A/N: This fic is part of the Torchwood Bingo fest 2020.
It was early on a sunny afternoon when Ianto decided enough was enough. Slipping the company card into his wallet he left the hub claiming he went out on his lunch break. But in reality, he went to a shop he'd been dreading to go to ever since he was forced to go as a young lad. IKEA. He'd waited for a long time hoping that Jack would catch on to his nagging about having no space to put the files on.
But no such thing happened and he finally had enough of having to work on the ground in the archives, he needed a desk. And where better to go than IKEA? Even when the hate for that place was bigger than words could describe. He took his car down to the place of childhood nightmares. He hadn't been at this place ever since he was a kid. Always trying to skip going. But this time he had to, it would be cheapest if he would get one here. Just a small one, maybe one from wood or just plain plastic. After a big sigh, he stepped out of the car and made his way inside. There was no way he was going to enjoy this. No way he wasn't getting out of there without a headache from here to Tokyo. His head already started to ache when multiple screaming children passed him. Their parents - not in control - just let the children scream and run. All these people around him, they got lost into the world of Ikea. Quickly he made his way towards the desks, chairs and desk articles. It was tough, finding a proper desk while he tried not to let the screaming kids get to his head. But in the end, he found one. A light coloured wooden desk and - because there was not much to choose from - a blue plastic chair with wheels underneath it.
After a long line with people he paid with the company card and made his way out, with the carton boxes in his shopping cart. Loading the trunk, he found just enough space for everything. After putting away the cart he stepped into his car and finally let out a big sigh of relief. It is over now. Finally. He still drove away with quite the headache, but still Nothing a paracetamol wouldn't fix. His drive back was quiet, but way too fast. Before he knew it he was already driving into Torchwood's underground parking lot. Stepping out he carried all his stuff -on his own - towards the archives. No one noticed, they were all too emerged into whatever they were doing. Jack was calling someone in his office, Gwen and Tosh were talking about something in front of the computer and Owen was once again dissecting an alien. Silently he made his final trip down the archives and made some room to start. Taking off his jacket, he folded it and put it on top of one of the filing cabinets. He'd been as smart to buy a toolbox because he was fairly sure they didn't have one. And on top of that, it spared him the problem of asking, if ever he couldn't find something himself. He just opened the carton box of the desk - spreading the carton out so it seemed like a makeshift carpet - when Jack came bouncing in.
"What are you doing?" He asked after distracting him with a kiss - and failing. For once he didn't want to, he wanted to finish this. Get home and watch that movie he bought last week. Just some time alone. It wasn't like the others cared much about it anyway. Even Jack hadn't remembered.
" I'm trying to put together these planks so I can create a desk. You know, so I don't have to work on the cold hard ground all the time." He sarcastically said. He just wanted this day to end already.
"Can I help?" With a sigh, he gave in and together with Jack he started working on the desk.
"But Jack, that's not how it should be. You have to read the instructions, however vague they may be. That's not where that plank has to go. Jack!" He said when all seemed to go to hell. It would've gone far quicker if he'd done it by himself, even though the instructions didn't help that much, but he knew that in the end, he would've figured it out. Now it seemed like every plank had been attached to the wrong one.
" Let me just.." Jack said as he stuck out his tongue, intently watching the monstrous thing in front of him and figuring out how he could fix it.
"No Jack, just go. I'll get Tosh, maybe she can help me fix this mess." It came out harsher than he'd intended. Jack looked up, hurt, and put the hammer he'd been holding so manly before down.
"Okay," he sighed defeatedly. Something must've been wrong as Jack sprung up in a flash when he was about to walk towards the main part of the hub.
"No, wait. Let me, I'll get Tosh for you. It's the least I can do." He said hurriedly, giving him a quick kiss and running away. Tosh appeared a few minutes later, all flustered.
