The sky was clearing now that the rain had finally stopped, a brisk wind tearing the clouds to tatters, scattering them to reveal a pale, clear, eggshell blue sky that was already deepening to cobalt as the last streamers of vapour were whisked away from the upper atmosphere. There were more clouds on the distant horizon, but for the moment the dreary, wet weather Cardiff had been labouring under for the last few weeks was abating. It was about time; summer was supposed to be warm and sunny, not cold and wet and dismal. Having to wear winter woollies in August was just wrong.
Playful gusts of wind tugged at Ianto’s hair and clothes, and he gazed longingly upwards at the wide-open expanse of the sky. It was perfect flying weather, and here he was, stuck on the ground. He huffed annoyance; some days having to be human was a pain, but he could hardly change into his crow form when he was running errands. He’d never be able to carry everything.
He’d already picked up the dry cleaning, taken a pair of Jack’s boots to the cobblers to be re-heeled, and now he was laden with shopping from ASDA, lugging it back to where he’d parked, way over at the far end of the supermarket car park because for some unknown reason it seemed as it everyone in Cardiff had decided to do their weekly shop today. He’d left the trolley at the nearest return point, but already he was wishing he’d wrestled the bloody uncooperative thing all the way to the car to save carrying the bags so far. They weighed a ton, and it was making his wings ache.
Arms, not wings, he reminded himself. That was what came of thinking about flying.
Reaching the car at last, he dumped the bags on the ground while he unlocked the boot, then shoved everything inside. When he got back to the Hub, he promised himself, he’d get everything unloaded, shove it away as quickly as possible, and then to Hell with the pile of filing waiting for him in the archives; he was going out to stretch his wings. Maybe if Jack wasn’t too busy they could go to the park. Slamming the boot, he went around to the driver’s side and got in, his mood already lifting in anticipation; he’d more than earned a bit of fun.
Arriving back at Torchwood’s base, he bustled his way quickly through the main Hub to the kitchenette, juggling his many bags, and started bunging the shopping away where it belonged; perishables in the fridge, dry goods in the cupboards, fruit in the fruit bowl, frozen stuff in the freezer…
“What’s the mad rush?” Jack asked, joining him and watching as he stowed the groceries at record speed. “Do you have to go out again? Did you forget something?”
Ianto snorted; what did Jack take him for? “Of course not! When have I ever forgotten anything?” He glanced up at his lover from where he was crouched in front of a cupboard, stowing cleaning supplies. “I’m hurrying because it’s stopped raining and the sun’s come out.”
“And?” Jack waited for a better, or at least a more complete, explanation.
“And I haven’t been out flying for more than two weeks because of all the rain.”
“Ah, so you want to make the most of the good weather while it lasts.” Jack nodded, understanding.
“Wouldn’t you if you could fly?”
“I imagine so. Here, let me give you a hand with all this; between us we can have it put away in half the time.”
“Be my guest!” That was an offer Ianto wasn’t about to refuse.
Barely more than a quarter of an hour later, the two men were in Ianto’s car on their way to Bute Park, Jack driving while Ianto, already in crow form, perched on the back of the passenger seat. Jack had put a bag of Ianto’s clothes in the boot, just in case he should need to resume human form while they were out. Working for Torchwood you could never be sure what might come up.
As soon as Jack parked and opened the door for him, Ianto hopped out onto the ground and with a loud, joyous “Caw!” spread his wings and took to the air, circling Jack, who was looking up at him, smiling. Ianto felt a pang of sympathy for his earthbound lover. It was a shame Jack couldn’t join him in fight; it would be so much fun playing tag across the sky! Pushing that thought out of his mind, Ianto gave himself up to the delights of being aloft out in the fresh air after far too long of having to get his exercise flapping about in the underground Hub. Even with Myfanwy to fly with it was never going to be as good as flying in the open, feeling the wind in his feathers.
Ianto swooped low, then soared into the sky, gliding on the air currents, diving down only to soar again, buoyed up by the wind. He flapped hard, rapidly gaining altitude, then banked to the side, going into a tumble before righting himself, laughing inside. This was brilliant! Up he went again, trying this time to loop the loop, but stalling as he always did. He was determined to master the art one day though; if other crows could do it then so could he. Flipping into a barrel roll instead, he looked down, where he could see Jack strolling across the wet grass, glancing up frequently to keep Ianto Crow in sight. Not that he needed to; just because Ianto was busy having fun didn’t mean he wasn’t keeping an eye on his lover.
Dive-bombing Jack, making him laugh with delight, Ianto glided around in a long curve, delighting in the feel of the wind beneath his wings, lifting him effortlessly aloft once more. There really was nothing better than flying free on a windy day. He pitied poor, ordinary, earthbound humans; they’d never get to experience how it felt to be truly free.