Author: Erin Giles
Disclaimer: Torchwood is property of the BBC.
Summary: It's snowing in Cardiff and Ianto walks to work, but it's not getting to work that's going to be a problem, it's leaving at the end of the working day.
A/N: This is a Christmas gift for my beta, pinkfairy727. You've been instrumental in helping me to improve my writing this year with your invaluable advice, constant fangirling and encouragment. I wouldn't be where I am now without you hun. Merry Christmas, hun. Also since this was a present for my beta, all mistakes are my own. Feel free to point and laugh.
It was snowing when Ianto decided he would walk to work. Well, it was more his car decided for him since the engine wouldn’t turn over after he spent ten minutes trying to defrost his locks enough to get the key in the car door. He considered calling Jack to come and pick him up but there seemed something so magical about the snowflakes dancing round him that he decided he’d walk the couple of miles to work. He realised too as he watched a Fiat Punto’s ABS kick in that he probably had a better chance of survival if he walked.
He stopped in the coffee shop down the end of his street, using the Styrofoam container as a poor substitute for gloves. Jack had borrowed his when they’d been out the other night and never bothered to return them. He could feel his nose tingling as he stepped back out into the crisp morning air. The palms of his hands burned through the cardboard of the cup holder while the backs of his hands froze as the wind whipped in from the Bristol Channel.
He heard children screeching before they rounded the corner of the road, chasing each other with snowballs on their way to school. He waved to his neighbour whom was busy helping an elderly woman out of the corner shop with her trolley. Mr. Patil who owned the corner shop had spread salt over the pavement but patches of black ice still remained.
“Going to be a slow one today,” Mr. Patil commented as Ianto paid for the Cardiff Examiner with the change from his cup of coffee.
“No, not many tourists out today,” Ianto replied, tucking the paper under his arm. “I might get lucky and get the day off.”
Mr. Patil chuckled that deep-bellied laugh that never failed to make Ianto smile as he stepped back out into the cold.
There was a minor crash a couple of junctions over. A shaken woman giving her details to a business man as he looked reproachfully at his car yet still trying to reassure her it was fine, not her fault.
Ianto almost found himself on his backside as he tried to cross the road. It was a skating rink and Ianto hadn’t really considered his footwear when he left that morning. His feet slipped from underneath him and he had to grasp onto a nearby lamppost to steady himself.
“You alright, love?” a woman asked, her hands gripping onto a couple of mittened hands. Ianto smiled at her warmly as he took in the sight of her children, red nosed and wrapped up in bobble hats and waterproofs.
“Wrong shoes or wrong weather, I’m not sure which.”
The woman laughed before returning Ianto’s smile as he straightened himself up, retrieving his paper from the pavement before continuing on his way. As he rounded the corner into Roald Dahl Plass the wind rushed in from the Bay, slapping him harshly in the face as he felt the cold seeping through his trousers and rising up his legs. He took a moment to pause on the boards outside his office, looking out into the Bay. A crisp winter scene had set about it, and he could see Penarth clearly in the distance, boats tugging at their moorings in a bid for freedom as he watched ducks trying to make paths through the frozen ice. He watched a seagull trying to land on the ice, skating gracelessly across it before trying to take to flight again. He could hear other seagulls squawking, almost laughing at their comrade before the shrill ring of his mobile cut into the scene.
Numb fingers fumbled for it in his inside pocket, putting it up to his ear as his attention was drawn to a pair of ducks making themselves at home on the hull of a nearby boat.
“Ianto, are you coming in some time today?” Jack asked down the phone, a worried tone to his voice. Ianto couldn’t help but smile.
“I’m just at the Tourist office,” Ianto replied, wriggling his toes within the confines on his shoes to try and get some feeling back in them. There was a long pause where Ianto could hear Jack breathing down the phone.
“Are you?” Jack asked, confusion in his voice.
“Yes, I would come in but I can’t use my keys because my only free hand is being used to make a pointless phone call,” Ianto replied sarcastically as the snow started to get heavier, already lying on the wet boards beneath his feet.
“Let me get the door for you then,” a voice said in stereo and Ianto turned round to face the Tourist Information door to find Jack stood there, his mobile pressed to his ear and a cheeky smile on his face.
Ianto rolled his eyes as he hung up his phone, moving over to Jack, grateful when the man in question stepped back to allow him into the slightly warmer office. He felt Jack’s hand reach out for the paper he had in his hand, not so subtly brushing against his fingers.
