Characters: Jack/Ianto, Gwen/Rhys, Rhiannon/Johnny
Word Count: 3,500
Spoilers: Post Exit-Wounds, Character Names from COE.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood.
Warnings: Slight AU for COE.
Prompts: Coffee, Birthday and AU from Jantolution.
Authors Notes: Thanks to cindergirlgrimm for both inspiring most of this and the beta.
Summary: In which punches are thrown, a triple date is a very bad idea and Rhiannon gets to wear the coat.
5 Times Jack Met Rhiannon
They crash through the flat door, joined at the lips and hands already tearing away shirt buttons in their quest for flesh.
Neither of them realises the living-room lamp is already turned on or that there is a small pile of neatly wrapped birthday presents on the coffee table, too preoccupied with getting each other naked as fast as possible. The quiet laughter from the Friday night chat show is drowned out by the groans and sighs they are pulling from each other as they stumble towards the bedroom.
They are completely oblivious to their surroundings and would have remained so had the woman sitting curled up on the large sofa not choked on her wine before piping up with an astonished, “So you have gone bender then?”
Jack and Ianto jump apart in shock, both staring at the intruder. Ianto groans before burying his head in Jack’s shoulder. “Jack, meet my sister Rhiannon.”
Jack parks the SUV outside one of the many houses on the Cromwell estate but he doesn’t get out of the car. Undoing his seatbelt, Jack turns to face Ianto sitting in the passenger seat, watching as he plays nervously with one of his shirt cufflinks.
Jack reaches across and squeezes one of Ianto’s hands. “It’ll be fine, Ianto,” Jack says, turning Ianto’s hand over to link their fingers together. “What’s wrong?” Ianto sighs and squeezes Jack’s hand but he offers no further answer.
Jack decides to take a guess. “Is it because I’m the first bloke you’ve introduced to your family?”
Ianto shakes his head. “No, it’s not that. It’s just...” He sighs again. “The only one of my girlfriends Rhiannon’s met and didn’t get into a fight with was Lisa.”
“Fight as in how you and Owen used to fight or...”
“Fight as in she slapped two of them and threw a glass of wine over the other.”
Jack tries to suppress the grin he can feel spreading across his face but gives up and starts to laugh when the corners of Ianto’s mouth twitch as he fails to control his own grin.
“Don’t worry,” Jack reassures Ianto, kissing him on the cheek. “I promise that by the end of the evening I’ll have Rhiannon charmed.”
Twenty minutes later, Ianto finds himself standing in his sister’s kitchen holding a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel to Jack’s jaw.
“Too much charm?” Jack asks, cracking his jaw in the processes.
“Just a bit,” Ianto chuckles before leaning in to kiss Jack’s forehead and moving his free hand so it is cupping Jack’s cheek. “How does it feel to be the first person I’ve introduced to my family who’s managed to get themselves punched by my brother-in-law?”
Ianto had known this was going to be a bad idea, a really bad idea even, but that doesn’t mean he is happy about being right.
The first courses have just arrived and so far Jack has flirted with Rhiannon (much to Johnny’s chagrin), Johnny himself (again to Johnny’s chagrin), and Gwen and Rhys. Then there are the three female waitresses floating around in their tight shirts, the male one who keeps topping up his whiskey and the occasional flirty comment and suggestive wink Jack keeps sending his way.
Ianto is not normally a heavy drinker but tonight he is willing to make an exception. Whiskey will help dull the sound of Johnny asking Jack questions that Ianto really doesn’t want to know the answer too.
(It will also dull the sound of Johnny asking questions that Ianto does know the answer to but, judging by the looks on their faces, Ianto is fairly certain Rhys and Rhiannon don’t want to hear them. Gwen doesn’t care, she’s heard them all before and has enough sense to get Ianto on his own and ply him with alcohol before asking questions like, "So are you a top or a bottom?")
At least Jack’s attempts at flirting with Rhys were short-lived. Rhys took one look at the leer on Jack’s face when he and Gwen arrived at the restaurant and immediately advised Jack to, “Forget it! Save it for somebody else.”
It’s only a small mercy but Ianto is taking any respite he can get, short of actually opening the Rift.
“Excuse me,” Ianto calls to the waiter passing their table, deliberately not listening to Jack tell Rhys and Johnny some crazy story that has been heavily edited to feature a lot less tentacles.
“Another one, sir?” the waiter asks with a bored smile, picking up Ianto’s empty glass.
