"The Tailor's Son" by riftintime
Summary: Lonely, sombre, twenty year old Ianto Jones is struggling to continue his late father's legacy, when a confident, handsome, older man suddenly enters his life. Can they overcome their differences and find happiness together? Jack/Ianto AU story.
Warnings: Explicit sexual situations and adult themes, occasional coarse language, references to past sexual trauma, romance, fluff, angst.
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters created and owned by the BBC. No profit is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Author's Notes: This is an alternate universe story, using some of the Torchwood characters, and set in an alien-free world.
Enjoy and please review if you're able to and let me know what you think. All feedback is gratefully appreciated, and I do my best to reply to all reviews. Thanks for reading.
Thanks to my friend and beta Prothrombintime for invaluable support, encouragement, suggestions, and feedback.
Thanks also to Furious Dee for very generously providing feedback and encouragement.
It was precisely six-thirty when the alarm buzzed insistently, filling the dark room with a shrill, unapologetic tone. An arm shot out from beneath the bed covers, accompanied by a despondent groan, and the alarm clock was silenced for a precious few minutes. Groaning again, Ianto Jones buried his face in the pillow and pulled the covers up tightly over his shoulders.
His sleep-fogged mind dimly registered that it was Saturday morning, his final work day for the week. Sunday was his solitary day off, his supposed day of rest, but, as always, it would be consumed by the mundane tasks he didn't have the time or inclination for during the other six days. The cycle would then start all over again, seemingly endless and forever unchanging.
Curling himself into a tight ball, Ianto pushed away his troubled thoughts. Taking comfort in the warm cocoon of his bed, he drifted back towards blissful unconsciousness.
All too soon, the alarm blared out again, and Ianto reluctantly threw back the covers and clambered to his feet. Shivering slightly as the cool air made contact with his skin, he retrieved his dressing gown from its hook behind the bedroom door and pulled it on over his flannel pyjamas. Stifling a yawn and rubbing at his eyes, he wandered through to the kitchen. He began his morning routine with his usual unerring precision, his mind on autopilot as he prepared the vitally important cup of fresh, strong coffee he needed to kick-start his day.
Invariably, his eyes drifted to the calendar hanging next to the doorway, and an irrational feeling of cold dread surged over him. In just under two months it would be his twenty-first birthday. It was an event most young men would eagerly anticipate. It was meant to be the true coming of age, a time of celebration with family and friends. However, Ianto didn't have anything to celebrate, and the looming day served only as a gut-wrenching reminder of everything he didn't have.
Like the year before, he planned to dull the pain by consuming a large quantity of alcohol. For that one day, he would succumb to self-pity and descend into a mindless, drunken stupor. At least that was something he could look forward to, he thought grimly as he sipped his coffee and readied a bowl of cereal.
The tiny kitchen, in his small and shabby flat on the outer-east side of Cardiff, was suffused in dull, grey, morning light, imbuing the space with a dreary, depressing atmosphere. Ianto choked back a sob as he sat eating his breakfast, the all too familiar sense of hopelessness once again taking hold. With each passing day, the loneliness and sense of isolation grew a little deeper. It was consuming him piece by piece, slowly eroding his strength and will to live. He tried to fight against the cowardly thoughts, but sometimes he wanted nothing more than for it all to end. Some days he wished he could just fade away into the darkness. He doubted anyone would even notice he was gone.
It was a while later, having eaten, showered, shaved, and dressed, when Ianto locked his front door and made his way down to where his car was parked at the rear of the building. He tightly clutched the brown paper bag containing the lunch he'd carefully prepared. Buying pre-made food was a luxury he simply couldn't afford. With a little forethought and effort, he managed quite well without the unnecessary indulgence.
Ianto walked with long, graceful steps, his shoulders pushed back, and his head held high. Groomed to perfection, and attired in an impeccably tailored three-piece, charcoal-grey, pinstripe suit, he was the perfect illusion of a confident, self-assured, albeit sombre, young man.
As he climbed into his modest and unassuming blue Audi A3 hatchback, Ianto focused his thoughts on the tasks for the day, carefully constructing a mental checklist. Routine, order, and organisation were the cornerstones of his existence. They gave him clarity of purpose, helping to assuage the heaviness in his heart and the darkness in his soul.