"Jack said you need help?" She asked. Quietly and quicker than he expected, they finished with the table. In the end, it turned out rather well, even though at some places you could still see where Jack had tortured the wood. Satisfied he placed the items where he wanted them to be, the archives were his territory so it was only natural that he should pick the place. Once done, he placed the files he had been working on on the table and picked his jacket up from the cabinet. Looking at his watch he saw that it was nearly time to call about those pizzas.
"Are you doing something tonight? Rift provided of course."
"Uhm well, probably watching a movie or an early night in. Haven't had much sleep last night." He told her, a cheeky smile crept on his face while he thought about what he'd been doing, that kept him from those precious hours of sleep. Tosh's face blushed brighter when he mentioned his previous night's occupation. Everyone knew that he and Jack were… well, sort of dating. At least they knew they were involved. He didn't think it was anything to be ashamed about, it was just all so new. Loving - because he knew, sometime during their relationship he'd fallen in love with the immortal captain - a man. It was new, but nothing wrong with it, as his father had claimed so many times during his youth.
"Don't you… want to be alone with Jack tonight?" She asked, just a little bit scared.
" Nah, sometimes you just need some time alone." It was then, that he got the shock of his life.
A chaos of "Happy birthday!" and "Surprise!" Rang through the air. The room had been decorated with birthday bunting, balloons and other decorations. Party poppers popped and out flew coloured pieces of paper through the air, down on the ground. He really hoped he wouldn't be the one picking those tiny pieces from the ground. He ruffled through his hair, trying to get the colourful paper out of his hair.
" What? You didn't think I would forget, did you? Something as important as your birthday, Ianto?" Jack asked. He, currently, was too shocked for words. He had indeed thought they'd forgotten.
"Come on here," Jack said while he walked towards his lover and engulfed him into a hug.
" And I have a special something for you later tonight," Jack whispered into his ear. A blush started to creep up his neck, and he hoped the others didn't notice Jack pinching his butt.
"Alright, presents!" Gwen cheered from the other side of the table. The conference room table had been cleared and on it lay a few wrapped packages, a cake with burning candles and plates with forks. Gwen handed him a little green box.
"Thank you." He told her.
Carefully he removed the green wrapping paper and folded it, put it on the table and opened the blank box.
It's from Rhys and me." She added before he could lift the lid. Her bright smile could lift anyone's spirits. When he opened the lid, he found a bronze stopwatch inside. Slowly he moved his hand inside and grabbed the little smooth stopwatch in his hand.
" You were so devastated when you couldn't find it anymore that I thought it would be nice to buy you a new one, but at the same time an old one." His hand fiercely held the watch when he put the box on the table and made his way towards Gwen. He hugged her like there was no tomorrow. Secretly he was really glad with the watch, he would never tell her in so many words though, but he still loved it.
" Alright, alright enough of the sappiness, next one," Owen said and pushed his present across the table. He was just in time to save it from ending up on the ground. Before opening Owen's, he carefully lay Gwen's thoughtful present back in the box and closed the lid. His next present was a rather questionable one. Picking it up, it felt like a book. Once again he removed the wrapping paper like he was changing a nappy from a baby. Carefully and precisely. It was…. A book on sex. Questioningly, he looked at the Brit.
" What? You never know, one day it might come in handy. Enjoy it while you can." He defended himself. Jack, being rather interested in its contents, took the book from Ianto's hands and began to leaf through it. The smirk that appeared on his face, made him know that things were going to be far from boring tonight.
Tosh, his sweet Tosh, appeared in front of him cradling a big box wrapped in wrapping paper containing many Welsh dragons. He smiled appreciatively at her when he accepted her gift. He was definitely going to save this wrapping paper. Opening it up, he was faced with something he seriously hadn't expected.
" A... new coffeemaker?" He asked her.
" Yes, I noticed that the current one is almost broken. I thought you deserved a new one, the best of the best of course!" She exclaimed. Her cheeks pinged red while she explained her reason for a new one.
" You're amazing Tosh!" He said and put the coffee maker on the table. A hug was in order, he engulfed her into a big squishing one. After some time they resurfaced and it was time for his final present. Jack's.
