Written for: faith_less_one [also: fanfic100, 067. Snow]
Summary: Tosh and Ianto and cold and snow.
Author’s Notes: This is somewhat fluffy. I don't know how good it actually is, but it exists :D
The first time she kisses him, there’s snow all over Cardiff. Ianto normally hates snow, because it’s cold and inconvenient and melts into slush that ruins his shoes. And also because Jack always runs in, begging them all to go for a snowball fight, then sulks all afternoon when Owen wins. Inside the Hub, it’s actually colder inside than it is outside, which is actually quite an achievement- although they are Torchwood, and pride themselves on their ability to achieve the impossible. Still, Ianto won’t be pleased if Myfanwy gets hypothermia again; she always looks sad and pathetic and he thinks the vet is getting somewhat tired of being repeatedly retconned.
The pool at the base of the water tower has frozen over, which is more than a little worrying, and his breath pours out in clouds in front of him, while the team shivers in their thick coats. Ianto makes hot drinks all day but it doesn’t really help- it’s bloody freezing and nothing’s going to change that. Gwen and Owen run out as early as they can, back to heated homes and scalding showers in the hope of postponing frostbite (it would actually be quite awkward to work for Torchwood if their trigger fingers turned black and dropped off) and Jack mutters something about alien invasion in the local bar before pulling on yet another jumper under his coat and fleeing for warmer locations.
“You should get home, Tosh,” Ianto tells her, attempting to clear away coffee mugs whilst wearing two pairs of gloves.
“I can’t,” she says, “I need to get this translation program finished so we can work out if that machine thing is a hand grenade or a novelty soap holder.”
“Soap holder?” he asks, smiling.
“It’s actually a distinct possibility,” Tosh informs him, but gives him one of those sunny grins that she doesn’t give nearly often enough anyway. “I’m sorry, Ianto, if you need to get home, I can probably lock up.”
There’s no way that she could manage the horribly complicated Hub lockdown procedure that it took Ianto three months to master, and Jack still gets it wrong three out of five times, but he likes the idea that she wants to try.
“It’s not a problem,” he tells her, “I haven’t finished clearing up yet anyway.”
“Thank you,” she says softly, and Ianto gets on with the task of making sure the Hub doesn’t collapse under the weight of millions of abandoned pizza boxes and screwed-up printouts. It’s almost pointless; the team are so messy that there’s hardly any point in trying to stem the tide of rubbish.
Ianto makes Tosh a mug of hot coffee with an extra shot of espresso and she blows over the top, steam rising up in front of her. Her incomprehensible translation thing is still running, even though he’s put all the mugs in the dishwasher and binned most of Owen’s porn magazines (because he’s been winding Ianto up all day). Tosh keeps apologising for keeping him there in the sub-zero temperatures of the Hub, but Ianto really doesn’t mind. It isn’t as though he has anywhere else to be, after all. Nowhere to be, not any more.
“I don’t mind, Tosh,” he insists, picking up the Rubik’s Cube on her workstation and playing with it in a half-hearted fashion. Minutes pass and he still can’t even get one side. Tosh smiles and holds out her hand.
“Give it here,” she orders, and then grins at him. “Bet you I can solve it in under thirty seconds.”
Ianto looks sceptical. “While wearing those gloves?”
“Wearing gloves,” Tosh agrees. There’s a mischievous gleam in her eyes.
“No way,” Ianto tells her. He fishes his stopwatch out of his pocket anyway, and holds it up like a prize. Tosh nods at him and he clicks the button on the top, filling the freezing air with ticking.
Tosh starts twisting the cube with loud clicking sounds, in an unsettlingly expert way. Ianto watches with interest as Tosh completes the Rubik’s Cube without any form of hesitation, and when he presses the top of the stopwatch, she gives him a triumphant grin.
“Twenty-seven seconds,” he says. “Impressive. Or maybe you just have too much time on your hands.”
Tosh throws him the completed cube and turns back to her computer screens and the mysterious black text-covered oblong.
“It could still be a soap holder,” she says. “The translation’s getting the word ‘cleansing’.”
“That’s not necessarily a good sign,” Ianto tells her, coming around to lean over her shoulder. The translation completes with a happy chirping sound and the two of them squint at the screen.
They realise at exactly the same time just what the device is, whether because of text or the worrying bleeping sounds coming from it. Ianto drags Tosh backwards and they fall on the floor, laughing and gasping, at it implodes.
“So much for the cosmetic option,” Ianto says, picking a piece of burnt paperwork out of Tosh’s hair. They look at the smouldering wreckage on Tosh’s workstation.
“Sorry,” she says quietly, “I didn’t know that it would-”
“I’d worry if a week went by without something blowing up,” he tells her. “Compared to Owen’s fiasco last week with that alien corpse, this is nothing.”
Ever the gentleman, he offers Tosh a hand to her feet. They can both tell they’ll be here all night trying to clear up the mess.
“We should probably get out of here for a while,” Ianto murmurs, gesturing to the potentially toxic smoke billowing out of the destroyed device. “Besides, it’s warmer out there than it is in here.”
“That can’t be natural,” Tosh says. They wind up taking the paving stone lift up to the surface, just in time to get caught in a flurry of new snowflakes.
“I hate snow,” Ianto says quietly, shivering. Tosh looks across the Roald Dahl Plass, covered in a thick blanket of undisturbed snow.
“It’s beautiful, though,” she says. “Sometimes I think it’s the only thing this planet does right.”
Ianto is on the point of telling her that that isn’t true, but then he looks at the clean expanse of white and it is beautiful and maybe she’s right.
“I’m sure there are other good things about Earth,” Ianto tells her, although he can’t actually think of any at this point in time. They both consider this, looking across at the snow.
“I… I miss sleeping at night,” Tosh says, “And I miss not being scared all the time, and…”
Ianto privately agrees with her, so doesn’t say anything. There’s snow settling in her hair and it’s freezing out here, but it’s this or the icy Hub and the smouldering remains of Tosh’s hand grenade/soap holder. She clearly realises this too, because she says:
“What do we do now?”
“We could always build a snowman,” he suggests with a smile, wondering if his teeth are going to start chattering at any second. “Or snow angels.”
Tosh gives him a sceptical look.
“It might be a bit cold for that,” she tells him. It’s a bit too cold for everything, Ianto reflects, smiling slightly. All he really wants is to go home where it’s warm, but that isn’t going to happen.
Tosh is so much shorter than him that she has to actually lean up to kiss him, which she does, cold and with the snow all around them, just for a second, and then she walks off across the snow. Ianto stands there, just for a moment, then follows her, two tracks of dark footprints on the otherwise untouched white.