Story Title: Hollow
Warnings: Reference to Lisa and slight angst, although with a fluffy ending. Also, this is set at some point pre-Exit Wounds but could be pre- or post-Reset.
Summary: Ianto knew Valentine's Day was never going to be the same, after Lisa. But this ... this was even worse.
AN: I wrote this for the second challenge of the first round ofjack_ianto_las. This was for the prompt "Valentine's Day".
Ianto sighed and shoved the last of Owen's ever spreading collection of take-away coffee cups into a bin bag. Some Valentine's Day this was. The entire team had been run off their feet since the early hours, with the small flashes of downtime dominated by Gwen mooning over Rhys' dinner plans while Tosh tried and failed to distract Owen from his bitter mumblings. Jack was still out tracking down a rogue weevil, but had allowed the rest of the team to go home early. Well, the whole team except Ianto, who had to finish cleaning up the rubbish.
He missed Lisa on Valentine's Day. Not that a part of him didn't miss her every day, but there was something about February 14th that brought her to mind. It wasn't that they had considered it particularly special, because they hadn't. If anything, Lisa had always insisted it was a ridiculous non-holiday, although she'd smile and blush so prettily when he got her something small and silly. It was more what it symbolised, what Lisa had been.
"Come on, Ianto," Lisa says, giggling as she pulls him away from his work.
Ianto feigns reluctance, but he can't prevent his own grin getting even larger. God, he loves this woman. "Let me just finish this-"
"I haven't seen you properly in a week, sweetheart. You are eating your lunch with me whether you want to or not."
After all, he had not just loved Lisa because she was Lisa (although he had loved her, loved her so much that it still choked him sometimes when he smelt the perfume she'd worn or thought he heard her laugh). He had also loved the future that they had been going to have. The uncomplicated and obvious normality. The moving in together, engagement, marriage, kids, grandkids, growing old… It wasn't like he'd ever have anything like that with Jack. Frankly, it was rare he could fall asleep in Jack's arms, secure in the knowledge that the other man would be there when Ianto woke up.
There's a moment's silence. God please say he hasn't made a mistake, he hasn't jumped the gun, it's not too soon for the two of them to go away, is it? She'll say yes, she's got to, please-
"Well," she says with a smirk, "I don't mind camping but next year we're going on a proper holiday, to somewhere hot, you hear me?"
God, he didn't mean to get so bogged down in all this rubbish with Jack. It wasn't like he wasn't happy, and even if it wasn't conventional, he knew Jack cared about him. Maybe not as much as the other way round but was that really so important? It was as much as Jack was capable of and being special to someone like Jack, well, it was worth missing out on all the mundane domestics. Besides, he added to his own internal debate as he finished his final circuit of the hub, who was to say that Jack even had something like Valentine's on his home planet or even in his original time. It didn't mean anything. It wasn't worth getting upset about.
"Mum and Dad, this is Ianto."
He's been introduced to his girlfriend's parents before, of course he has, but somehow it's never felt as important as this time. He tries to keep his hand steady as he puts it out for her father to shake.
"So this is the infamous Ianto," her mum says, pulling him into a hug and then holding his at arm's length so she can study him. "Hmmm, not too bad Lisa, dear."
"Be careful," her dad says as he pulls Lisa into a similarly tight hug. "Your mum will be trying to steal him in a minute."
And just like that, he's a part of the family.
He had almost convinced himself he wasn't upset by the time he walked up the final stairs to the Tourist Office. And then there it was, right in front of him. An inconspicuous little box, wrapped in brown paper and tied with a red ribbon, sitting there on the desk. Unable to quite believe it, he picked it up with shaking hands and read the small note.
Happy Valentine's Day
It almost didn't matter what was inside. It could have been an empty box for all he cared at that moment. It was the fact that Jack had thought of him, even for a second. Maybe a future wasn't as far out of his reach as he thought.