“God, you’re frozen,” Jack commented as he shut out the cold, watching Ianto as he deposited his now cold cup of coffee in the bin and started to shrug out of his jacket.
“It is minus ten outside, Sir,” Ianto replied, blowing on his hands to try and warm them up. Jack caught Ianto’s hands between his own though, pulling them towards his chest.
“I’ve got your gloves downstairs,” Jack admitted a little guilty as Ianto sniffed before pulling a hand free from Jack’s grasp and sneezing into it.
“Did you walk?” Jack asked as he watched Ianto moving a hand into his pocket to retrieve a tissue. Jack presented him with a clean handkerchief, which Ianto took gratefully, nodding resignedly.
“Car wouldn’t start,” Ianto admitted before he blew his nose.
“You could have called me,” Jack replied, waving his hand as Ianto tried to offer him back his dirty handkerchief.
“Hang onto it,” Jack chuckled as he made a disgusted face, watching as moments later Ianto sneezed into it again. His nose was red raw from the cold, his cheeks looking similar.
“I know,” Ianto replied eventually when the sneezing had subsided. “I just felt like walking. Seemed like a good idea at the time.” Ianto shrugged as Jack reached up to Ianto’s hair, brushing out the snowflakes that had yet to melt.
“Things that seem like a good idea at the time usually come back to bite us on the ass later,” Jack said, only slightly teasing as Ianto sneezed dramatically into the handkerchief again. Jack smirked to himself but didn’t say anything more on the matter. “Come on, the others are already downstairs.”
“I’m going to head home, Jack,” Ianto said, popping his head in Jack’s office and immediately ducking back out, not expecting much of a reply from Jack – he’d been absorbed in paperwork all day.
“What’s your hurry?” Jack called after him, and Ianto rolled his eyes, retrieving his still wet coat from the stand where he’d left it earlier after his and Tosh’s foray out into the world for food and to check on some strange animal tracks. They’d turned out to be kids messing about with leftover Halloween costumes.
“I was hoping to get home before I’m snowed out,” Ianto replied, shrugging his coat on and fumbling with the buttons.
“Don’t forget your gloves,” Jack said over his shoulder, waving Ianto’s gloves at him. Ianto made to make a grasp for them, but Jack pulled them out of reach.
“Unless you want to join me for a nightcap?” Jack suggested.
“I really need to get home, Jack,” Ianto protested wearily, making a grab for the gloves again, but Jack moved them behind his back. Ianto huffed out a sigh.
“I’ll do without them,” he muttered, turning away from Jack and heading towards the cog door.
“But it’s cold out there,” Jack called after him. Ianto stopped but didn’t turn around. He was remembering how picturesque the snow had looked on the CCTV half an hour ago in the dark, but now he was contemplating the walk back to his flat that would result in numb fingers, frozen toes, wet trousers and no doubt him making an arse of himself by falling over more than once.
“It’s cold in here too,” Ianto pointed out, turning round to look back up the stairs at Jack, sneezing, as if to emphasis his point.
Jack put a finger to his lip in thought and Ianto couldn’t keep down the smirk that had been rising at Jack’s not quite so subtle attempt to get Ianto to spend the night.
“Well a drink will warm you up,” Jack said, instead of the usual innuendo that Ianto expected from him. Jack was also giving him a look and a smile that Ianto had always been powerless to resist.
“One drink.” Ianto admitted defeat and traipsed back up the stairs towards Jack, allowing Jack to pull his coat from his shoulders again, and draping it over his left arm.
“I’ll make it worth your while,” Jack whispered past Ianto’s ear as he snaked an arm round Ianto’s waist to stop him from walking away. He pressed a languid kiss to the side of Ianto’s neck, his tongue licking up to just below Ianto’s earlobe. Ianto shuddered in pleasure, all thoughts of snow forgotten as Jack gave his waist one final squeeze, palm splayed out across his belly.
Jack moved away to hang Ianto’s coat back up on the stand, but Ianto turned, grabbing a hold of Jack’s arm and pulling him back so their bodies were pressed up against each other, creating a cocoon of warmth.
“Do that again,” Ianto breathed, a wicked smile on his face as hands twisted around Jack’s waist, pulling him even closer still so Jack’s breath was hot against his cheek. Jack had had him at ‘It’s cold out there’.