Disclaimer: Whatever it is, I don't own it (Torchwood, Merlin, BBC, etc.)
After a lot of inner arguments with my thoughts regarding the ending, this came out... I honestly I hope it's not disappointing. Oh, and something I should have probably mentioned at the beginning of the previous chapter as well: cuteness, fluff and cheesiness alert! ^^
May you enjoy your reading...
"Hey Ianto, have you seen my cufflinks?" the young tailor almost gasped and shut the closet's door violently, turning around and pressing his back to it. A moment later, Jack appeared in the bedroom's doorway, all dimples and smiles.
"Which ones?" the Welshman tried to sound as normal as possible, although he was obviously out of breath and was leaning awkwardly over the closet. Jack sent him a puzzled stare.
"The onyx ones." The Welshman made a show of staring at the ceiling above as if truly trying to remember something.
"Alright." Jack slowly answered, watching his beloved closely. "Maybe the devils got to them." Finally, he grumbled and exited the room.
"Make sure to check under the bed." Ianto yelled while moving away from the closet. A second later, three furry figures appeared in the doorway and stared up at the young man with twitching whiskers and curious eyes. With a smile, the tailor raised his finger and pressed it to his lips in a "hush" sign that, of course, only his above-average cats would comprehend. Naturally, the three felines did understand their master's soundless message and trotted out of the room in a complete chaos of tails and ears.
Myfanwy, Janet and Tamaki were the two-year-old products of Ianto's former tomcat and current crowned queen of the tailor shop, named Bluffy, and some yet unknown male feline, each of them technically belonging to one of the house's residents (Owen not included, since he had been the only one to actually participate in their birth and had claimed that his job was done regarding the little terrors).
Myfanwy had been the first to come out on a rainy September weekend, mere hours after the Universe was made aware of the fact that her mother was actually female and very pregnant. Ianto had taken upon himself the responsibility of giving the incredibly small kitten a name and, after carefully analysing her spotted fur in numerous tones of brown and receiving assurances regarding her gender, gave her the most Welsh name possible.
The next one had been Janet, who stole the headlights immediately with her shrilling cries and constant demands for attention. Surprisingly enough, she came out completely white and Jack was instantly smitten… which led to her very American name.
Last, but not least, the sole male kitten appeared, as black as his mother, but completely different in attitude. He was immediately assigned to Tosh, who gave him a general Japanese cat name: Tamaki (since Kuro would have been a too obvious choice).
And from their birth forth, they became a fearsome trio, especially in their owners' eyes, who kept giving them funny team names, such as: Charlie's Devils, Team Excalibur (especially after they had taken to watching The New Adventures of Merlin on BBC One, alongside Ianto and Tosh) or the Three Horsemen of the Apocalypse… Four, if you considered the mother as well, who now ruled with an iron claw over the entire red brick building.
"Did you find them?"
"No." Jack managed to get out from below the bed and shook his head. Janet immediately climbed up on the nightstand and sat in front of the struggling pilot, watching his ruffled hair curiously. "If you ate my cufflinks, I'm going to make a scarf out of your lovely fur, young lady." He pointed a finger at her and she replied with what might have been an indignant "mreow".
"What do you need them for anyway?" Ianto asked from the bedroom's doorway.
"The party tomorrow night. You know, my psychotic pseudo-boss and your insane DCI friend getting engaged and all that…" Jack detailed the moment he noticed the lost look in his lover's eyes. "Don't worry, I'm sure your present will be the best ever. The design for Gwen's wedding dress is amazing and the bridesmaids' dressed came out beautiful. They'll suit Suzie and Emma perfectly, although I still think that Matrix-like costumes would have been a much better choice." The pilot sniggered evilly.
"Gwen wanted a happy and feminine colour." Ianto scowled.
"Pale pink!" Jack exclaimed. "Pale pink for two women who kick the scientific community's arse by day and practice range shooting by night. I think she's trying to settle some score we don't know about, so she picked out a colour she knew they would hate. What she didn't count on was you managing to turn any colour and material into something brilliant. I think Suzie and Emma will be your friends forever, after this one." He grinned and winked at the tailor, getting up and dusting his trousers. "So, the black suit is out of the question since I can't find my cufflinks… what should I wear?" he asked and rubbed his split chin.
