The Torchwood Guide to Flirting
This is an AU fic, set when Ianto and Jack meet for the first time during Ianto's training period. It's very fluffy and a bit silly, was inspired by something along the same lines that I read outside of the Torchwood realm and thought it would work brilliantly with my two favourite characters. So, I can't take any credit for the idea or the shape of the story, and of course all the characters and the world of TW are only mine to play around with – I have no ownership of them!
Chapter 1: The Charm Offensive
Ianto stared into space, trying to look as if he was listening. The late afternoon sunlight was still dripping through the windows, but being autumn it had lost the urgent warmth of the previous months. Lost in his thought Ianto was sat in a training class, the last few of the many he'd been attending since he joined Torchwood six months earlier. When he'd been approached to apply for the position he'd had no idea what would be involved, now 6 months later the world and, indeed, the universe, was a completely changed and expanded place. Everything he thought he knew was different, and the learning curve had been extremely intense, even for a gifted young man.
Ianto thought back over everything he'd learnt, it amazed him that he'd covered so much in such a short space of time. Alien technology – now that had been hard, half of it they didn't even know what to do with! The more personal courses were left until the end; they included self defence, stress management and how to handle yourself out in the field. It was felt that the trainees would be better equipped to deal with these once they were more confident and had absorbed the bulk of their training.
This course was pretty much Ianto's worst nightmare. It was focused on gaining confidences, wining the trust of others, and above all it advocated using your charms to get whatever you might need in any given situation. To say this made the young Welshman feel uncomfortable was an understatement. He'd joined Torchwood on the understanding that he had a desk based role, doing valuable research and becoming a subject expert over time. He wasn't mentally or emotionally prepared to be out and about chasing alien life forms, dealing with invasion threats and trying to win over the travellers of space and time into his trust in order to gain information. Guess it's all part of the job now. He drifted in and out of the room, listening to the instructor's voice in the back of his mind, but concentrating on the dust particles dancing in the streams of light.
A loud laugh erupted from the class and snapped his mind back to his surroundings, waking him out of his day dream.
"To say I was surprised with what was under her dress was an understatement!" the instructor laughed, and the class broke into uncontainable giggles.
Ianto looked around and smiled, pretending he'd heard the story through to conclusion. No idea what they're laughing about, just keep smiling... Ianto looked at his instructor, wondering what techniques and traps he'd used in order to gain valuable information. It was easy though, the guy was tall, dark and handsome, and above all was very, very charming. Humans, aliens, whatever –they must all fall at his feet. Ianto checked the clock, soon it would all be over and he could file these notes away and hope he never had cause to use them. He started doodling quietly on the corner of his notepad.
"Now the fun begins!" Ianto looked up as the instructor got up, a big grin on his face.
"I want you all to pair up with someone else in the room, man/woman it doesn't matter. You need to be able to charm the birds out of the trees; you need to be able to walk up to anyone with complete confidence and win their trust, start a rapport, and if necessary...be able to utilise all your charms to secure what you need."
Oh shit. Ianto felt the panic rise up almost immediately, he knew what they'd be asked to do.
"Torchwood speed dating begins now! You're going to have 3 minutes with as many people in the room as possible. Mix it up a bit, you never know who (or what) might fall through a rift at any given time – whatever it is, you need to be able to flirt with it ladies and gentlemen! We will compare notes after and see what we have learnt.
Whoever is on my side of the table, you're the go-getter, the flirter extraordinaire! People on the side by the windows, you are disinterested and need to be impressed. Remember what we've just gone over, use your alias identities, and remember the techniques for making people talk! Questions...lots of open questions! Right, go!"
A bell rang. Ianto swallowed hard.
A speed-dating-honey-trapping exercise. With classmates. God no. Surely not. Ianto's mind screamed at him in fear, he tried to quieten it down and not look panicked as his eyes started to scan the room. People were already starting to pair up, and the shy young man knew he was visibly blushing from head to toe. He looked at the floor wishing it would swallow him up and remove him from this situation. Everyone else looked confident, beautiful and fearless. Why he had to go through this for a research position he just didn't know. He concentrated on his breathing, taking long slow lungfuls, counting his exhales to take control of his nerves. Straightening his tie, he moved over to the adjacent table and sat down opposite a rather beautiful blonde woman, Katy. Most of the window side seats had gone; it seemed that most people preferred to role-play the disinterested subject rather than the flirtatious charmer.
Charm Offensive no. 1:
"Hi" she responded, looking for all the world as if she would rather die than continue chatting.