“Please,” Ianto replies, having realised after only his first pint that there isn’t enough alcohol in a Brains brewery to get him through this night sane. He is going to need a lot more alcohol before he forgets about Johnny asking Jack if he usually screws his secretaries or if Ianto is an exception.
At least Rhys and Johnny are getting along now, having found a mutual love of Rugby Union, lager, and Jack baiting.
“Jack, if this story is going to end in you and/or Ianto naked we don’t want to know,” Rhys interrupts Jack just as he is getting into the swing of his story.
Jack smirks in response. “Does a six man orgy count as naked?”
“Yes!” Rhys shouts, causing several of the restaurants other patrons to look over at their table.
Ianto takes a large gulp of whisky, wondering if it is an abuse of his power to Retcon tonight out of everybody’s memories, just as Rhiannon chokes on her wine, having caught only Jack’s last sentence. “Did he just say-“
“So, Rhiannon,” Gwen interrupts, handing her a napkin to mop up her wine. “How are Mica’s rehearsals going? Ianto said she’d gotten a part in her school play.”
Ianto smiles at Gwen as Rhiannon starts recalling her daughter’s tales of costume dramas, backstage fights and how the whole estate can now sing Go, Go, Go Joseph word perfect. Gwen is definitely getting the good biscuits with her coffee tomorrow, the little shortbread ones she is particularly fond of.
Jack on the other hand...
Jack is being blessedly silent at the minute, listening good-naturedly as Rhys calls him a prat while telling Johnny about his and Gwen’s wedding, with only a few minor deviations, such as substituting the alien-shape-shifter with a crazy gatecrasher. Jack catches Ianto’s eye and smiles at him. Ianto smiles back but his grin fades when Jack winks.
Oh, this isn’t going to end well.
“Let me tell you a story,” Jack declares to nobody in particular, grinning when the whole table turns to look at him. Ianto signals to the waiter for another whiskey. “It’s a tale of love and adventure, staring a dashing Captain and his suit-clad companion.”
Ianto groans before accepting his drink from the waiter. “Better start making them doubles.”
Rhiannon runs through the hospital only half-aware of the doctors and nurses bustling around her, Gwen three steps behind her. Gwen places a hand on her shoulder as they reach the reception, showing her Torchwood pass to the girl sitting behind the computer and leading Rhiannon to a small, private waiting room.
Jack is already there, pacing back and forwards across the room.
One, two, three, turn. One, two, three, turn. One, two...
He stops when he sees them at the door. He tries to smile reassuringly but it is barely a grimace, just a slight turn of the mouth. Rhiannon walks slowly towards him, expecting him to turn his back and start pacing again.
He stays still, allowing her to hug him and clutch tightly at his coat, but starts pacing again once she lets go.
Rhiannon watches him pace as she sits down on one of the hard, cold, plastic chairs, Gwen on the equally hard chair to her right. Rhys arrives a few minutes later, handing Gwen the keys to the SUV before sitting down on Gwen’s other side, grasping her hand and kissing her forehead.
“He’ll be okay,” Gwen says quietly after a few minutes of nothing but the soft thud, thud, thud of Jack’s boots on the carpet floor.
“He’s going to be fine. The doctors said that the surgery is fairly straight forward.” Nobody answers, knowing Gwen is trying to reassure herself of this statement as much as she is trying to reassure Jack and Rhiannon.
Rhiannon just continues to watch Jack pace.
One, two, three, turn. One, two, three, turn. One, two...
Rhiannon doesn’t recognise the man pacing across the tiny room. His face is white and there is blood on his hands, Ianto’s blood she tries not to think failing every time she catches sight of his clenched fists. Jack is clearly terrified and looks so lost she wants to do nothing more than to pull him into her arms and sing Welsh lullabies to him, as her mother used to do to her when she had a nightmare.
She also wants somebody to wrap her up in a duvet and take care of her, tell her that this is all a bad dream- one that can be chased away by a hug and a familiar tune- but she knows this is not going to happen tonight.
This terrified man in front of her is not the flirty, cocky, American Captain her brother fell in love with- not that Ianto has admitted this yet, but she is his sister and it’s her job to know these things.
Jack has not spoken a word since she arrived- not to her, or Gwen and Rhys, or to any of the nurses who have come in offering tea and coffee. He didn’t even look twice at the pretty blonde who walked past the door earlier- this scares Rhiannon more than the phone ringing at two in the morning, Gwen saying Ianto’s been hurt at work and she’s on her way to pick her up, and all the false reassurances she and Rhys uttered on the way over.
One, two, three, turn. One, two, three, turn. One, two...
