The UNIT ball was in full swing and Ianto was having a wonderful time, much to his own surprise. The dancing lessons Lisa had long ago talked him into taking with her were serving him well, and he was proving a popular partner for many of the women whose own dates weren’t so proficient at the waltz and quickstep. Right now though, he was whirling Tosh around the floor yet again. He was aware that he was probably monopolising her company when there must surely be many other men awaiting their chance to dance with her, but he didn’t care. The petite Japanese woman was as light as a feather in his arms and a pure delight to dance with. The fact that she was also his best friend in the whole world just made it that much more fun as he dipped and twirled her. She looked happier than he’d seen her since before they’d had to send Tommy back into the past to face execution; all the more reason to dance with her as often as he possibly could.
Ianto didn’t even spare so much as a brief glance towards where Jack was sitting alone at their table, so he didn’t see the way his lover was watching them, his usual devil may care grin nowhere in sight. In fact Ianto had all but forgotten Jack was present until he and Tosh, both too out of breath to keep dancing any longer, returned to their seats for a rest and a badly needed drink.
“Having fun, are you?” Jack asked stiffly, from where he sat slouched in his chair, staring into the depths of the tumbler gripped tightly in his hand.
Ianto picked up his own glass and downed half his beer in a couple of big gulps before replying happily, “Yep! Best night out in a long time. Tosh is a fantastic dancer.”
“So are you!” Tosh grinned across the table at him, sipping her glass of white wine. “Until tonight, I had no idea you knew how to waltz and quickstep, never mind cha cha and jive.”
“Not much call for dancing in our job,” Ianto pointed out.
“True,” Tosh giggled, slightly tipsy. “Weevils don’t make good dance partners, no sense of rhythm. Excuse me while I go freshen up. I’ll be right back.”
Leaving her half-empty wine glass on the table, she wove her way between the tables surrounding the dance floor, heading for the ladies’ room.
“It’s good to see Tosh looking so happy,” Ianto said, smiling after her.
“Yeah. At least someone’s having a good time,” Jack muttered.
Ianto turned to frown at him. “I’d think you’d be happy for her; she’s been so down since what happened to Tommy. She deserves to have a bit of enjoyment in her life.”
“Of course I’m happy for her.”
Ianto raised on elegant eyebrow as he regarded Torchwood’s leader. “Really? Could’ve fooled me. Are you okay?”
“Yeah, it’ll take more than a half-hearted ‘I’m fine’ to convince me. You’re usually the first onto the dance floor and the last to leave, but I don’t think I’ve seen you out there once tonight.”
“I’m surprised you’ve even taken time to notice what I haven’t been doing.” Jack took a gulp of water and slumped down further into his chair.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“No, I want to know. What’s going on with you tonight? I thought you’d be dancing with everyone you could persuade onto the dance floor, but instead you’re just sitting here scowling into your glass of water like you wish you’d ordered something stronger. It’s not like you to sit out every dance.”
“Well I wouldn’t be, only it seems my dance partner would rather dance with everyone except me,” Jack snapped, sliding down in his seat another inch or two. If he went much further he’d slide right under the table, Ianto thought, amused. Then Jack’s words sunk in.
“Wait a minute; are you jealous?”
“What? Of course not,” Jack scoffed. “I don’t get jealous.”
“No, you are! You’re jealous because I’ve been dancing with Tosh!”
“Not just with Tosh,” Jack ground out. “I don’t think there’s one woman here, single or spoken for, that you haven’t taken for a spin around the dance floor!”
“That’s a bit hypocritical, isn’t it? Usually by this point in the evening you’d have danced with all the women, and half the men as well!”
“We’re not talking about me.”
“Oh, so it’s alright if you do it but not if I do? Might I remind you that on the way here you told us to mingle and make nice with the UNIT personnel? Well I’m just following your orders.”
“And apparently you’ve been so busy schmoozing you haven’t had time for a single dance with your partner.” Jack pouted sulkily.
“If it’s been bothering you that much, why haven’t you say something instead of just sitting here stewing in your own juices?”
“I was waiting for you to ask!”
“Why do I have to be the one to ask?”
“Because I had hoped you might actually WANT to dance with me.”
“I do, but again, let me remind you that you made it quite clear tonight was about building a better relationship with UNIT. I believe your exact words were ‘We’re here on business, not for our own pleasure’.”
“But even when you’re not making nice with UNIT, you’re off dancing with Tosh.”
“So you are jealous!”
“No! Maybe. Just a smidge.” Jack held up one hand, thumb and forefinger maybe a millimetre apart.
“Right.” Ianto stood up and held out his hand. “Dance with me?”
“What? Why not?”
“You wouldn’t have asked if I hadn’t said anything, so now you’re asking because you feel like you should, not because you want to,” Jack muttered sulkily.
“You are infuriating at times.” Ianto glared down at his lover. “Are you going to sit there moping all evening like a kid whose favourite toy has been taken away, or are you going to behave like an adult and dance with me? You’re not making a very good impression on the other guests.”
“Well, when you put it like that, I suppose I could have just one dance with you,” Jack said, sounding as if he was granting an undeserved favour
“Not the most gracious acceptance ever, but at this point I’ll take what I can get, especially if it stops you pouting,” Ianto said with a wry smile, taking Jack’s hand and leading him out onto the dance floor where a slow song was playing.
Tosh returned to an empty table, but that was okay; she wasn’t alone for long. There were plenty of willing partners who’d been waiting all night for the opportunity to ask her to dance.
As for Jack and Ianto, they didn’t have eyes for anyone else for the rest of the night.