- June 2nd, 2010
Jack was out of the car before Ianto could even hit the brakes. Greatcoat billowing dramatically, he bounded up the others, already waiting by the SUV. By the time Ianto parked and joined them on the curb, Jack was motioning to the (hopefully) empty warehouse that seemed to stretch on for miles. "Gwen," he said, "you and Ianto go around back. Look for anything out of place. Tosh and I will see if anyone's home."
Owen groaned. "Oh, Jack, don't tell me I'm--"
"Stay in the SUV," Jack told him. "Don't doze off. You're the backup we hopefully won't need." Owen huffed, but of course Jack only grinned in response. "Come on, let's go. And we'd better find something good, because you all interrupted my dinner."
With that, Jack strode off and Toshiko followed. Torch in hand, Ianto fell into step next to Gwen as they made their way around the curve of the building. It was comfortable, he thought, their strides matched, elbows almost brushing each other. He liked being paired with Gwen in the field. He glanced at her and found that she was already looking at him out of the corner of her eye.
"So," she said, cheerful, her gaze shifting to the barely lit path in front of them. Ianto shined his light into the shadows to one side. Just a dumpster. "I was having a nice evening in, wasn't I, just me. Rhys down at the pub. Then Tosh phoned. Rift Alert."
"Yep," Ianto replied, giving the 'p' a little pop in the hopes that would be final enough.
Gwen paused to look thoughtfully above them, but there was nothing there. "What were you doing, then, this evening?" she asked, casual but forced. Ianto closed his eyes, just briefly, and all of a sudden he felt that he'd been caught. Somehow, he'd known this was what she was after.
Instead of answering, though, Ianto turned on his comms. He thought he could see Gwen roll her eyes. "Nothing around the side. Still moving towards the back."
"Just a lot of dust in here," came Jack's voice over their earpieces. "I really hate dust."
"Nice try," Ianto answered, a little too quickly perhaps, "but we've all seen the Hub."
Gwen snickered, and Ianto thought he could hear Tosh's murmur something on the other end of the line. "I'm wounded," Jack said, but it was slightly more warm, personal. "Right. Keep checking in. Owen, get your feet off the dash."
As the comms went silent again, Ianto let his hand fall to his side. Let it rest right beside his gun, retrieved from the glove box of his car. He and Gwen continued to move as one. Apart from a concrete path and an occasional, rusted bit of metal to catch the light, there was nothing to be found.
"Only," Gwen started again, "you and Jack came in your car, and Jack said the alert interrupted dinner, so I thought..." He pointedly didn't look at her, hoping she'd not go on. She did. "Well, you're wearing your new suit."
"What?" Ianto asked, conscious of the fact that he was suddenly speaking in a low, strangled mumble. "it's not--"
"Expensive," she said. "Looks good. I thought so when you wore it the first time last week."
"It's not," he tried again, but this time he didn't know if he wanted to say it wasn't expensive or it wasn't new. And it was both, so he stopped. He ran his fingers through his hair, which probably made it stick up. That was a shame, considering the time he'd spent in the front of the mirror that afternoon. The memory brought with it a familiar little squeeze of nerves in his stomach. "Gwen..." His tongue felt thick, like he was speaking through mud. But he had no choice now, because a long time ago he'd given up lying to the team. He sighed. "Okay. We were at Eliza's."
“Wait. Ianto! Eliza’s? The posh French place? God, I can barely get Rhys to go out for a curry and Jack’s taking you to Eliza’s!”
“No,” he said slowly, keeping his voice even and low. He stole a glance at her but didn't linger. “You know Jack. Pizza and takeaways. Doesn’t even have a kitchen.”
For a moment, Gwen didn’t answer, then she gasped. At first Ianto thought she had found something, some movement in the darkness, but when he shone the light in her direction he saw only gap-toothed delight. “Oh, I always knew you were a catch.”
Without meaning to, Ianto felt himself smile. For some reason, that only made her look happier. She leaned into him, encircling his arm with hers and causing his torchlight to waver.
“I didn’t mean,” he started awkwardly, stopped. He cleared his throat. Looked down at his feet. “It’s not a secret. I don’t think it’s a secret. It’s just. Complicated.”
Gwen patted his arm. Slightly patronizingly, he thought. "Come on, Romeo," she said. "Let's finish up here and get you off to the rest of your date."
"I never said it was a date," he protested. Not that effective, considering, and maybe more than a little pathetic.
She only laughed and started off ahead.