Rhiannon can’t decide if Jack’s pacing is annoying or if she wants to join him- to vent her frustrations by shouting and screaming at the nurses until they give her some new information.
She knows that’s what Johnny would do. She also knows that should she give into the temptation she will find herself sitting in the car park and unable to get back through the front door without taking on several security guards. She would rather be helpless and sitting inside than sitting helpless at home, waiting for second-hand information about whether her brother is going to survive.
“Jack, will you sit down for ten minutes,” Rhys’ voice disrupts the silence. Jack freezes, looking unsure as to whether he wants to sit down or to ignore Rhys and carry on pacing.
“I know you want to do be doing something and you’re not used to just sitting back when somebody you care for is in trouble- but there’s nothing you can do,” Rhys continues to speak in a calm and quiet voice.
Jack continues to stand there until Rhys gestures to Gwen with a nod of his head.
Both Jack and Rhiannon glace over to Gwen, who is staring at one spot on the wall and chewing her lip. It is only now that Rhiannon looks at Gwen properly and realises her knuckles are white where she is tightly gripping Rhys’ hand.
Jack sighs but dutifully sits down on Rhiannon’s free side, uttering a muted ‘sorry’ under his breath as he passes Gwen.
Rhiannon doesn’t realise she is shaking, with both cold and fear, until Jack is standing in front of her, removing his greatcoat and wrapping it around her shoulders. It swamps her but she is grateful for it. She has listened to Ianto admire Jack’s coat on several occasions and she smiles slightly as she fingers the frayed cuff of one of the sleeves. The memory of Ianto helping Jack- his jaw still swollen from Johnny’s punch- into his coat before rushing out of her house to return to work, leaving Ianto behind with a fond smile on his face, flashes through her mind.
She reaches across and squeezes Jack’s hand where it is resting limply by his side. Jack squeezes her hand in return and keeps them joined.
Rhiannon wishes somebody would speak again, just say something, anything, to interrupt the train of thoughts running through her head on an endless loop. All the things she wishes she had asked Ianto- about his job, about London, about Jack- vying for space with memories and one song acting as the soundtrack to all of the visuals.
‘Tell Me It’s Not True,’ has never seemed more appropriate- slightly morbid maybe, but appropriate.
She opens her mouth to say something but nothing comes out. She tries again but only manages a squeak. Jack squeezes her hand again.
Nobody speaks until Jack’s PDA starts beeping. Rhiannon jumps- she hadn’t been expecting the coat she was wearing to start vibrating. Jack releases her hand to remove the device from the outside pocket.
“Weevil?” Rhys asks and Jack nods.
Rhiannon doesn’t know exactly what her brother does for a living- does, not did because he’s going to be okay and she knows Ianto well enough to know he’s going to go back to his crazy job after this. All she knows is that he is supposedly some sort of civil servant who works ridiculous hours and is always in, as it turns out, mortal peril.
Unless this Weevil person- and what sort of a nickname is Weevil anyway? -is the reason they are all sitting in this small, claustrophobic room she doesn’t care about him or why he is making Jack’s mobile beep.
Rhiannon suspects he isn’t involved- Jack would have run out of the hospital and torn him apart with his bare-hands had that been the case.
“Yeah, it’s a couple of miles from here,” Jack replies and starts to stand up. Rhys, who rose from his chair as soon as Jack had started to move his head, gently pushes him back down.
“Stay here. Gwen and I will take care of it,” Rhys says slowly.
“Be right here for when Ianto wakes up.” Jack and Rhys look at each other before Jack nods slowly.
“Thank you,” Jack replies, his voice cracking. Rhys squeezes his shoulders before moving away so Gwen can say goodbye.
Jack stands, hugging Gwen tightly. “Be careful,” he says softly.
“We will,” she replies kissing Jack on the cheek. “Ring me if there’s any change.”
Jack nods again. “You should probably try and get some sleep afterwards,” Jack tells her. Gwen glares, informing Jack without words that she will be back as soon as possible.
“Be careful,” Jack repeats, kissing her forehead. Gwen nods and gives Jack one final squeeze before running after Rhys, not complaining when he demands she hand over the keys to the SUV.
With a sigh, Jack sits down taking her hand in his once more. They don’t talk to each other- they don’t even look at each other, both focused on different parts of the wall- not until the doctor enters the room, smiles, then says the two words they have been waiting all night to hear. “Ianto’s awake.”
“Did I wake you?” Rhiannon asks when Jack opens the door wearing only his boxers and a half-asleep expression.