"You know, before we met you wore up to five colour at once. Look at you now: matching textures and accessories. I've rubbed off on you." Ianto declared proudly.
"In more ways than one." Jack walked up to him and pulled him into a tight hug, hands wondering all over his body, before Ianto could even register what his impulsive boyfriend was trying to do.
"It's the middle of the day, Captain, and I've got work to do." The Welshman laughed and tried to pry the naughty hands away from him. However, his efforts proved to be useless, as an equally naughty mouth launched a direct attack over his neck, jaw, lips, nose… practically whatever kissable surface they could touch.
"Not anymore you don't. You finished your rounds for today."
"And how would you know that?"
"I stole a peek at your registry journal earlier." Jack grinned predatorily, then simply lifted Ianto in his arms and sprawled him all over the bed. The tailor went down with a strangled yelp, then started laughing like mad, as the pilot began tickling him mercilessly, instead of engaging in the round of activities he had expected. "What are you hiding from me?" Jack asked one minute later, straddling Ianto's tights.
"Nothing." The man answered between loud gasps.
"Liar." He narrowed his eyes and went back to his previous actions. When he stopped the second time, Ianto was red-faced and out of breath, yet his lips still held a treacherous smile. "Tell me." The tailor just giggled and tried to hide his face away. "Tell me or I'll do it again." Jack wiggled his fingers in midair. When the answer failed to come, he proceeded again.
"Alright, alright, I'll tell." He finally succumbed and pleaded mercy. "I got a new shirt."
"Why would you keep that away from me?"
"Because it's red… deep red, actually." He answered and watched Jack's eyes darken with lust.
How typical. Over the past two years, Jack had developed a true passion for the combination of Ianto and red, to the point of obsession. It had all started with the first thing the pilot had ever told him, pointing out the fact that he looked amazing in red, instead of bidding him the usual morning salute the way other (normal) people did. From that point, it went berserk, especially after they had begun sleeping together. It went from shirts, to ties, to bed sheets, to pyjamas, to socks, to underwear, to caps, to his bedroom walls and to the silliest of things. Nowadays, he could not longer even have a blue or green toothbrush, because red was his colour.
Also, every time Jack came to the tailor shop and caught him mending something in the colour red, he'd get pounced on (or very close to), which was also weird, since most of those who wore red in their suits and dresses, were his father's old customers. "I'm surprise you haven't painted my cats red." Ianto had grumbled one weekend, when Jack showed up with red body paint and a grin that could have lit up the entire city of Cardiff for a month. The pilot had merely glanced up at Bluffy, who was sitting on the stairway railing, then back at the tube in his hand, as if trying to calculate whether he had bought enough of the substance. In response, Bluff got her lovely black self off the railing and quickly disappeared on Tosh's floor, while Ianto narrowed his eyes and almost let out a hiss, identical to his cats'.
Needless to say, Jack had spent that night on the couch and had learned to tone down his impulses in regard to the colour red. Still, the body paint was kept safe for another occasion… that had ended with the American having nightmares, as the colour was a little bit too close to that of blood… and dreaming Ianto covered in what seemed to be blood was not an experience to be repeated.
"Show me." The pilot whispered.
"Why not?" he whined.
"Because you'd only tear it from my body and I'd end up with nothing to wear tomorrow night." He complained and crossed his hands over his chest, still sprawled over the bed as he was.
"So you want me to tear it off you in the middle of Gwen's engagement party? Mr. Jones! Two years later and you still surprise me. I had no idea that you had such a kink for exhibitionism!" Ianto just rolled his eyes and tried to free himself.
"I don't! I'm just hoping that you might control yourself for once." He replied. "I, for one, am tired of doing nothing other than sewing buttons back on my shirts and mending torn material once a week, because you can't keep your libido on a leash."
"Alright. I'll let you go this time. But, in exchange…" Jack wiggled his eyebrow and launched his attack without further notice.
Except it wasn't a new shirt. Well, it was, but that was just an excuse in order to hide the other secret currently held by the same closet.
