No one knew where Gwen every got her ‘brilliant” ideas from. But once she decided on something, getting her to change her mind was like trying to get Myfanwy to relinquish a steak bone. Make that a hungry Myfanwy with a meaty steak bone.
Mid November, Gwen decided since Jack was American (well sort of) that the Torchwood Team should celebrate Thanksgiving together.
“Oh, it will be such fun,” she gushed, “and think how happy it will make Jack.”
Owen rolled his eyes while Ianto snarked, “I wonder what the turkeys looked like on Boeshane?”
“You know, you are just a bunch of party poopers. You need to remember your humanity, and Thanksgiving is the perfect time to do so.”
“Yeah, much more humane than cheating on your boyfriend and then retconning him,” Tosh murmured under her breath.
“Now, I’ve gone on the Interwebs and found sites with traditional Thanksgiving menus. I’ve printed out all the recipes so it should be easy. I even have pictures to help you see what the final product will look like. I’ll make the Turkey, and there are three side dishes for you to make, baked sweet potatoes, cranberry relish and pumpkin pie. So who wants to do what?”
Owen sighed. Gwen could be such a pain, but sometimes it was easier to just go along and humor her than to try to convince her that she was absolutely bonkers. “Oi, I’ll take the cranberry relish,” he volunteered. Gwen smiled at him with her large doe-like eyes and handed him a recipe. He looked at it and blanched, “She’s got to be kidding. Does she really think I’m going to buy fresh cranberries and stew them and add all this other shite? There’s got to be an easier way.”
Ianto and Tosh stared at each other and shrugged. “Ok, I’ll do the sweet potatoes,” Ianto finally replied. “And I guess that means that I’m doing the pumpkin pie,” Tosh added glumly.
Jack walked into the conference room that very moment and Gwen couldn’t wait to tell him all about the Thanksgiving dinner that she, Gwen Cooper, the heart and soul of Torchwood had planned (and bullied the others into) for Jack. Jack seemed genuinely pleased, which made the rest of the team feel a little better about the whole thing.
“I was so looking forward to a quiet day at home next Thursday if the rift didn’t act up,” thought Ianto. “ My one day off this month and now I’m making baked sweet potatoes. Then again, how hard could that be?”
“I’ll bring the wine,” Jack offered. “Now who is making the stuffing?” Everyone stared at Gwen.
“I guess I am,” she said pouting a bit. After all, it was her idea; the least the others could do was pitch in and do their share. “Rhys and I will be expecting you promptly at 7 PM on Thanksgiving, rift allowing and we’ll all have a lovely dinner together.”
Jack beamed. He just loved it when his team worked together on projects. “This is fantastic everyone. I haven’t had a real old fashioned Thanksgiving since the 1950s. I’m really looking forward to it.”
* * *
A few days later Jack asked Ianto if he bought everything for the sweet potato pie. “I’ve bought the sweet potatoes; I’ll bake them Thursday morning, with a little butter and cinnamon, no big deal. We can reheat them in the microwave at Gwen’s.”
“No, no,” cried Jack. “That’s not right at all.” He began to regale Ianto with a description of a hideous sounding concoction of baked sweet potatoes and marshmallow fluff among other things.
“Oh Duw, the things I do for the man I love. Marshmallow fluff, I’m not even sure what that is, but it sounds absolutely disgusting. Still if it’s what Jack wants, I don’t want to disappoint him,” Ianto mused.
The next day while Ianto sat in the tourist office he googled sweet potato pie and found a recipe for what he was sure Jack was thinking of.
“It even looks vile, but it’s not hard to make,” Ianto concluded with a little relief.
** * *
Tosh looked at the pie recipe a couple days ahead of time. “Where the hell am I going to find a real pumpkin? She’s daft, Gwen is truly daft. I’ll just have to improvise.”
Meanwhile Gwen had purchased a turkey. Not a pristine store bought turkey but a turkey from a real farm that had them fresh. Ok, there were still a few pin feathers here and there, but it was a real turkey just like Jack would be used to.
On Thanksgiving Day everyone was at Gwen and Rhy’s a little before 7 PM. The rift had been relatively quiet all week which allowed everyone to leave the Hub a bit early and stop at home to pick up their assigned food projects.
Gwen was busy putting the finishing touches on the table (orange crepe paper and Turkey centerpieces are not so easy to find in Cardiff, you know) and asked that Ianto warm up the sweet potatoes, and gave Owen a fancy glass bowl for the cranberry sauce. Tosh put the pumpkin pie on the counter.
