Feeling the bed moving beneath him, Ianto stirred and opened one eye sleepily.
“Good morning, gorgeous!” Jack beamed down at him.
“I think you might need your eyes testing, Jack. First thing in the morning I look anything but gorgeous,” Ianto chuckled, yawning and stretching luxuriously. He didn’t think he’d ever get tired of waking up beside Jack in their bed.
“You never look less than gorgeous to me,” Jack told him sincerely. “Not even last night, when we were both covered in mud and that disgusting slime.”
“Oh, don’t remind me! I thought we’d never get it out of our hair. I’m so glad you insisted we change into our scruffs before tracking down that thing. What time is it?” He reached lazily past Jack, fumbling for the clock. He didn’t remember hearing the alarm go off.
“Don’t know exactly,” Jack replied, taking the opportunity provided to have a quick nibble on Ianto’s neck. “Somewhere between 9.30 and 10 I think.”
Ianto sat up so fast that Jack slid off the bed, landing on his arse. He looked up at Ianto with his best pout.
“What was that for?”
“We’re late for work!”
“No we’re not, we have the day off. I told you last night, didn’t I?”
“Ummm, no? I’m pretty sure I would’ve remembered if you’d said anything like that.”
“Really? Damn, I was so sure I’d told you. Must’ve slipped my mind in all the running and slipping and general sliminess. Anyway, I told the others we were taking today off and not to disturb us unless the world was in imminent danger of ending.”
“Why take a day off now? With the Rift acting up, everyone’s needed.”
“It’s your birthday.”
Ianto’s eyes went comically wide.
“Is it?” He grabbed his watch, checking the date display. “Oh. It is. I thought that wasn’t until next week.”
“It is next week.”
“Huh? Where did the weekend go?”
“Damned if I know. I’ll let you know if I ever figure it out,” Jack grinned. “It’s a good thing I wasn’t relying on you to keep track of the date.”
That got him hit over the head with a pillow.
“So, my birthday, huh?” Ianto was a lot more awake now. “Do we have plans?”
“Indeed we do.” Jack leaned over and kissed the tip of Ianto’s nose. “First I plan to thoroughly ravish you, then when we’ve recovered from that there will be a leisurely breakfast. And that’s just the beginning.”
Jack was as good as his word and an hour later, Ianto was feeling very thoroughly and pleasurably ravished.
Sprawled together in a sweaty tangle, luxuriating in the afterglow and unwilling to move for the moment, they were interrupted by Ianto’s stomach growling loudly, answered almost immediately by Jack’s. Both men cracked up. When they finally stopped laughing, Jack scrambled over Ianto and off the bed.
“I think that’s my cue to fetch your birthday breakfast.”
“What’re we having?”
“You’ll see in a minute.” Jack winked, and stark naked, strolled out of their bedroom. Ianto took the opportunity to straighten out the bed so that at least they wouldn’t have to sit on lumps of bedding. There was nothing that could be done about the wet patches though, short of stripping the bed. Shrugging, he settled himself in the driest patch he could find to wait for breakfast.
It didn’t take long for Jack to return, carrying a tray laden with plates of fresh chocolate croissants from their favourite little bakery, dishes of strawberries and cream, and tall glasses of ice cold, freshly squeezed orange juice. Coffee would have to wait until later; Jack knew better than to use the coffee machine without supervision, at least until Ianto decided that his training was complete and he could consider himself a qualified barista.
After breakfast came the gifts, which Jack had cunningly hidden underneath the drawer at the bottom of the wardrobe. It meant Jack had to remove the drawer completely in order to get them, but Ianto had to admit he would never have stumbled across them by accident.
First was Ianto’s favourite picture of the two of them, enlarged and set in a simple silver and ebony frame. Ianto knew immediately exactly where he was going to hang it. Next there were cufflinks — silver of course, set with deep red Almandine Garnets — and a silk tie in the same rich red to match. The last parcel contained a luxurious dark red silk robe with a black lining, almost decadent in its elegance. Ianto slipped in on and posed for Jack to admire him.
“Perfect! The moment I saw it, I knew it was made for you.”
