of teenagers clustered around a fluttering map that kept trying to escape their grasp and went to lean on one of the posts at the edge of the boardwalk, folding his arms on the top of it and resting his weight on them, eyes closed and face turned into the sun.
He didn't have to wait long. From out of the bustle and noise of the tourists clustered around him a hand rested on his waist, and another on the chain next to the post he was leaning on. Jack's hip bumped against his own, and the arm crossing behind him tightened slightly to draw them closer together. "They weren't any trouble, I hope?"
Ianto leaned back into Jack's arm and tipped his head to the side to rest it against Jack's. "No. Gwen and Owen went to have a discussion in the autopsy bay. They may have questions in the morning, though."
Jack gave a disgruntled grunt and turned his head to the side, nudging his nose against Ianto's cheek until he turned to kiss Jack. "You taste of chocolate," he murmured, half-accusingly.
"Yep," Ianto returned his gaze to the Bay and shrugged, bumping their shoulders together in the process. "Tosh gave me a Malteser."
"I feel left out," Jack sighed, then perked up. "Come on, I'll buy you an ice cream first."
"First? Why does the word 'first' fill me with worry?" he asked, letting Jack take his hand and drag him along. "Jack, we've got all afternoon, there's no rush."
"I know, but I want to make the most of it." He was fishing in the carrier bag he'd brought, which had been hanging off his wrist, and produced two pairs of sunglasses. "Here. Safety first."
"Jack, those are hideous," Ianto protested at the sight of the lime-green frames. "Where did you find them?"
"Clares Accessories," he said defensively, putting his own on. "They were the only place that had any left; I think the sun caught people by surprise today."
"Did me," Ianto agreed. "But really... Clares?"
"Well, if you'd brought your own, we wouldn't have this problem," Jack pointed out. "I did bring my own, but I'm wearing these out of solidarity, so that you don't feel silly."
Ianto shook his head and held out his hand. "Give them here, then. And thank you."
"You're welcome." Jack passed them over as they joined the the queue for the ice cream kiosk, and bounced on the balls of his feet. "What do you fancy? I'm thinking a tub or rum and raisin."
"Sounds good," Ianto agreed. "Do they do big tubs here? Could we just get a big one and a couple of spoons?"
"I like the way you think. Not got any spoons though..."
"And I suppose they don't sell those at Clares," Ianto commented, looking around. "I could always run back down and pick up a couple of spoons whilst you get the ice cream... then I could pick up my sunglasses as well."
Jack kissed him and nudged him out of the queue. "I always said you were the brains of the operation. Where shall we meet?"
"Outside the TI Office?" Ianto called back. "As usual."
He went down the invisible lift this time, not wanting to use the TI office entrance more than necessary whilst there were so many people around. The invisible lift had the added advantage of being hidden behind a cluster of tents set up for the food festival, and they were used to the five of them wandering around where they technically weren't allowed to be. It was probably Jack's fault; most things were.
The others looked up as he descended on the lift, pulling his jacket off as he came. Gwen was back at her own desk, and turned around on her chair to ask, "Back so soon?"
He smiled at her and hooked a finger under the knot of his tie to slide it off. "Just briefly. I've been sent for sunglasses and spoons. The striptease is entirely my own initiative, so I hope you appreciate it." The lift clunked into place and he stepped off, going into Jack's office to hang his jacket and tie neatly on a hanger on the coat stand first and then going to the kitchen. "Lots of people around, so I'd go out by the lift if you have to."
"Thanks, Ianto," Tosh acknowledged him absently. "Your sunglasses are over here."
"Thank you." He collected them and smiled at Gwen. "See you tomorrow; and I mean it this time." She was still staring as he disappeared out of sight again, and it made him feel just slightly smug.
He had to walk past the ice cream kiosk to get to the TI Office, and decided to stop and wait there rather than down below when he saw that Jack was still in the queue. Jack greeted him with a bridge smile and reached out for his hand. "Better?"
"Much, thanks," he took Jack's hand and held it loosely, strolling idly along the walkway with him. "It's a lovely day for a promenade."
"It is," Jack agreed. "It is a lovely day indeed. What do you say we go for a promenade around the edge of the Bay? Or would you rather head up into town?"
"Oh Bay, definitely," Ianto tugged on Jack's hand to lead him down towards the abandoned docks. "Although I'm going to burn if we're not careful."