Taking a deep, calming breath, Ianto started the car and made his way out into the unremarkable, gloomy morning.
Jack Harkness looked dubiously across the street at the small and somewhat tired looking shopfront. The old-fashioned signage with bold white lettering on a dark green background proclaimed 'Jones and Son – Master Tailors'.
He couldn't figure out why John had suggested, out of all the shops in Cardiff, that he should come to this particularly uninspiring example. There were countless other shops that would undoubtedly cater far better to his needs. Shaking his head in confusion, but deciding that he had nothing to lose, he strolled across the street and pushed his way through the heavy timber-framed glass door. A bell jingled above his head to announce his arrival.
Jack gazed around with curiosity as he stepped inside. The shop was small as he'd expected, and it seemed to be devoid of life. The space was neat and tidy – it was obviously well cared for – but the fixtures looked old and dated, and the overall atmosphere was rather dismal. Jack felt like he'd stepped back in time.
"Good morning, sir," said a deep voice with a mellifluous Welsh accent, cutting through the oppressive silence. "Can I help you with anything?"
Jack spun around with a jolt of surprise. He'd been examining the suits displayed on several mannequins at the front of the shop, and was on the verge of walking out the door, convinced the shop was of no value to him. He was startled to find an austere young man dressed in a perfectly fitting suit standing placidly in front of him. Jack belatedly noticed a heavy red curtain hanging across a doorway at the rear of the shop. Presumably, it led to a backroom from where the man must have silently emerged.
As he studied the other man, Jack barely managed to hold back a gasp of astonishment. He swallowed hard and began to open his mouth to respond, but found that he'd temporarily lost the ability to speak.
The man was lean and tall, about the same height as Jack's own six-foot stature, a polite but wary smile gracing his features. He gazed at Jack inquisitively with piercing blue-grey eyes. Despite his sombre attire of a grey, pinstripe suit and a crisp, white shirt, paired with a blue and grey stripped tie, he looked very young. He couldn't have been much more than eighteen or nineteen years old, Jack thought. Short, neatly styled, chocolate-coloured hair complemented his smooth, pale, and virtually flawless skin. His features were almost child-like, and they accentuated his youthful appearance, yet there was an undeniable sense of maturity and masculinity about him. His soulful, expressive eyes seemed at odds with the rest of his features. They seemed to radiate a depth of pain and experience beyond his tender years. The man wasn't exactly classically handsome, and yet, Jack couldn't help but think that he was, nonetheless, quite beautiful.
"Hi there." Jack was relieved to find that he'd recovered his voice. He offered up a broad, friendly smile. "Yeah, um… I'm looking for a new suit."
A furrow formed between the young man's eyebrows, and he looked at Jack doubtfully. "You understand that we specialise in bespoke suits, sir? If you're after something off the rack…"
Jack noted the last three words were uttered with a subtle hint of disdain. "No, I understand. I was recently promoted at work, so I thought I'd treat myself. Smarten up my image a bit. A friend suggested I should try your shop."
"It's always flattering to receive a recommendation from a satisfied customer." The man's expression became curious. "May I ask the name of your friend?"
Jack nodded. "His name's John Smith. I work with him. Well, actually, he's my boss. Do you know him?"
A look of recognition passed over the other man's features. "Ah. He and my father were friends. I don't know him very well, but we've met a few times. He's a bit… er… eccentric."
Jack chuckled, completely unable to deny the truth of the man's politely spoken description. In fact, he was certain that John would take it as a great compliment. "Your father owns the business?" he asked, continuing to gaze around.
The man tensed, a flicker of emotion passing over his features. "He did. He passed away a while ago. I own it now."
Jack hoped he'd managed to hide his surprise. He'd assumed that the man was an assistant of some kind. He hadn't considered that he might be the owner. "I'm very sorry," he said awkwardly, not knowing what else to say.
"Thank you." The man's voice was stoically polite but devoid of emotion. "Do you have something specific in mind for your new suit? I'm sure I can manage any style you might be interested in."