"Maybe…. Maybe it's better to leave this until later." Jack said, trying to grab his present back, but Ianto was quicker and held the quickly wrapped present in his hands. Jack's hands tried to snatch the package out of Ianto's hands, but Ianto had been as smart to keep it out of reaching distance.
Quickly - but deftly - he unwrapped the squishy present. He was rather shocked when out came something red, that he'd never thought he'd ever see.
"Are you kidding me?" Popped out of his mouth by accident. In his hands was currently lying a red -unit- beret.
"Well, obviously not." Someone said.
" I thought you and Martha were just joking about this." He exclaimed. There was nothing wrong with the beret, honestly, he found it rather sexy as red obviously was his colour. Two cold hands grabbed it out of his and put the beret on his head. He saw Jack biting his lip when the picture was complete. But there was something else, something akin to affection in Jack's eyes, he didn't dare hope for more.
"Alright. Enough embarrassment, let's eat some cake." Tosh rescued him. The Beret landed on top of the sex book - who threw it there he had no idea - but his best guess was Owen.
"Make a wish," Jack whispered into his ear as he blew out the candles. The cake looked delicious, it even tasted delicious. But what came after made his day all the better.
"Uhm… Jack, you're blue!" He exclaimed, trying to contain his laughter. Watching around him he could see that everyone had turned a rather bright blue. Their faces were completely blue, so where their hands and probably other parts of their bodies.
"What?" Jack screamed from next to him. It was really comical to watch everyone check their bodies for any blue spots. The girls produced pocket mirrors from their bags. A girly scream came out of Gwen's mouth when she watched herself in the tiny mirror. A hysterical laugh escaped his throat, his platter of cake had already been put away, and he doubled over in joy.
"Alright, who did this?" Gwen asked furiously. Sparks ignited in her eyes while she watched everyone in turn. Until she came to Owen.
"Alright, alright. Calm down, I did it." He said joining in with the laughter.
"Why? Why would you do such a thing?" She -almost- screamed at him. To be honest, Gwen was probably the only one who really cared about the whole ordeal. Yes, Jack's ego had been rather hurt, but he wasn't angry or anything.
" Come on, don't you think it's funny? We all need a good laugh sometimes. And Ianto's been so down these last times that I thought it would be a nice birthday treat."Owen declared. He, indeed, was quite glad with the nice surprise. He'd really needed something to lift his spirits.
"And how are we going to turn to normal again?" Gwen - still angry - asked him.
" Aah well that's the catch, it takes 24 hours before it will fade away." The grin on Owen's face was kept in place even when Gwen started hitting him on the chest, even when she started cursing to him.
"So we're going to have to walk around like a blue smurf for 24 hours?" She said it more to herself than asked it as Owen had already told the answer. It was as clear as day.
"Basically," Ianto said. His smile never faltered while he watched the escapade between his friends.
"Well… it did one thing! It definitely cheered Ianto up." Tosh piped up from the sideline. For a moment the bickering friends stopped to acknowledge the happy smile on his face.
"That it did yes," Gwen eventually said.
"But how am I going to go home like this?" This was one thing Ianto himself really wanted to know.
"Just wait till it's dark." Was the simple answer.
So that's what they did. He ordered in some pizza while the others - for once - cleaned up. It's a miracle. He left a note for Sky - their new pizza deliverer - to leave the pizza on the desk - with the excuse that he was working on something in the back, he really hoped she'd buy it. They devoured their pizza while they talked. Time went by slowly while they waited for the sun to go under. But when the time finally arrived, he was glad to be alone with Jack once more.
"So about that beret…" He said.
"What about it?" Jack asked, perplexed.
"Hmmm, I think my new desk should be christened." He thought out loud, he wasn't really talking to Jack or even looking at him.
"What do you think?" He asked Jack, this time he watched how Jack started to smirk at him.
" I like the way you're thinking. And I know just the thing!"