"If I say I've bought Factor 50, will you let me apply it?" Jack smirked at him and waved the carrier bag. "I brought lunch as well. Thought we could make a whole day of it, go for dinner tonight?"
Ianto squeezed his hand and smiled shyly. "I told the others not to expect us back until tomorrow. It must be our turn, after all."
"Yeah, it must," Jack agreed. "I'm sorry, Ianto. We never get to do normal stuff..."
"It's fine," he interrupted, cutting off Jack's apologies. "I enjoy spending time with you, even at work, and especially on spontaneous dates. Normal is just a social construct anyway, and you know I'm not that social."
"I'm a bad influence on you," Jack muttered fondly. "I'm sure you were sweet and innocent once."
"I'm sure my mother would disagree. One day we are going to have to tell her..." he sighed.
"We don't have to if you don't want to," Jack insisted gently. "If it's going to cause problems, she doesn't need to know."
"It's not... not what you think," Ianto explained slowly, "she knows too much. She's a bit of a gossip and, well... she already knows I don't work for the tourist board."
"Yeah. I don't really want to introduce you and have her put two and two together and realise that I'm working for Torchwood. Not whilst her health's like this, anyway." He squeezed Jack's hand again and stopped him. "It's not about you, or even us. It's about Torchwood; what we are matters more to me personally, don't get me wrong. But we have to..."
"To put Torchwood first," Jack finished for him. "I know. Even if it didn't, I wouldn't want to risk it affecting her health any more than you do. How long do you reckon it would take for her to demand to meet me?"
"Thirty seconds," Ianto stated without having to consider it. "And she'll flirt. Constantly."
Jack leaned in and kissed him, brief and sweet. "Stake your claim, I know how much you enjoy it. Don't think I didn't notice you smirking at Gwen earlier. Come on, ice cream's getting cold."
Ianto frowned after him for a moment. "I don't think you mean what you just said."
"Maybe not," Jack shrugged. "Coming?"
They settled down on a patch of grass close to the water's edge which was partially hidden by a patch of tall reeds, and dug out the ice cream and suntan lotion. Ianto was just standing the spoons up in the partially melted dessert when Jack's hands slid around his throat from behind and started working on his buttons. "Jack, stop it."
"Why?" Jack smirked against the back of his neck and carried on unbuttoning when Ianto offered no further objections or obstructions. "Just your shirt, Ianto. I'm not going to advocate public nudity... this time."
"You are impossible." Ianto knocked Jack's hands away and finished the job himself, tugging his shirt off and folding it carefully. "But it's your fault if I burn."
"I won't let you burn," Jack scoffed. He'd got the bottle of suntan lotion out and squeezed a generous amount into the palm of one hand. When Ianto turned away from him and tipped his head forwards, Jack spread smooth lines of lotion across his back and started massaging it in gently. "You're too tense, too. You should go for a session with Carol."
Ianto groaned at the sensations of Jack's hands unknotting tight muscles and closed his eyes. "Well, next time we'll plan more in advance, as we can go for a couples' session."
"She'll love that," Jack laughed.
"More than you stealing her job," Ianto pointed out. "Are you going to let me do the bits I can reach?"
"No; you can do me," Jack insisted. "Fair's fair, and all that. Turn around."
Ianto turned awkwardly and let Jack do his arms and face, then leaned back, bracing himself on his hands, to give him access to his chest. He lifted one hand to brush through Jack's hair, eliciting a slight broadening of his smile. "The ice cream's melting."
"I'm nearly done," Jack protested. He wiped his hands off on a tissue and unclipped his braces, then set to work on his buttons whilst Ianto started on the ice cream. "Is it good?"
"Very," Ianto confirmed, taking another spoonful and offering it to Jack. "Try."
Jack smiled around the spoon and pulled it out of Ianto's fingers with his mouth to pull his T shirt off. "Very nice indeed."
Ianto dropped his gaze to search for the suntan lotion, knowing that Jack wasn't just talking about the ice cream. He repeated the process Jack had used, gentle fingers and palms ensuring a complete covering of protection and brushing gently or firmly against the right places.
An hour later, ice cream half-eaten and half-melted, with the sun sinking from its zenith, Ianto closed his eyes and rubbed his cheek against Jack's chest. A chuckle rumbled beneath his head, and Jack stroked the back of his head, rubbing at the shell of his ear with his thumb, and tightened his arm around Ianto. "Happy down there?" Jack asked lazily.
Ianto nodded and smiled, enjoying the feeling of contentment curling through him loosely. "Never better."