Story Title: Happy Birthday
Character/Relationships: Jack, Ianto, Alice; Jack/Ianto
Warnings: Alternate universe in assuming that the events of Children of Earth never occurred, but includes spoilers for the revelations about Jack’s family. Also, there are references to sex.
Summary: Alice hadn't always have the best relationship with her father. And every time she tried to improve it ... something like this would happen.
AN: I wrote this for the third challenge of the first round of jack_ianto_las. The prompt was "Terrible Gift". This is alternate universe in assuming that the events of Children of Earth never occurred, but includes spoilers for the revelations about Jack's family.
Oh God. This was the reason she normally avoided Cardiff, but Jeremy had insisted. She was making an effort to date now her ex had finally remarried, but it wasn't exactly easy as a full-time mum to meet single guys. Jeremy had been introduced by one of the other mums at Steven's school. This was their first date. He was quite possibly the most boring man she had ever met.
"Alice, how are you honey?" Captain Jack Harkness, all swirling coat and expertly styled hair, was striding towards them. She couldn't help but notice he was tapping the code he had taught her as a child onto his thigh, asking if she wanted him to break up her date. Of course he would know how bored she was.
"Jack," she said, standing up and pulling him into a hug (and tapping please get me away from this terrible date onto his coat). Whatever problems she had with her dad, he was hardly boring. Besides, she could look after herself, it was Steven she worried about the most and he was at home. "Jeremy, this is my … brother, Jack."
Jeremy was clearly unimpressed. "Jeremy Franks."
"A pleasure, I'm sure," Jack said, leaning down to kiss her date's outstretched hand. Alice found herself struggling not to giggle at the look on his face. "I'm really sorry to interrupt this, but I have a bit of an emergency. Alice, I need you to come with me." He held out his hand to her, and then his confident façade broke and she could see he was petrified she wouldn't take it.
Smiling, she gathered up her coat and bag, offered apologies as sincere as possible to Jeremy and got the hell out of there. She was half way down the road before she realised she was still holding Jack's hand. She let go immediately, but couldn't miss the disappointment on her dad's face.
"It's your birthday tomorrow, isn't it?" he said, finally.
"Thursday, dad," she replied, although she couldn't help but smile. Most years he seemed to forget completely.
He gave her an awkward smile. "I've got you a present. I – I wasn't sure when I'd get to see you, but it's just at the hub if you…"
He trailed off and he looked so excited, like when he'd visited when she was really young and asked to take her to the park. She couldn't turn him down. She checked her watch and then smiled. "I can't stay too long; I need to get back for the babysitter."
"Brilliant!" He gripped her hand and pulled her along, racing towards the Plass, but not before she got a glimpse of his blinding grin. It was almost worth chasing after him in her nice skirt and heels, to make her feel like a teenager, like a child again; almost enough to forget all the problems they had had. She could try to pretend until he pulled her into the tourist office and had to tell her to wait to make sure there was no one else there.
Nothing could bring you back to reality like being reminded that your father was ashamed of you.
She found herself running down the stairs while he took the lift and then lurked at the entrance to the hall. There was a man there with her dad, ridiculously young for the kind of work they did even if he was stocky enough for fighting.
"How was the weevil?" he asked.
"Fine," Jack said. He was hurrying into his office, presumably to grab the present.
She could see the other man take a deep breath as if he was bracing himself for something. "Only I was thinking, maybe we could go out to dinner or something tonight." He looked so hopeful that even with everything else she felt a tad sorry for him. After all, he wouldn't be the first to fall for Jack's charms and assume that a shag meant a relationship.
Jack came out. To her complete surprise, he seemed to have realised that this was important to the other man. "Sorry, Ianto, not tonight, but maybe I could come over to yours later and bring take-away. We could watch that movie you were talking about last week."
Ianto leaned up and kissed her father. Unable to keep quiet in the face of such tenderness and domesticity, something she thought (or hoped) her dad was incapable of, she tried to turn and leave. If he could manage that with someone else, why couldn't he manage it with her, his own daughter? She tripped and managed to crash into something.
She came out and stared at the two of them, clearly in love. So here was a birthday present, a father who could love her but had chosen not to and a step-father young enough to be her toy-boy.
"Ianto, this is Alice my …"
"His daughter," Alice found herself snapping.
Jack looked betrayed. So did Ianto, but at least that wasn't aimed at her.
"I have a ten year old son named Steven and Thursday is my thirty-fifth birthday. But it's not like Dad would care enough to talk about me to anyone or tell me about the latest person in his life-"
"Alice…" Jack tried to interrupt, but she couldn't even look at him now.
"Oh, just forget it," she snapped and left. Maybe if she didn't look at him for a while it would hurt less.