The words might have sounded arrogant, Jack considered, but coming from this polite, unassuming young man, they seemed to merely reflect a quiet confidence in his ability.
"I'll need to take your measurements," the man continued. "Then once you've decided on the style and fabric, I can give you a quote on the cost for me to make it."
Jack felt his eyes widen in surprise. "You do all the work yourself?" he blurted out. "I mean, you make an entire suit from scratch?"
"Yes," the young man replied, somewhat stiffly. "I can assure you I'm quite capable. My father taught me everything he knew." A sad ghost of a smile briefly crossed his face. "He was one of the finest tailors in Wales," he said with obvious pride.
"I'm sorry," Jack said quickly, realising that he'd inadvertently offended the other man. He seemed far too young to have mastered such a specialised skill. Apparently the young Welshman was some kind of Einstein of haberdashery. "I didn't mean to question your abilities."
The man shrugged. "It's understandable. I know I must seem quite young."
They looked at each other awkwardly for a moment. Jack gestured at the suit the man was wearing, hoping to redeem himself. "Did you make this one?"
"Yes," he replied with a terse nod.
Jack reached forward tentatively. "May I?"
The man nodded again, and Jack lifted the lapel of the man's jacket, gently tracing the soft, finely woven wool between the pads of his fingertips. He felt his heartbeat quicken as the warmth of the man's chest prickled the skin on the back of his hand. Smiling, Jack quickly drew his hand away.
"What do you think?" the man asked, raising a dark, well-groomed eyebrow, apparently challenging Jack to find fault with his craftsmanship.
"Gorgeous," Jack replied sincerely.
The man's eyes widened for the briefest of moments. Then they seemed to soften, and Jack hoped that his earlier transgression had been forgiven.
"Are you interested then, sir? Would you like me to make you a suit?"
Jack hesitated, not sure exactly what he was getting himself into. He didn't want to risk offending the man any further either. "How much are we talking about here? Just a ball-park figure so I know if it's within my budget."
The young man nodded in understanding. "Do you want two or three piece?"
"Er, two," Jack replied.
"Single or double breasted?"
"Two or three button jacket?"
"Hmm. Ah, two, I think."
The man frowned in concentration for a moment, apparently performing some mental calculations. Then his expression cleared, but he seemed to be regarding Jack with uncertainty, perhaps questioning his commitment to what he obviously considered to be a serious undertaking by both parties.
"You'll be looking at upwards of twelve-hundred pounds," the man stated. "Possibly up to fifteen-hundred depending on your choice of fabric."
Jack couldn't help but blow out a low whistle of surprise. It wasn't that he couldn't afford it, and he wasn't exactly known for his lack of extravagance on occasion, but he knew that he could buy two, or even three, decent off the rack suits for the same price.
The man cleared his throat. "Erm… if you're looking for a more inexpensive option," he offered, apparently picking up on Jack's uncertainty. "I can suggest some other shops that might…"
"No," Jack hastily replied, wondering if he was imagining the tone of disappointment in the young man's voice. "I want you to make a suit for me." He shrugged and grinned. "What the hell, it's only money."
The man continued to look at him doubtfully. "Are you sure, sir?"
"Positive. And please, none of this 'sir' business." He thrust out his hand. "I'm Jack… Jack Harkness."
The young man seemed to study him appraisingly for a moment, probably unsure of what to make of the brash American who had entered his domain.
After an awkward pause, he clasped Jack's hand, gripping it firmly. "Jones… Ianto Jones. It's a pleasure to meet you, Jack."
Jack felt a surge of warmth wash over him as they shook hands, and it was with a surprising feeling of reluctance that he finally withdrew his hand from the other man's grasp. The way that Ianto had said his name in his lilting Welsh accent, drawing out the vowel, was unlike anything he'd heard before. Jack's single syllable name usually sounded harsh to his ears when spoken by other people, but in Ianto's dulcet tones, it sounded beautiful and almost sensual.
Shaking himself mentally, Jack smiled at the other man. "Yan-toe," he said slowly, trying out the unusual name in his distinctive American accent. "The pleasure is all mine."
Jack widened his smile. "So, let's get my suit underway shall we?"
Ianto gave him a brief smile in return and reached for his measuring tape.