Leaning over, Ianto kissed Jack thoroughly.
“Thank you, I love everything.”
“Good, I’m glad. Now, go shower. Dress casually, I have more plans.”
They stopped by the Hub briefly to pick up an unmarked SUV with tinted windows. Jack installed Ianto in the passenger seat, loaded their picnic supplies in the rear and then dashed off into the main Hub, saying he needed to collect something.
Ianto was a little concerned when he saw what it was.
“Jack, are you sure that’s wise?”
“It’ll be fine. Where we’re going is very secluded, miles from anywhere.”
Jack wasn’t kidding. They started out on main roads, then minor roads, finally turning off onto a narrow, winding lane that proceeded to get narrower still until it was little more than a track. Jack drove until they arrived at a heavy, padlocked gate, which blocked their path a little way ahead. Jumping from the driver’s seat, he approached the gate, unlocking it and swinging it open. Despite its appearance, the hinges were well oiled so that it opened smoothly and silently. As soon as the gap was wide enough, Jack returned to the SUV, driving through and getting out once more to shut and lock the gate securely behind them.
“What is this place?”
“An old Torchwood compound; used to be used for testing extraterrestrial weapons and captured spacecraft. Hasn’t been used for anything like that since I took over, but we still sort of own it and as it’s well fenced off we can have complete privacy here.”
Driving onwards beneath overhanging trees and between bushes so overgrown that they almost brushed the sides of the SUV, they came at last to a wide, sun drenched meadow, full of wildflowers and butterflies. It was beautiful.
Ianto slid out of the passenger seat and walked slowly out across the grass, gazing around in wonder before returning to help Jack unload the SUV.
“This is amazing! How come I’ve never heard of it? I thought I was familiar with all of Torchwood’s holdings.”
“To be honest, I’d forgotten about it myself until I started looking for a suitably secluded spot. There are no records of it, at least not in any Torchwood files. It’s listed among the holdings of a company that doesn’t really exist, but ultimately, it belongs to the crown.”
They carried their picnic basket, blanket and other supplies over to a tall oak tree that stood at the edge of the meadow, laying everything out in the shade. Digging in a bag, Jack pulled out Frisbees and a ball.
“How about a game before lunch? Work up an appetite.”
His suggestion was greeted with enthusiasm and the next hour was spent playing Frisbee and chasing butterflies. Finally worn out, they flopped down in the middle of the field in the hot sunshine, laying back and resting their heads on the warm, soft mound behind them.
“This was a brilliant idea,” Ianto murmured contentedly, “I’m glad you thought of it.”
“See? I do have good ideas sometimes,” Jack beamed.
The mound beneath their heads vibrated as Nosy hummed agreement.
The rest of the afternoon and early evening passed in the slow, lazy way summer afternoons were designed for.
While Ianto and Jack ate their picnic lunch, Nosy frolicked and grazed in the lush, green grass, poked about among the bushes, and tried to play with the wild rabbits, which proved less than successful despite its persistence. Finally giving up, it slithered over to them, picking up a Frisbee and looking hopeful until they gave in.
As the sun started to slip behind the trees that bordered their meadow, Ianto packed up the remains of their lunch while Jack gathered everything else. Loading everything, including Nosy, back into the SUV, they headed for home.
Back in Cardiff, they dropped Nosy off at the Hub, stopping again briefly to pick up fish and chips for dinner before returning to their flat. Lunch seemed to have been a very long time ago and both men were ravenous.
For dessert, Jack produced a deliciously decadent birthday cake, chocolate sponge with a coffee flavoured buttercream filling and coffee icing. It tasted even better than in looked and they were well and truly stuffed by the time they finished eating.
Snuggled together on the couch watching a movie, Jack turned his head to kiss Ianto gently.
“Happy Birthday. I hope you enjoyed today.”
“I did, Jack, very much. Thank you.”
Smiling contentedly, they returned their attention to the movie.
They never did see the end, both of them falling asleep on the couch half way through, pleasantly worn out from the fresh air and exercise.
And back at the Hub, Nosy coiled up in its bunk and slept just as deeply as its human friends, dreaming happy dreams of rabbits and butterflies.