"So, come here often do you?"
"Nor do I really, I prefer things a bit quieter."
Silence. More silence. Ianto managed a weak smile. Great she's not even looking at me.
Ianto struggled through a minute and a half of excruciating one sided questions before he got up and moved on to the next table. He was never going to get window side at this rate, so digging deep into his mind he remembered all the terrible chat up lines he'd been on the receiving end of. He tried a more direct approach.
Charm Offensive no. 2:
"Hi. I'm Tom. You look great, I bet you work out"
"Sometimes, a little" Came the frosty response.
"I love to work out too, get all...erm, hot and sweaty, (I want to die) I mean, not like *that* just erm, you know a good hard work out! (what am I saying?). I mean its great stress relief isn't it, exercise, and who doesn't need that at the end of a long hard week? I do! And there is the added extra of not dying of a heart attack before 30! (.god.)"
"Are you inferring I'm going to die before I'm 30?"
"No...just if you work out that's, good. Right? I mean, keeps you all healthy and, erm, looking good?"
"(unimpressed) Yes. Right."
Luckily for Ianto the bell went. He smiled at the cute man, and slowly extracted himself, shaking his head as he moved away. Desperately looking for a window-side seat, he found none. Instead he found himself once again on the flirting side of the fence. Surely this can't go on for too much longer.
Charm Offensive no. 3:
"Hi (huge smile) I'm James. I hope you're not hurt?"
Ianto decided to throw every bad line he'd ever heard. A raised eyebrow was all he got in return.
"When you fell down from heaven I mean (huge cheesy smile)."
The man in front of him suppressed a smile. "Ha! Good one..." was all he replied. I'm losing him already. I will never try and flirt with anyone ever again.
"So tell me about yourself, I'm from Cardiff as you can probably tell by my accent. What are your hopes, dreams...phone number?" I'm way past blushing now.
The young man ignored the last line and started talking endlessly about his career plans in Torchwood. He talked about an idea he'd had to invert rift manipulators to send debris back the way it had come, and Ianto felt himself switching off.
"So, anyway, when I was on training placement at Cardiff I pitched the idea to Captain Jack Harkness."
Ianto suddenly sat up straighter, listening. "Really? What did he say" Whoa. Brave move. Now I'm interested in what he has to say.
Everyone on the training programme knew about Jack Harkness, though most of them had never met him he was something of a Torchwood legend. There were more rumours about Jack than any other senior figure.
"He said he'd read my report and let me know his thoughts."
"Good luck with that. Jack Harkness isn't renowned for his tact is he?" Ianto replied, rather sarcastically.
"Oh, Have you met him? It was so, inspiring, to work with him at Cardiff"
"No," Ianto admitted," I was on placement at Torchwood 1 in London. I've read a lot about him though, I'm training to do research and he has a file that goes back years. Hundreds actually. It's a bit crazy. I haven't seen a photo yet though, despite my best efforts. Strange as I've heard he's quite taken with his looks and not very camera shy!"
"You could say that" smiled the man opposite. A bit too knowingly if you ask me.
At that moment the bell rang.
Ianto seemed to get worse and worse as the next few speed dates whizzed past. He finally got to play the disinterested alien until he was back on the wrong side of the desks again pulling out one liners. He figured as he was doomed to failure he might as well go down in a blaze of terrible chat up glory.
"I may not be Fred Flintstone but I can sure make your bed rock!"
"Excuse me but I'm new to the area. Can I have directions to your bed?"
"I'm easy, are you?"
"Can I get your picture to prove to my friends that angels do exist?"
The instructor finally called time and they all returned to their original seats. Ianto sat down and was relieved that the whole torturous exercise was over and done with. Despite his obvious good looks, he was terribly shy and had no idea what the rest of the world saw when they looked into his eyes. I haven't blushed that much in years; I might be red faced for days.
The trainees slowly compared notes, and Ianto wrote down what he was told whilst on autopilot. He fed back to the few who'd tried to charm him, and then shut his note book firmly. He started to think about what he'd cook himself and his flatmate for dinner that evening, but was stopped in his tracks when he heard the words coming out of his instructor's mouth.
"Right you lot, tonight we're going to test what you have learnt out in the field. Tonight in your training placement teams, you will be assigned to various pubs and bars around town. Where you will practically test out your brilliant new skills."
Shit. Shit. Shit.
A/N Hope you enjoyed that, it's just a bit of fluffy fun – please review, it will spur me on to finish the next chapter!