Pairings: Ianto/Lisa, Ianto-Suzie, Ianto/Jack, Ianto-Tosh
Challenge/Prompt: fanfic100, 095. New Year
Summary: Four different New Year celebrations.
Author’s Notes: I fucked with the chronology of Torchwood to write this, but it’s ok. I think.
There’s a beautiful view over London from the top floor of Torchwood Tower, and because of this it’s completely worth the fact that if they get caught they’ll probably be fired, retconned, and sent off to Mongolia or Siberia or somewhere equally repellent. Lisa is laughing and repeatedly checking her watch, a half-drunk bottle of warm champagne on the floor between them. Sooner or later one of them is going to spill it and then priceless electrical things are going to be destroyed and it’s all going to end in tears and potential bloodshed and amnesia and frostbite in far-off continents.
“You have a far too active imagination, Ianto,” Lisa says when he informs her of this depressing inevitably. “Do you even know where Siberia is?”
“It’s a large region of Russia constituting most of Northern Asia and a large part of the Euro-Asian steppe,” Ianto explains, “There’s a population density of around 3 people per square kilometre and the average temperature is around zero degrees Celsius.”
Lisa stares at him for a very long moment.
“You frighten me sometimes,” she tells him, but she’s grinning as she says it. Ianto feels silently smug. Learn three facts about any country you can think of and everyone assumes you’re a genius. It’s a useful trick, particularly in a place like Torchwood One, where everyone is concerned about protecting the world but no one’s really sure where most of its countries are. (Lisa once told him that Torchwood One employees bring a whole new meaning to the word “self absorbed”, and it’s depressingly true.)
This year has gone by so fast that Ianto’s head is still spinning. This time last year he’d gone back home to spend Christmas and New Year with his family, with the older brothers who will be perpetually better than him, the parents that love him but think that he could have made so much more of himself than “just a secretary” (little do they know), to the girls he never got around to dating back when he was a teenager and now stare at him with “you think you’re so much better than us” expressions.
“You’re moping,” Lisa warns him, poking his cheek until he feels himself smile almost involuntarily.
“I’m not,” he replies with as much dignity as he can when sprawled on the floor feeling vaguely drunk and with a very pretty woman with laughter in her eyes sitting on his lap. “I was thinking, actually.”
Lisa shakes her head, tutting.
“I thought working here had trained that out of you,” she teases him. “After all ‘put coffee grounds in machine, press button, watch coffee come out into mug’ can’t exactly take all that much-”
Ianto pulls her down and kisses her to shut her up. Lisa giggles for a while and then shuts up pretty quick, fingers tangling in his hair. Eventually there’s the sound of fireworks going off and Ianto sits up abruptly to watch shining showers of sparks fall past the windows.
“Happy New Year, Lee,” he whispers, and Lisa looks at the sky over the river, filled with multicoloured explosions emanating from the Millennium Wheel, and pours them both some more champagne, spilling quite a lot of it in the process.
A small electrical thing begins emitting its own golden sparks.
“Ah well,” Lisa sighs, handing him a glass, “I’m sure Siberia is very nice this time of year.”
“You must have somewhere better to be,” Suzie Costello says. Ianto shrugs.
“Where else could I possibly want to be?” he enquires, tasting the sarcasm bitter on his tongue as it spills out.
“Somewhere with natural lighting would be a good start,” Suzie points out, winding a strand of hair around her fingers. She has the complexion of a ghost and Ianto suspects he does too, the two of them drifting about down in the concrete base that never sees sunlight and where humanity falls neatly by the wayside. He thought Torchwood One was bad. Torchwood Three is insanity, bottled on a microcosm scale.
Grief makes him increasingly pretentiously poetic. It’s a thing.
“Natural lighting is overrated,” he tells Suzie, giving up trying to clean away the endless mounds of pizza boxes and instead sitting down beside her on the sofa. “What did natural lighting ever do for anyone?”
“I think it has vitamins in it,” she suggests doubtfully, in tones of deep distrust. She has the look of a woman who hasn’t gone outside in weeks, and Ianto would comment on this except that he never goes outside either. They stew down here in concrete where madness lives and thrives.
“It’s New Year,” Ianto tells her, “Surely you have to have somewhere you could be.”
Suzie raises her eyebrows in amusement.
“You honestly think I’d be here if I had any choice in the matter?” she asks. “It’s becoming increasingly depressingly obvious that I have no one to spend New Year with.”
Ianto doesn’t have anyone either. He had half an idea that he’d stay downstairs with Lisa but she’s in so much pain tonight that he had to sedate her and now he’s faced with the possibility of going out to a night club where everyone will be cheerful and too loud, or staying here with Suzie and moping.
Moping may not be the healthiest of options but at least it doesn’t take all that much effort.
