All the team knew by now that Jack had an affinity for high places. If they couldn’t find him in the Hub, it was a safe bet he’d be on a rooftop somewhere; it was just a matter of finding out which one, and that was usually easy enough using Tosh’s locator program to track his wrist strap. The only time he took that thing off was when he was in the shower.
Tonight, Ianto came up from the archives to find the Hub deserted, the rest of the team having already left for the night. Considerately, Jack had left the lights on for him, but Torchwood’s leader wasn’t in his office, or waiting in his quarters. It took only moments to verify that he’d left the Hub, and since he would have informed Ianto if there’d been a Rift alert…
Gathering a few things together, Ianto set off to join his lover.
It was after ten at night and pitch dark out, the weather dry, the skies clear, and the temperature hovering around freezing. Ianto was glad he’d had the sense to change into warmer clothes before heading out; a suit was all very well, but not enough to stop the icy air from creeping in. Woven wool wasn’t a very effective windbreak. Jack would most likely be feeling the cold too, despite his heavy coat. Well, Ianto knew how to warm him up.
Jack’s chosen perch for the night was the roof of an office building near the centre of Cardiff. Ianto stopped at a couple of shops along the way before using a nifty piece of alien technology to let himself in through the back door. Once inside, he made sure the door had locked behind him and took the stairs up to the roof.
Jack was standing at the edge, looking out across the city. “What kept you?” he asked without turning his head. He knew no one but Ianto was likely to follow him; in fact, he’d been counting on his lover tracking him down. “I’ve been waiting for you.”
“Some of us have work; we can’t all just swan off to take in the view whenever we feel like it. And would it have killed you to leave a note telling me where you were going?”
“Where’d the fun be in that? I knew you’d figure it out. How come you were still working so late anyway? The Rift predictor said it would be a quiet night.”
“Yes, but it hasn’t been a quiet week. I had a backlog of paperwork waiting to be filed.”
“All work and no play…” Jack turned now to face Ianto, smiling at him. There was enough light from the three-quarter-moon overhead and the ambient light of the city that Ianto could see the teasing expression on Jack’s face.
“Nobody could ever accuse you of being a dull boy,” he replied, smiling back. “Why this roof?”
Jack turned away, gesturing at the city spread out below. “Check out the view.”
Crossing the roof, Ianto stood beside Jack, looking down. There were always lights to be seen at this time of night, but Ianto didn’t think he’d ever seen quite so many. It took him a moment to realise why; the municipal Christmas decorations were alight, twinkling gaily throughout the city centre. He scanned the surrounding area… There, the Christmas tree! This wasn’t the best angle to see it from, only one side was visible because of another building blocking his sightline, but even so it looked beautiful.
“When did they turn the lights on?”
“Last night. I was hoping we’d be able to watch this year, but…”
“We were busy dealing with that Hoix out Tremorfa way.” Ianto nodded; they missed the switch on every year because of one thing or another, just like most of the city’s other big events. That was life with Torchwood. “On the plus side, we can get to the best vantage points to see the lights in all their glory. Couldn’t you have found a roof with a better view of the tree though?”
Hands in his coat pockets, Jack shrugged. “I thought I had, but they put it in a different place than last year, and once I was up here I didn’t feel like going back down and trying another roof. This one’s nice.”
“Yeah.” Because of a taller building behind it, this roof was sheltered from the wind while still providing an impressive panoramic view. It was still cold though. “You hungry?”
“D’you really need to ask?”
Ianto laughed; Jack was the proverbial bottomless pit when it came to food and he’d never figured out whether that was down to fifty-first century genetics, Jack’s immortality, or greediness. “Not really, just seemed the polite thing to do. I got curry.”
“Oooh, good choice! Gimme!” Jack pulled gloved hands from his pockets and held them out, looking disappointed when the promised curry didn’t instantly materialise.
“It’s not going to suddenly appear out of mid air, Jack. I can do a few minor magic tricks, but I don’t have your curry up my sleeve.” Shaking his head at Jack’s pout, Ianto crossed the roof to the little shack at the top of the stairwell, where he’d left everything he’d bought with him. Jack trailed after him, and helped spread out a groundsheet made of alien fabric that would prevent the cold of the roof’s surface from seeping into them. Sitting on it, they leant their backs against the wall and Ianto spread a couple of lightweight but warm blankets over their legs before opening something resembling a cooler which, augmented by alien tech as it was, had been keeping their food piping hot since Ianto had bought it. A spicy aroma filled the air as they opened the takeaway containers and started to eat. Neither of them spoke until the food was gone and they were relaxing with hot coffee poured from the flask Ianto had brought with him.
“Nothing like hot curry on a cold night,” Jack noted. “I can feel the heat from it right down to the tips of my toes.”
“That might be the thermal blankets,” Ianto replied, a slight smirk on his lips.
“Nope,” Jack disagreed. “Definitely the curry, it warms the places nothing else can reach. This was a good idea; don’t think I’ve ever had a rooftop picnic in winter before.”
“Seriously?” Ianto raised an eyebrow. “The amount of time you spend on rooftops, I would have thought you’d have done everything that could be done on one at least twice.”
“I could tell you a few stories,” Jack said with a wicked grin and a wink.
“You have already; many times.” Despite his eye roll, Ianto sounded amused.
“Ah, but I haven’t told you all of my stories yet.” Jack waggled his eyebrows, drawing a snort of laughter from his lover.
Jack didn’t reply, just draped his arm around Ianto’s shoulders and pulled him so they were leaning against each other, looking up at the sky.
“It’s a beautiful night,” Ianto murmured.
“Mm. Probably be frost everywhere by morning if the wind drops. We’ll wake up to a winter wonderland, everywhere sparkling like the Christmas lights.”
“Assuming we actually get to bed tonight,” Ianto said through a yawn.
Jack checked his watch. It was almost midnight; where had the time gone? “Nice though this is, it’s maybe not the best place to spend the night, especially with the possibility of frost. Besides, even with the ground sheet and blankets, the roof’s not very comfortable for sleeping on. It’s too hard.”
“Agreed. We should probably make a move; there’s a nice comfy bed at my place, and the heating’s turned up. Whoever invented thermostats controlled from your phone is a genius and should probably be awarded a medal for services to humanity.”
“Tosh is still sore that she didn’t come up with idea first,” Jack grinned.
“Even Tosh can’t think up all the brilliant ideas. She has to leave a few for lesser mortals, otherwise it wouldn’t be fair.” Ianto gathered up their rubbish, put the empty flask in a bag, and started to fold the blankets. “Maybe we could come up here another night, or find a roof with a better view of the tree,” he suggested.
“We could do that.” Jack scrambled to his feet and helped Ianto roughly fold the ground sheet. “As long as the weather stays dry. It wouldn’t be much fun in the wet; we’d get rain in our curry.”
“We’d also get soaked and most likely frozen into the bargain.”
“That too.” Jack crammed the ground sheet into a bag. “How did you carry all this up here by yourself?”
“Everything was folded better than it is now,” Ianto replied with a wry grin, indicating the blankets oozing out of another bag. “At least now I’ve got someone to help carry it all back to the Hub.”
“Hm, well, you did bring me curry, so I guess I owe you at least that much.” Jack picked up the hot box and one of the bags. “Lead the way, that I may follow!”
“You just want me to open all the doors for you.”
“I’ve got my hands full.”
“You don’t say.” Ianto took one last look out across the city with its twinkling Christmas decorations then opened the stairwell door, leaving Jack to close and lock it. Maybe if they came back another night he could bring his camera; a bird’s eye view of the decorations would make for a lovely Christmas card.