Warnings: Nothing really, just can't be bothered to mess with the rating
Spoilers: Season Two thru A Day in the Death (2x08)
Disclaimer: Torchwood, Doctor Who and all their wonderfulness belong to the Mighty Beeb and He Who Must Not Be Named. No infringement, only worship intended!
Summary: In which New Year's Eve starts off with a party...but how will it end?
Notes: Dun dun DUUUUUNNNNNNN! :) Sorry this is late! You can find all the previous chapters of The Sea After a Storm here. This is a sequel to Vizzini’s Rule and To The Pain. Thanks again and forever to my amazing beta and wonderful friend thraceadams for all the help and support and beta work; any mistakes are mine!
The Sea After a Storm: Chapter Ninety-Three
Previously on The Sea After a Storm: Thanks to some good advice from Jamie, Ianto began find a glimmer of hope of getting back together with Jack...
Ianto had to admit, against all odds, that he was actually enjoying Jamie and Mark's New Year's Eve party. While he didn't know the majority of people, there were a few old friends from Uni mixed in the crowd. Luckily, none of them had known Lisa very well so, other than the occasional assurances that he was fine when people brought her up, there weren't any awkward moments.
He was laughing over a shared memory with one of his and Jamie's old flatmates when his phone buzzed with a new email. He glanced down at the screen and grinned.
To Mr. Jones, Torchwood:
Dear Sir, ;)
His Nibs says you showed at the party – see you in 10!
He nudged Jamie with his elbow. "You invited Brendan?" he murmured.
Jamie nodded and grinned back at him. "Of course! And he's promised to bring his little friend."
Ianto felt his smile falter a bit, but luckily Jamie was paying attention to the conversation and didn't see. Slipping his phone back into his pocket, Ianto tried to extinguish the little flare of jealousy that welled up inside him. Git, he told himself firmly. He took a drink from his beer and tried to focus on to the chatter.
True to his word, Brendan was walking through the door of Jamie's flat about ten minutes later. Ianto grinned as he watched Jamie and Brendan share a hug made awkward by the near foot of height difference between them but his expression darkened when Brendan turned to beckon to the man he'd brought with him.
He was slightly taller than Brendan with dark straight hair that he ran a hand through when he pulled off his knit hat. Jamie took their coats and waved towards the open door to the spare room so they'd know where to find them. Brendan caught Ianto's eye and crossed the room to join him as Jamie dropped off their coats.
"Happy New Year, Ianto!" Brendan called as he walked over. He gave Ianto a warm hug and then pulled away to introduce the other man. "Ianto, this is Ross Jenkins. Ross, Ianto Jones of Torchwood fame."
Ianto felt his cheeks heat slightly as he reached out to shake Ross' proffered hand. "I don't know about fame," he murmured, embarrassment in clear in his voice.
"Oh, no, I've heard all about you, sir," Ross said earnestly.
Ianto glared at Brendan as Ross' blue eyes crinkled with laughter.
"Sorry, Bren, sorry – I couldn't do it," he laughed.
Ianto raised an eyebrow at Brendan. "Sir? Really?"
Brendan grinned unrepentantly. "It would have worked better if you'd been in a suit," he explained, waving at Ianto's long sleeved black t-shirt and distressed jeans.
"Really, though, it's nice to meet you," Ross said. "I had actually heard of you before Brendan started singing your praises. My first real assignment after training was guard duty at the Canary Wharf site. How anyone survived that... well, let's just say the Torchwood 27 is a big deal with my team at UNIT," he added in an undertone as Jamie rejoined the group.
"What's everyone want to drink?" Jamie asked, clapping his hands together.
Ianto took a sip from his beer whilst the others sorted out their beverages.
The Torchwood 27, he mused. Never heard that one before.
Ianto had been so focussed on Lisa after the horrors they'd experienced at the hands of the Cybermen, that everything else from that time was a blur. He hadn't worked directly with any of the other survivors – everyone from his department had been killed or... "lost" was the official term on the paperwork, but that was just Whitehall's euphemism for "converted." He vaguely remembered one meeting with all the other survivors where they'd been told of the dissolution of Torchwood One, received their severance packages and were made to sign stringent non-disclosure forms. No matter how hard he tried, Ianto couldn't summon up the memory of one face from the group – the matching expressions of numbness and despair had rendered them identical in his mind's eye.
Brendan's hand on his arm interrupted his macabre remembrances.
"You okay?" he asked softly.
Ianto nodded and cleared the lump from his throat. "Yeah, yeah, fine. Sorry. How've you been?"
"Good, things have been really good," he answered, his eyes darting to Ross who was now engaged in a friendly argument with Mark regarding football. Apparently Ross was a Leeds United supporter whilst Mark favoured Chelsea which had led to some good natured ribbing from both sides.
"I'm glad," Ianto said. He was also glad to find that he actually meant it – even if his gladness was tempered with a little 'what might have been' wistfulness. He cleared his throat again. "So I take it I no longer have to be worried about being badgered into accompanying you to Britt's wedding? Or are you two still a secret?"
Brendan chuckled. "You're safe. We're not hiding anything, we're just not advertising it either. Our families and close friends know and are fine with it and our sections don't overlap much at work. Like you said, no reason our private life needs to be public unless we want it to. And right now..." Brendan smiled. "We're good," he repeated softly.
Ianto held up his beer bottle in a salute and Brendan tapped it with his own in a toast. After they both took a drink, Brendan looked around the party.
"Didn't Jack come with you?" he asked.
Ianto grimaced and shook his head.
"You aren't still fighting, are you? That was weeks ago."
"We're working on it," Ianto said vaguely, hoping he spoke the truth.
Brendan shook his head regretfully. "I had a feeling you were downplaying it last time we talked. I should have let you talk instead of nattering on about Ross."
"Nonsense," Ianto said briskly. "Why don't we –" He broke off, swallowing hard.
"What's wrong?" Brendan asked, turning to glance over his shoulder where Ianto was staring.
Jamie had stepped away from the group to answer a peremptory knock on the door to the flat. The newest arrival to the party was standing in the open doorway, his broad shoulders and long coat almost filling the space completely.
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