Lying together panting in the afterglow of vigorous post-weevil hunting sex, Ianto’s head rested on Jack’s chest while Jack combed his fingers lightly through his lover’s soft curls. He loved the springy texture. Twisting slightly, he brushed a few stray strands off Ianto’s sweaty forehead before pressing a kiss there.
“Getting a bit long, isn’t it?” Ianto mumbled sleepily. “I should probably get it cut.”
“Mmmm.” Jack wasn’t really listening, he felt boneless, relaxed, and pleasantly drowsy. Ianto really was very good at wearing him out, but in a way, Jack enjoyed the aftermath even more than the sex itself. There was such intimacy and trust involved in snuggling together after the passion and urgency had passed, like a raging river that reaches a quiet pool. He felt like he was floating and nothing in the universe mattered more to him than the man half-dozing in his arms. Still smiling contentedly, he drifted off to sleep.
The following day, the Rift was having one of its periodic quiet spells, so Ianto popped up to Jack’s office to tell him he planned on running a few errands while he wasn’t needed for anything of more earth shaking importance.
“Got anything for dry cleaning?”
“Couple of pairs of trousers, I’ll go get them. Oh, and there’s a pair I left at yours.”
“No problem, I’ve got to swing by my place to pick up my suits for cleaning anyway. Want me to bring back anything for lunch?”
Jack shook his head. “While things are quiet I thought we’d indulge ourselves and have lunch out.”
“Sounds good. Why don’t we meet at that little café off the Plas at about one?”
“It’s a date.” Jack handed Ianto the items for dry cleaning and leant in for a quick kiss, playfully tugging the ends of his lover’s hair. “Have fun!”
“Running errands isn’t something I’d class as fun,” Ianto replied, shaking his head. “It’s an unavoidable necessity, we’d have no food or clean clothes otherwise. See you later.”
Stopping off at his apartment on his way to town, Ianto collected his and Jack’s dry cleaning. While he was there, he grabbed a couple of books to return to the library, and compiled a quick shopping list, then headed back out to his car. He made a brief stop outside the cleaners to drop off the laundry and pick up the previous load, before driving to the library, where he spent a pleasant twenty minutes choosing something new to read. Then it was off to Asda; he could leave his car in the supermarket car park while he finished up the last few tasks on his list, then do the shopping.
On his way back to the supermarket after paying bills, Ianto spotted the unisex hair salon across the street and remembered his and Jack’s conversation the previous night. He checked his watch; it was only eleven thirty, he should have plenty of time for shopping after he got his hair cut, and still be able to get to the café by one, so he crossed the road and went inside. Might as well get another job out of the way while he was here; it would save trying to fit it in later in the week when things at Torchwood might be a lot busier.
Half an hour later, hair freshly cut and feeling much more presentable, Ianto made his way to Asda and got on with the shopping. He knew it was silly, personal grooming was important to him at all times, but now he was confident that he looked his best for his and Jack’s lunch date.
The supermarket checkout queues were far longer than he’d anticipated, so he was a bit pushed for time when he finally got back to his car and loaded everything into the boot. But he had perishables that needed to go in the fridge and freezer as soon as possible, so he called Jack and told him he might be a few minutes late.
“Sorry, I think half of Cardiff decided to shop in Asda today,” he apologised. “The queues were a mile long.”
“It’s fine, I’ll just stroll on over and wait for you. Don’t rush on my account; it’s too nice a day to be rushing anywhere.”
“Now you tell me, after I’ve spent all morning in a mad rush to get things done,” Ianto joked. “Don’t start without me.” Hanging up, he started the car and drove home.
Once he had all the shopping stowed in its proper places, Ianto changed into a fresh shirt and checked his appearance in the mirror. Immaculate. Satisfied, he made sure he’d got keys, phone, and wallet, locked up behind him, and set off for the café.
Jack was sitting at one of the outside tables sipping from a glass of water when Ianto arrived at one twenty.
“Have you been waiting long?” Ianto asked as he slid into the chair opposite.
Jack smiled at him. “Only five minutes or so. Well, maybe ten. Who’s counting?” Then his face clouded over. “You got your hair cut.” He sounded strangely disappointed.
“Of course I did.” Ianto looked across at Jack, puzzled. “I said last night that it needed cutting, and you agreed with me.”
“No I didn’t.” Jack frowned at Ianto. “I remember you saying it was getting a bit long, but I like it like that. It’s so much nicer to run my fingers through. Can’t really do that when you get it clipped so short.”
“Why didn’t you tell me that before?”
“I thought you knew.”
Ianto sighed. “Looks like we got our wires crossed again. I think we need to work on our communication skills. Tell you what, next time my hair gets to a length you like, tell me and I’ll try to keep it like that, at least for a while.”
“You’d do that for me?”
“As long as I still look presentable. I just always thought you liked it short. It’s easier to manage like this. Sometimes I wish I had straight hair.”
“I like that it curls,” Jack said with a smile. “Makes it soft and springy. Straight hair is boring, it just sort of hangs there, not really doing anything.”
“Good, we suit each other then. A perfect match.”
“You think I’m weird?”
“Of course.” Jack winked. “All the best people are. It’s your little quirks that make you unique and different from everyone else.” Jack’s tone turned serious. “They make you special.”
“I’m hungry.” Ianto picked up his menu, trying to hide his faint blush of pleasure behind it. There was a time, growing up, when he’d been picked on and even bullied because of his ‘quirks’, as Jack called them, but that Jack thought they made him special… It wasn’t quite a declaration of love, but it came pretty close and it filled Ianto with a warm glow. “What’re you having?”
“I’m leaning towards a steak sandwich. The ones they make here are really good.”
“They are, I think I’ll join you.” Ianto smiled at his lover. Although he didn’t say it out loud, he decided Jack was rather special too.