Jack brought several bottles of nice white Bordeaux which they opened
immediately. Gwen had even made a lovely salad as a starter for everyone. As they ate the salad and drank the Bordeaux, Gwen announced that during dinner everyone should take turns and say what they were thankful for. Owen groaned, Tosh grimaced, and Ianto silently prayed that the dinner wouldn’t last too long.
When it came time for the meal to be served Gwen brought out the beautifully cooked turkey. Rhys helped by bringing out the cranberries and sweet potato
Gwen thought she would faint. “What the hell was this stuff that everyone brought? It’s grotesque; my lovely, fabulous Thanksgiving dinner for Jack is ruined.”
Instead of lovely healthy sweet potatoes, Ianto had brought a casserole that looked like it was topped with… “Ianto, what is that on top of the sweet potatoes?”
Jack was beaming with pure joy as Ianto announced, “Its marshmallow fluff with some extra marshmallow’s for good measure.” Owen snickered.
“Ok, go ahead and snicker,” Ianto pouted, “what the hell is it that you brought?” Gwen smiled, at least Ianto agreed with her on this one.
“I’ll have you know I found this at an American grocer’s. Its cranberry sauce, just like Gwen asked.”
“Owen….” Gwen started to admonish him, when Jack interrupted.
“This is fantastic, just fantastic.” I told Ianto about the casserole I remembered from years ago and he went through the trouble just for me.” He leaned over and kissed Ianto’s cheek. “And Owen, you went to all that trouble to find the cranberry sauce I remember so fondly. I remember one year someone served these horrid little berries; not the nice smooth mold I remember. Speaking of mold, I should have thought of this, but we also used to have this mold of some type of gelatin and coleslaw.”
Rhys got up from the table. “I almost forgot. I saw that online and thought it looked interesting. Since I had some extra time yesterday, I went and made it. It was quite easy.” Rhys went to the refrigerator and brought out the mold. Jack was so excited he was almost bouncing on his heels.
Jack looked over and saw that Gwen looked put out. “And look at that exquisite bird; Gwen you’ve really outdone yourself.”
Preening, Gwen replied, “I went out to an organic farm and got one fresh. None of that store bought frozen ones.”
They served up the food and everyone dug in.
“So what are we all thankful for?” Gwen asked. No one said anything. “Ok then, I’ll start. I’m thankful that I have my darling Rhys.”
“Really,” Tosh thought, “she is a piece of work. Sleeps with Owen, tries to shag Jack and then goes on about Rhys. Tramp.”
Ianto thought it was best to just get this nonsense over with. “Well, I’m grateful for having survived the Battle of Canary Wharf and finding a wonderful lover," he said smiling at Jack. He put a piece of stuffing in his mouth. It didn’t taste right at all. He discretely spit it out into his napkin.
“Who’s he talking about?” thought Gwen cluelessly.
Rhys spoke next. “I’m grateful that we’ve survived another year and that Gwen and I are getting married in a few months.”
Owen was feeling a bit light headed which was never a good thing where his mouth was concerned. “I’m glad to be living in Cardiff, where the beer is cheap and the women are easy,” he snarked as he looked over his glass at Gwen. Ianto and Tosh almost choked on their food.
Tosh realized that she and Jack were the only ones left. As she looked at her plate she started, “I’m every so thankful that Jack got me out of a very tight spot some time ago.” She looked up at Jack and everyone saw she had tears in her eyes.
“Wow, she’s still really strung out about those cannibals,” Gwen concluded.
Jack stood up and spit a few pin feathers out of his mouth. “I’m grateful for us all being together as a team. And for this dinner — it brings back a lot of memories. Really good memories.”
“Finally, I should also add that with the addition of someone very special to our team this year, my personal life has become better than it has in a long time. I’ve decided I’d like to make our arrangement permanent.”
Gwen was startled to hear Jack say that in front of everyone. “Oh goodness, he’s going to declare his love for me in front of everyone, in front of Rhys. I’ll have to retcon poor Rhys again.”
In fact,” Jack continued, I’m going to propose right now.” Tosh squealed while Owen snorted at this announcement.
“Poor Rhys, he’s going to be so heart-broken,” Gwen thought.
Jack got down on one knee, but Gwen was puzzled why he was still at his chair and not next to her. “Ianto, I know when we started seeing each other we agreed that we would keep things casual. But over the last months, my feelings for you have grown. If you’re amenable, I’d like to change our agreement and make our arrangement exclusive and permanent. What do you think?”