Later that evening, Ianto reopened its door and sighed deeply at the sight of a perfect black and white suit. Raising a hand, he touched the pressed material, admiring his own handwork and imagining what it would look like on the person he'd made it for: a long black redingote, a crispy white shirt, perfectly sewed trousers, a simple waistcoat and a white cravat arranged in three folds. It looked heavenly on the hanger.
At first, when the idea hit him, several months back, he had tried to make it for fun, curious to see if he had indeed reached the level where he could create a perfect suit without a single fitting. During the first weeks, he'd had some trouble with getting some lines straight and had almost considered making up some white lie that could get Jack into the dressing room. That had happened right before Tosh and Owen's wedding. It had been a very small affair, with not even all their friends present. One night, the medic had popped the question out of nowhere and Tosh had answered right away, evading the general havoc some ladies liked to cause around such particular events. The next day they had simply gone to the registry, along with the Jones family and a couple of Torchwood's employees. No large gatherings, no bridal showers, no church… not even a bachelor's party. The evening after his best friend's wedding, Ianto had climbed down to the shop, brought out the butchered prototype, shredded it and started anew.
Now it was Gwen's turn to get married, and to Rhys, of all people. And since the Welshwoman was the complete opposite of Tosh and craved for attention, she'd planned and gone through the whole ordeal that generally surrounded a noisy wedding. She was a lucky woman, because Rhys hadn't minded indulging his future bride, taking everything calmly.
And now, after three months of nicking free time here and there without arising any suspicions, Ianto had finished his suit… the suit he had designed and crafted for the man he loved… the suit that would only look perfect if worn by the said man… the suit that represented everything he was best at: a wedding suit.
He sighed again and dropped his shoulders. A furry tail wrapped itself around his left ankle and he glance down, only to see Bluffy, sitting right next to him, staring up at the closet with wide curious eyes. He smiled at the cat's antics, shut the door and leaned over in order to scoop up the former tomcat.
"I hope he'll say yes too… That is, if I'll ever get enough courage to ask…"
"You were absolutely right to keep this away from me." Jack had managed, through some miracle, to keep his mouth shut the entire drive to the Williams' party, up until they had arrived right in front of the fancy garden where the events was taking place. Ianto just gave him a smug smile and walked ahead of him, in order to congratulate the soon-to-be-wed couple and sit down at their designated table.
The party's third hour found the tailor chatting with Tosh, since Owen had been called on duty, thanks to some guards' "brilliant" idea of playing with some of the small air models exhibited in Torchwood Cardiff headquarters' main hallway, while Jack was spinning the bride-to-be in a parody version of "Rock Around the Clock", something normally impossible to perform while wearing a long pale green dress. Except that Miss Gwen Cooper was anything but normal and she just had to prove the world wrong over and over again.
"Excuse me for a moment." Ianto managed to stop the computer genius from launching in a heated monologue describing the reasons for which she preferred a certain brand of processors and got up from the table, disappearing into the garden's adjacent building. He had to admit that the party was a hit and the Gwen's choice for its location was perfect, since the summer temperatures were high enough to make the evening and night quite pleasant, with the starry sky providing a lovely background.
Suddenly he stopped in his tracks and, instead of heading towards the bathroom, turned in the opposite side and walked up to the wardrobe area, where a very friendly assistant welcomed him with an expectant smile. He barely managed to smile back, pulse suddenly going off the scale and heart ready to burst out of his chest, and nodded. A moment later, he was presented with a large square black box held closed by a crimson bow.
"Th-thank you." He stammered and received a brilliant grin and a supportive wink as reply. Clutching the box tightly with pale fingers, he slowly walked back towards the party, only to be scared to death by an arm slung over his back.
"Hey mate. Did I miss anything?" Owen asked casually, leaning a bit over him and peering down at the object in his hands. "I thought your wedding present were the dresses and suits." He looked up at Ianto and met his scared stare. "Not for the bride and groom then?" Ianto slowly shook his head. "I see. Try to calm down though. Getting a stroke in the middle of things certainly won't be of any help." He matched Ianto's pace and practically led him back to the garden, keeping a firm hold on the younger man's arm, just in case he collapsed. With a sigh, he turned his head and searched about, trying to find the American pilot. He was glad to see his old friend sitting down at his table and promptly pulled Ianto towards said location, dropping him into his seat next to Jack, without a word, and grabbing Tosh's arm in order to spin her around the dancing area for a bit.