“Let’s call out for a takeaway,” Suzie says, clearly reading enough into his facial expression to want to offer some comfort, “And I’ll run down to the off licence and get us a bottle of red wine, because champagne is a cliché, and we won’t kiss on the stroke of midnight because that will make us awkward for at least the next six months, and we’ll have the New Year of people who have nothing better to do.”
Ianto can’t help smiling.
“Thank you,” he says quietly, because this last year has been torn up and shredded and painful, and Suzie can’t make it better and won’t even try but at least he isn’t alone.
“It’s midnight,” Ianto says distractedly, as his wristwatch starts bleeping loudly. His wristwatch is sitting on Jack’s bedside table and he’s just twisting his head to try and look at the time properly when his boss – or his lover, or whatever you want to call it (Ianto isn’t too sure) – drags him back, laughter bubbling on his lips, and pulls Ianto into a kiss.
The whole thing is slightly new to Ianto; Jack is the first person he’s been with since Lisa and Torchwood One, and he’s so painfully different from the woman Ianto loved that there are days when he wakes up and it all catches in his chest and he thinks he could suffocate from how much it hurts.
Then there are days when he just wants to kill Jack and bring the whole thing to a quick, messy, blood-filled end, an eye for an eye, all that fucking jazz.
For the moment, though, Ianto will settle for shagging him.
“Whole new year,” Jack says softly, blue eyes boring into Ianto’s. He’s almost too serious for a moment and Ianto can’t help thinking over the mess and the complications of the last year; he misses Suzie suddenly, irrationally, desperately, and Lisa’s cold and gone and insane and he thinks he might cry. But then the solemn expression on Jack’s face snaps off and he gives Ianto one of those toothy grins that makes Ianto feel literally weak at the knees (it’s irritating, it’s impossible to ignore).
“We should make resolutions,” he announces.
“What, ‘I will not bring my murderous girlfriend to work’?” Ianto suggests, but there’s bitterness in his tone and he wants to bite his tongue off once he’s said it. Jack manages a weak, helpless sort of smile and it looks wrong on his face.
“Should probably leave those at home in the future,” he agrees, but Ianto felt the tremor that went through him and Jack is more on edge than he looks.
This isn’t how they should be spending the first few minutes of a New Year, so Ianto decides to let go of how much it all hurts. Just for a few minutes. Just for Jack.
“All right,” he murmurs, “I will stop encouraging Myfanwy to crap on Owen’s desk.”
Jack turns to him with an expression that’s a cross between amusement and shock.
“Seriously. What about you?”
Jack pretends to think about it.
“No more kinky sexual exploits with tentacled aliens. They never call the next day…”
Tosh leans her head against Ianto’s shoulder and reaches for her champagne in a morose fashion. Owen and Gwen are kissing like the world’s going to end in a few moments and therefore there will be no recriminations, and it isn’t even sodding midnight yet, and Ianto is Having A Migraine. They shouldn’t be celebrating New Year together, Gwen should be with Rhys (only they broke up a few months ago, didn’t they, so she’s hooked up with Owen again because it’s that or be alone- Ianto understands the feeling), Owen should be fucking blondes covered in body glitter at a party thrown by a friend of a friend, Tosh should be back in London with her friends and family… Ianto isn’t sure where he should be because he’s not sure where he fits any more.
Jack disappeared in February. Months later, they still don’t know if he’s alive or dead and Ianto would cut off his right arm for a message. He gets the feeling they all would. Anything to know their leader, their captain, their friend, their… their Jack is all right. Without Jack, nothing works, not the way it used to, and Ianto pours himself another glass of champagne and decides he hates the way it tastes.
“Do you think-” Tosh begins, but she can’t carry on, and instead drops her glass to let alcohol and glass smash on the floor and Ianto watches it fall and hugs her close. They all miss Jack in various shades of desperate and the nights are longer, colder, hotter, darker, impossible now he’s gone. Ianto promised himself that he wouldn’t fall in love with Jack, but he did.
Lisa’s gone, Suzie betrayed them all, Jack buggered off without so much as a goodbye.
Life isn’t looking too bright at the moment and for the first time in what feels like forever Ianto contemplates just leaving Torchwood and this craziness behind. He’s not sure where he’d go, though, and that’s the problem. (Although apparently Siberia is nice this time of year).
Midnight strikes. Owen and Gwen get steadily more passionate, and Ianto is just wondering whether he owes Tosh a kiss or not, when his pocket vibrates. Just once. He pulls his mobile out, fully expecting a text from his mother or someone. But that’s not it.
Happy New Year! J x
And it’s very almost enough. Ianto feels his lips break into a smile.
“‘Happy New Year’?” Tosh echoes doubtfully, looking over his shoulder. Ianto considers it all for a moment.
“Look at it this way, Tosh,” he says, “It can hardly get worse, can it?”
And behind them, there’s the grinding sound of engines.