Rating: If you're old enough to watch Torchwood, you're old enough to read this (Teen)
Spoilers: Most of first and second season
Summary: The first time Ianto spotted Jack microwaving his greatcoat, he ignored it: it didn't threaten Lisa, couldn't help her. It wasn't important.
Author's note: This was written in bits and pieces last week while I waited for my computer to download and compile and install and do all the other things that computers need time to themselves to churn through. I sent to it copperbadge to look over and it promptly spawned a plot bunny for him. So today you get this story and tomorrow he'll post the prequel, Care and Feeding in his LJ.
The first time Ianto spotted Jack microwaving his greatcoat, he ignored it: it didn't threaten Lisa, couldn't help her. It wasn't important.
The second time he found the greatcoat in the microwave, he wasn't supposed to be in the Hub. Jack had sent him home to recover after the Brecon Beacons, told him not to come in for the rest of the week. After two days he was slept out--too fuzzy with painkillers to read, too bored to watch more daytime television, too visibly bruised to go out in public. And the silence of his flat was filled with memories. He let himself in through the tourist office after everyone had left and wandered around the Hub, not cleaning, not working, just meandering in the silence that was somehow so much less lonely than home. He fetched up in the kitchen to take another painkiller, thought about making coffee but it took too much concentration, fiddled with the microwave door for lack of anything else to do, saw the coat.
"Ianto?" He spun too quickly and staggered, the painkiller taking effect faster than he expected. He found himself in Jack's arms, Jack looking down at him with something that might even have been affection. "I thought I gave you the week off."
"Bored." He shouldn't be so comfortable being held by Jack, only he couldn't be bothered to remember why. "Bored, bored, bored."
"You were bored. Got that." Jack was laughing at him, but that was okay. Jack had a nice laugh even when he wasn't laughing out loud. He steered Ianto over to the couch, guided him to lie down. Jack sat on the floor by his head. He fell asleep to the sound of Jack telling him stories.
Some of them might even have been true.
The third time he saw Jack microwave his greatcoat, it had gotten ripped while hunting weevils. Only Jack would wear irreplaceable antique clothing while chasing through brambles and over fences after inimical aliens with sharp claws. Ianto made a note to take the coat to the best tailor in Cardiff, a man who could do nearly invisible repairs. Only the next morning he couldn't find the tear. On a hunch he checked the CCTV logs for the kitchen and that was when he saw it: three minutes on high.
Not an antique.
"Are we playing dress up?" Jack asked from the door of his office. Ianto froze, though Jack's voice only sounded amused, sexy, suggestive. Ianto turned, feeling the weight of the coat, lighter than he would have expected, swirling about his calves. It felt like wool, faithfully reproduced all the lines and stitches of a normal coat, but it was cooler, comfortable even in the warmth of the Hub. Jack smiled at him, stroked his hand over the sleeve of the coat. "It's not your color," he said, straightening the collar and finger-pressing the epaulets. "You need something darker, trimmer, more form-fitting." The coat--he suspected that the coat could become that, if he knew how.
"You don't think I would make a good Captain Jack Harkness?" Ianto asked, daring. Jack had flirted with him before--before Lisa--but had stopped afterwards. Ianto had hated the flirting while Lisa was still alive, had told himself that he hated it, but now he found he missed it.
Jack studied him, head tilted to the side, smiling slightly. "I think you would make a better Captain Jack Harkness than I would make a Mister Ianto Jones, but only barely." He grinned suddenly, showing all his teeth. "Now Captain Ianto Jones, in one of those black UNIT uniforms, with the red cap, that would be something to see!"
Ianto blushed, looked at the floor before raising his eyes to look Jack in the eyes as boldly as he could. "What--what about Ianto Jones in not much of anything at all?"
Jack's smile was just as broad but less predatory. It was softer, almost welcoming. "That would be good too."
After Owen and Tosh died, after Grey was frozen and Captain John left, after Jack held him and Gwen tight as they all grieved, Ianto took Jack home with him. Taking the coat from Jack's shoulders, Ianto turned to hang it in the closet and stopped, looking, really looking at it for the first time since everything was over. The coat looked terrible--dirty and dull, frayed at cuffs and collar. It felt old and tired, like a small animal waiting for death. He laid it gently over the hall table, not trusting its seams to hold up under a hanger, and chivvied Jack into the lounge. He held up a finger when Jack would have pulled him down onto the sofa with him. "One minute," he promised.
Back in the hall, he took the coat to the kitchen, folding it tightly and wedging it into his small, seldom-used microwave. Remembering the long-ago CCTV footage, a lifetime ago even if the calendar only said one year, he set the microwave for three minutes.
"That won't do it," Jack said, leaning against the door frame, looking and sounding older, grayer, and more tired than the coat. "Not long enough. Give it--give it an hour. On defrost; don't want to overwhelm it after--after so long without food, without anything."
However long it had been for the coat, it was just as long for Jack. "No electromagnetic radiation underground." No air, no light, no food, no touch--
Jack shrugged. "Never thought I would say it, but thank god for radon or the coat would have starved and I would have come up naked. Emily would have liked that, and then Alice would have killed me. Again." He closed his eyes and sagged further into the doorframe. "Be ages before another living coat came through the Rift."
The beeps as Ianto entered the time seemed to echo through the kitchen. Sixty minutes on the lowest setting. Don't want to overload it after so long. He pressed start, turned back to Jack.
Slow. He could do slow.