The weather was glorious for a change, blue skies and sunshine, hot but not unbearably so, and with a pleasant breeze to take the edge off. As the Rift seemed to have decided to take a break for a few days, Jack had told the team to get out of the Hub and enjoy the good weather while it lasted, because if he’d learned anything since settling in Cardiff, it was that you couldn’t count on sunshine and warmth in summer. You were just as likely to get cold winds and torrential rain.
Ianto had stayed behind after the others had left, seeing to the needs of the Hub’s other residents. Although it was quite a bit cooler in the subterranean base than it was outside in the sunshine, it was still considerably warmer than usual, the heat having seeped in through the opening for the invisible lift, so he needed to make sure their guests were comfortable and had enough to drink before he headed out for a few hours.
By the time he was ready to leave, however, Jack had vanished. Ianto checked all his boss’s usual hidey-holes within the Hub before concluding that Jack had left without him. Charming. Still, it took a matter of minutes to track his missing lover, using one of Tosh’s computer programs to home in on Jack’s wrist strap. It didn’t come as much of a surprise to learn that Jack had taken himself off to one of his favourite rooftops. Ianto considered phoning the other man, but decided it might be quicker just to go up there himself; then he could drag Jack back down and they could do something nice with their time off, maybe go to the beach or one of Cardiff’s parks.
Slipping into more comfortable and casual shorts and t-shirt, Ianto packed the cooler with soft drinks and a picnic lunch, grabbed the sunscreen and a couple of towels, put on his sunglasses, and set off for the roof Jack had chosen.
Getting inside the building in question was simple during business hours since the doors were unlocked to let the people who worked there go in and out. Ianto rode the lift to the top floor, then took the stairs up to the roof. Like Jack, he carried a nifty little alien device that would unlock most doors, but this time he found he didn’t need it; the roof access door was conveniently propped open. Stepping through, he looked around at a roof transformed. Clearly a lot of work had been done since the last time he was there, although just as clearly the transformation wasn’t complete yet. Plants and trees in tubs were scattered everywhere and there was even a small pond, but there were also stacks of lumber, for decking that had yet to be built.
Ianto found Jack around the other side of the little building that housed the stairwell. Shirtless and stretched out on his back on a patch of artificial grass in the shade, and with his eyes closed, he looked more relaxed than Ianto had seen him in weeks. Walking over to him, Ianto nudged Jack’s foot with the toe of his trainer.
“You do know that you’re supposed to lie in the sun to sunbathe, don’t you? You’re not going to get much of a tan lying in the shade.”
Jack cracked open an eye and gave Ianto a withering look. “I’m not sunbathing; I’m basking. There’s a difference.”
“Which would be?”
“That I’m enjoying the warmth without trying to get a tan. This is more comfortable than slowly cooking in the sun, and anyway, the breeze is better here.” Opening his other eye as well, Jack looked lazily up at Ianto. “Care to join me? There’s plenty of room.” He indicated the fake grass beside him with a languid wave of one hand. “I saved you a good spot.”
“Seriously? You want to spend the day up here basking instead of going to the park or the beach?”
“Why not? The parks and beaches will be crowded with tourists as well as locals, and the roads are most likely jammed with people trying to get out of town. Up here, we have the place to ourselves. There’s grass of a sort, and trees and flowers, but no screaming children, barking dogs, or loud radios. Be honest; isn’t this better?”
When Jack put it that way, Ianto had to admit he had a point.
“I suppose you’re right. So where is everyone? I would’ve thought people would be up here during their breaks, taking advantage of the weather and enjoying the view.”
Jack managed to shrug lying down. “It’s Saturday. Construction crew doesn’t work weekends, and the roof garden won’t be open to staff from the offices downstairs until it’s finished because it’s not considered safe. Someone might trip over a plank and fall.” That last comment was spoken with deep sarcasm as Jack looked towards the neatly stacked, covered, and tied down decking materials. Whoever was doing the work had left everything so tidy that tripping on anything and falling would have been nigh on impossible. You’d have to be a terminally clumsy person to get so much as a splinter. “Works in our favour though; we can enjoy the weather in peace and solitude for as long as we want with no chance of being disturbed.”
“There’s that,” Ianto agreed. “Okay, sold; basking in the shade of the roof garden it is. The Honeysuckle smells nice,” he added, sniffing appreciatively as he set the cooler in the deepest patch of shade. He slid the backpack off his shoulder and dumped it on the ground, opening it to remove one of the towels, which he spread out on the artificial turf beside Jack. Yawning he stretched out on his back and closed his eyes. With no chance of getting trampled by kids or dogs, and plenty of shade to prevent sunburn, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to take a nap. Maybe Jack was on to something with this whole basking lark; it would be silly not to at least give it a try. It occurred to Ianto that after running around like a mad thing all week, perhaps the best way to spend his unexpected day off might be to do nothing much at all, and there might never be a better opportunity than this to test his theory. As a man dedicated to gaining knowledge, he intended to give this experiment his best shot.