For a minute, the tailor was able to focus only on his breathing, not noticing Jack's curious silence. Afterwards, as he gathered his wits and summoned the last bits of courage in his soul, he turned towards his lover and immediately noticed that something was wrong. He forgot all about the box. Jack Harkness was staring at the screen of his mobile. He wasn't touching the key pads, he wasn't talking and Ianto was pretty sure that he wasn't breathing either. He just sat there, holding his mobile and staring at it.
"The Doctor called and asked me to be his pilot for an upcoming mission." Jack answered mechanically, but didn't even glance at him. Ianto suddenly felt his legs give in and wordlessly thanked Owen for having pushed him into the chair before he'd had the chance to fall to the ground.
"Did you give him an answer?" his tone was wary, but he'd managed not to stammer. Jack finally turned to him, eyes gazing into his own. Ianto hated it when he did that, because he could never guess during such moments what went on through the pilot's head. He was completely unreadable.
"Yes." Ianto swallowed hard, but didn't look away, no matter how much he wanted to have the power to do so. "I refused. I told him that I wasn't up for that kind of life anymore." His face morphed into a warm smile that made Ianto's inside tingle.
"Yes, of course. Because, had you given him a different answer, I would have been forced to throw this away." He explained and practically shoved the black box in his lover's hands. Jack glanced down at the present, then returned to Ianto's baby blue eyes.
"Is this whatever you've been hiding in that closet of yours? The reason for which you and the devils guarded that blasted thing as if it held the Koh-I-Noor?" his serious, reassuring smile quickly turned into his usual naughty grin.
"Can I open it in public?" he leaned over and whispered in his ear, making the tailor flush.
"It's not anything R-rated." Ianto rolled his eyes.
"Then what is it?"
"Why don't you open it and find out yourself?" Grumbling, the pilot finally complied and, carefully untying the bow and lifting the lid, he peered down at the black and white designs.
"Is this what I think it is?"
"Only if you want it to be." Ianto tried to sound as casual as possible.
"I do." Jack immediately answered, put the lid back, placed the box on the table and grabbed his lover in a bone-crushing hug. Thirty seconds later, he found his lips and began devouring them, only to be disturbed a short while later by a muffled squeak. "Stop staring, Gwen." He growled and glanced at the woman who had her hungry eyes locked on them, but never let go of his prey.
"Are you kidding? I've been trying to catch you two in the middle of… things for almost two years now. And all I usually get are a hug or two and a peck on the lips. This is practically hardcore stuff compared to your general behaviour in public. And I have to say that I'm both surprised and disappointed in that. I'd have expected more from you, Captain Jack Harkness!" she complained loudly.
"That's because Ianto's mine and I'm not sharing him, you, you voyeur!" he growled back and Gwen narrowed her eyes.
"Then what got this going on?" she gestured at their still glued bodies.
"He's decided to make an honest man out of me." Jack suddenly forgot all about Gwen's not so subtle actions and smiled widely, unleashing the power of his dimples upon the world and, if possible, squeezing Ianto even tighter.
It was a two-storey old building made of red brick, located somewhere behind Roald Dahl Plass, in a cobweb of little narrow streets, where you couldn't have fit a car even if you wanted to. It covered an entire corner and gave the old neighbourhood a sense of calm and hospitality, with its white shutters and black iron grates.
If anyone new in town were to see his lovely place, they might consider it the most quiet place on earth, where even time stopped for a cup of coffee and a silly round of gossip with the street's resident old ladies.
But, you know what they say, never judge a book by its covers. In this case, it would rather be never judge a building by its walls, for they hide more smiles and tears than anyone could imagine.
And here we are, approximately one month later, at the end. Thank you for your attention and support throughout my ten chapters (not counting the small prologue)!
For any last words, please use the link below...
Nah, just kidding! It looks like my days writing Torchwood fanfiction (especially of the AU kind) are not finished ;)