Ianto looked gob smacked, but managed to blurt out, “YES! I’m mean I’d like that too.” Ianto had turned almost as red as the cranberry sauce. Tosh giggled and even Owen had to admit that they made a nice couple.
Jack pulled a small box out of his pocket opened it and slid a plain gold ring onto Ianto’s hand. “I figured we could get a civil commitment or whatever done sometime this week and you could all attend.”
Gwen burst into tears. “Oh Gwen, you are such a romantic, you always cry at weddings,” Rhys said sympathetically.
Tosh smiled to herself. “Guess you’re stuck with Mr. Truck Driver instead of Mr. Action Hero. And even he’s too good for you.”
Gwen managed to compose herself and went and got dessert. The pumpkin pie didn’t look anything like the picture she gave Tosh. This was another gelatinous mess. “I saw her smirking at me when I was crying; I’ll give her what for.”
“Tosh darling, what is this, it’s….”
“It’s pumpkin pie,” Jack yelled. “Real pumpkin pie, from a can, nice and orange and wiggly, not that yellow shite you get if you make it from scratch.”
Gwen wisely closed her mouth. And not just because she looked like a gasping bug-eyed fish.
“This is just an amazing dinner. I can’t remember when I’ve been so happy.”
“That’s wonderful Jack,” Tosh said smiling as she looked straight at Gwen. “Gwen really is the one who thought about making you this Thanksgiving dinner to make you happy.”
“Thank you Gwen, that was so sweet of you,” Jack acknowledged. “Without you doing this, I might never have gotten the courage up to propose to Ianto.”
Gwen began to sob again.
They ate the pumpkin pie and then began to help Gwen and Rhys clean up.
Owen had been fairly quiet all evening. For some reason, as the evening progressed, he started to not feel very well. He wasn’t sure, but it seemed liked the stuffing was a bit off. “Wonder if there was spice in it that’s not agreeing with me.”
“Gwen, what was in the stuffing you served? I think I might be having an allergic reaction to something.”
“Stuffing?” Gwen replied. “Oh that was already stuffed in the bird when I got it.”
Owen turned green. “It was a fresh bird, right?”
Gwen nodded her eyes as big as saucers.
“Shite Gwen, a fresh bird doesn’t come already stuffed!”
Gwen paled a bit. “What does that mean?” she said turning to Rhys.
“Sweetheart,” Rhys said as calmly as he could, “that means you served us the entrails of the turkey.”
Owen ran for the bathroom. Tosh covered her mouth. She hadn’t eaten any stuffing, but she was having difficulty keeping herself from bursting out laughing. Ianto was grateful that he had spit out his first taste. Rhys felt sick and suddenly ran for the kitchen sink.
Jack just smiled. “You know on Fraxilonto 7, bird entrails are considered a great delicacy.”
Gwen smiled weakly.
“Actually, they take the entrails….” Jack tried to continue.
Ianto interrupted. “Jack darling.”
“DON'T say another word, not one more word.”
Jack looked at Ianto feeling a little hurt.
Ianto wasn’t trying to be mean, he just really didn’t want to get sick. “Jack,” he said seductively, “I don’t want you to say anything because we need to get going home so I can thank you properly for the ring.”
Jack smiled. “Gwen, gotta go, things to do, weevils to chase. Dinner was fantastic! Can’t wait to do it again next year.”
As Ianto and Jack went to leave the flat, Ianto looked back at Gwen. Ianto was fully aware of Gwen’s feelings about Jack but he had always been very careful to give no indication that he knew or how he felt about it. But just this once, he wanted to savor the thrill of victory.
“Thanks so much Gwen. I couldn’t think of a better way or place for Jack and me to celebrate our engagement. We’ll let you know the date and time for our little commitment ceremony next week.” Ianto smirked, turned around and left the flat with Jack.
Owen staggered out of the bathroom groaning. Tosh grabbed him by the arm. “Sorry Gwen, got to get Owen home before he gets sick again.”
Gwen could hear Tosh and Owen laughing hysterically as they walked out of the building.
Gwen put her head down on the table and began to sob again. Rhys came back into the dining room moments later. “Oh, don’t cry Gwen, it was an honest mistake.”
“You don’t think I’m a total git?” She sniffed and wiped her eyes.
“Of course not sweetheart.” Gwen smiled. She got up to continue cleaning up from the dinner.
“No Gwen,” Rhys thought, “I’m the git. After all, I still love you even after your affair with Owen, your mooning after Jack and your generally selfish and self absorbed attitude. God help me, but I’d forgive you anything short of murder.”
Rhys sighed. He got up from the table and went to help Gwen in the kitchen.