“No...No, it’s fine. I was just getting up,” Jack replies, covering his yawn with his hand before running the same hand through his tousled hair.
“I thought you had a key?” Jack asks Rhiannon, leading the way to the kitchen. Rhiannon follows, admiring Jack’s figure from behind and grinning when Jack catches her staring at his arse.
“After what happened last time I thought I should knock first.”
Jack smirks in reply. “Did you not enjoy the show?”
Rhiannon snorts but doesn’t answer the question. “Where’s Ianto?” she asks instead.
“Still asleep,” Jack says as he fills the kettle up and picks up two cups from the cup rack. Rhiannon smothers a grin when she realises one of the cups Jack has chosen is the large, white one with a cat on it that Ianto keeps purely for when she calls in for coffee and a chat.
Rhiannon removes her coat and hangs it over the back of one of the chairs in Ianto’s kitchen, glancing at the clock as she does so to confirm that it is, in fact, nearly lunchtime.
“We were working late last night,” Jack says, seemingly reading her mind. Rhiannon makes a noncommittal hmmm- she has already made her opinion of Ianto returning to the job that nearly killed him perfectly clear to both her brother and his boyfriend.
“Do you want tea or coffee?” Jack asks her.
“Here, I’ll do it,” Rhiannon tells Jack before taking the cups from him and removing the coffee from the cupboard. “You go put some clothes on.” Jack glances down at his bare chest as if he has only just realised that he is wearing nothing but his underwear.
“Sure,” Jack replies before walking towards the kitchen door. “No milk or sugar please.”
“Will I make one for Ianto?”
“No it’s fine,” Jack answers from down the corridor. “He’ll make his own when he gets up.”
Rhiannon has two coffees made by the time Jack returns to the kitchen, now wearing black trousers and a white t-shirt though his hair is still sticking up at odd angles.
“You want some toast or anything?” Jack says, opening a cupboard and removing half a loaf of wholemeal bread. Rhiannon shakes her head in reply.
“How is he?” she asks, not needing to elaborate on whom she is referring too.
“He’s loads better; you can hardly see the scar,” Jack replies, looking at the toaster instead of Rhiannon. “I think he’s happy to be back at work and doing something again.”
Rhiannon 'hmmms' again before taking a sip of her drink. They don’t talk for a while; Jack just sits and eats his toast- Rhiannon grimaces as she watches him spread a thick layer of Marmite onto it- while Rhiannon drinks her coffee.
“He is happy,” Rhiannon says looking directly at Jack. “I’ve not seen him this happy since he came back from London.”
Jack blinks at Rhiannon a few times as his brain processes what she is saying.
“Thank you,” Jack replies after several seconds of silence before looking away, not sure what to say.
Rhiannon smiles at Jack before her eyes go cold and she puts her cup down onto the table with a loud clunk. “You know how I feel about Ianto’s job and how little you tell me- yes I know you can’t tell me,” she adds as Jack opens his mouth to interrupt her, “but I want him to be happy. If you and this crazy job are what makes him happy I’ll not complain.”
They sit in silence for a while, neither knowing what to say next.
“So, what was Ianto like as a kid?” Jack asks, finally breaking the silence and grinning when Rhiannon laughs.
“He was an absolute terror!” she exclaims. “He was always getting into trouble. Once, when he was about ten, we were at a birthday party for one of our cousins...”
When Ianto enters the kitchen thirty minutes later he stops in surprise just inside the door, staring in shock at Jack and Rhiannon both clutching empty cups and tears of laughter running down their faces.
They both turn to look at him when he coughs before they glance at each other and start laughing again. “Something tells me I don’t want to know what you two have been talking about.”
“Don’t worry, it’s nothing bad,” Jack tells him as he stands and walks over to Ianto kissing him on the cheek. “Pookey.”
Ianto blushes red, glaring first at his sister- who is struggling to contain her laughter- before turning back to a smirking Jack.
“I hate you both,” Ianto declares before turning away from them and moving towards the fridge.
“Don’t worry,” Rhiannon tells Jack with a smirk, “he’ll forgive us eventually...Won’t you Pop Tart.”
Ianto groans before rummaging in the fridge for the grapefruit juice, trying to ignore the hysterical laughter coming from Jack and Rhiannon. He freezes and turns to face Rhiannon, an evil grin on his face. He is not the only family member Aunty Gladys had stupid pet names for and it seems that Rhiannon is only now remembering this.
“You wouldn’t,” she says slowly, glaring at Ianto.
Ianto shrugs. “Wouldn’t I...Nonnykin?”
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