[personal profile] wanda1969
Title: "Back Stage: Enter Stage Left, Act I"
Rating: Varies between chapters- all warnings posted with each chapter.
Spoilers/Disclaimers : Torchwood, belongs to the BBC and RTD, I’m just borrowing the characters- I own nothing here, nor do I make any money! So please don't prosecute! It’s an AU story, so I’m pretty sure that it shouldn’t spoil anyone’s enjoyment of Torchwood itself.
Summary: Torchwood characters in a story set in the contemporary world of UK theatre/entertainment.
A/N: Another AU, I’m afraid! Fun, friendship, romance and behind the scenes shenanigens… focussing on Ianto Jones (a lighting engineer) and Jack Harkness (a jobbing actor/’turn’).

Chapter List: http://wanda1969.dreamwidth.org/23356.html

Chapter 3

***

The next couple of days of rigging cloths and fixing the sets passed by in a blur, with the Cardiff Grand’s main crew pitching in whilst the cast were ensconced in their rehearsal room, going through their lines. Christmas time (and the accompanying Pantomime) was the main time that the Grand employed a large, full Stage Crew- drawn from the Theatre’s pool of casual and usually part-time staff- and work had been quick; most of the year, the touring companies more frequently brought their own Crews. The winter months were therefore often the Cardiff casual workers’ biggest earner.

By the end of Friday the theatre was ready for the coming week of figuring out where and how the sets and props would be placed on stage, Tech and the final Dress rehearsals. Adam Smith had decided that the last two days of hard work would be rewarded by a night out and a chance for everyone involved in Aladdin to get to know each other a little better before the punishing week ahead. The Technicians didn’t really need an excuse for a trip to the pub, and greeted the invitation enthusiastically- even more so when Adam revealed that the first four of rounds would be on Hartmann Productions.

***

As workmates do, they had clustered together around the bar tables that had been pushed together- Techs on one side, ‘turns’ on the other. To the other patrons of the pub, the mismatched group looked almost as if they were separate factions, ready to negotiate over a few pints. An hour or two later and the group had mingled, as drinks were ordered and ‘smoke breaks’ taken, the two groups had slowly mixed.

As Ianto had listened to the everyone’s comments, tales of shows gone by and stage disasters it seemed as if the cast he would be working with would be cooperative and friendly. Perhaps not the idiots that he’d initially thought, even if they were a little self-absorbed.

Currently Jack Harkness was in the middle of a story about one of his most embarrassing moments on stage, although from the sound of it, he’d had more than his fair share.

“…I mean, I was mortified! It was my first Panto and there I was working with Barbara Windsor and Darren Day. I’d only just recovered from tripping over a stage weight in the dark as I went on stage and then I banged into a tree flat and my breeches snagged on the wood and the flat fell over. Next thing I knew I was standing there in the centre of stage with no trousers on- the damned thing had ripped them off! They were one of my quick change costumes and they were only held on with Velcro!”

The punchline was greeted with a combination of laughter and horrified “Oh, My God!”s from some of the greener performers.

“What did you do?” Rose asked.

“The only thing we could- went on with the show! Babs came on at the speed of
light, waved her wand, giggled like a maniac and made some joke about it. I just thank God I was wearing boxers…”

There was more laughter.

Ianto wasn’t a regular smoker, but a few drinks had left him with the need for a cigarette so he excused himself and headed for the Smoking Area.

***

Jack Harkness left the Gents in a swirl of grey twill. The pub was busy and hot, and along with his need to relieve himself, was the need for some fresh air, so he’d headed to the lavatory wearing his military coat, ready for a few minutes to himself outside in the cool winter air. He looked to his right as he made his way along the corridor which led back to the main Saloon Room and pub. His eyes were immediately drawn to the only occupant of the outside area, which was bathed in the red light of the outside heaters. It was the lighting engineer, Ianto Jones, if he remembered the unusual and almost unpronounceable Welsh name correctly- and he was sure he did. He’d been drawn to the man’s rich, deep accent at their first production meeting; next he’d noticed the retroussé nose and engaging smile, coupled with the slim, but not too much so, frame. The actor’s efforts to get to know the crew- and, in particular, Ianto- had been foiled by constant off stage rehearsals for the last few days.

The young man was leaning against a tall bar table, and Jack couldn’t help but notice the way that well tailored black jeans emphasized the length of Ianto’s legs, and, better still, the firm curve of the young man’s behind. A dark, charcoal shirt topped off with an equally dark waistcoat, the dark maroon silk of which stretched enticingly across a strong back, completed the vision. With his dark hair and clear, blue eyes Ianto Jones was gorgeous- perhaps not classically so, but certainly very attractive. On second thoughts, the Welshman was perfect.

So far, Jack hadn’t had the chance to talk with the man, save for the odd hello or nod of greeting.

Jack wrapped his coat around him and pushed open the door before stepping into the cold.

***

Ianto exhaled and then his attention was drawn by the creak of the pub door. He turned to see the lead actor.

Harkness gave a slightly nervous smile. “It’s bloody roasting in there… Ianto.”

“It would be, in that coat…” Ianto’s eyes raked up and down Jack.

Jack laughed. “I only put this on ‘cause I knew I had to get outside- it’s suffocating in there…”

“You’re not joking- it’s tropical in there.” Ianto regarded the overcoat; it really shouldn’t look so good on anyone in this day and age, but the actor carried off the look admirably. “It is a good coat, though…”

“I could say the same about the waistcoat…” Jack laughed before gesturing back at the coat. “It’s a prop…  I kinda got used to it while I was filming recently. And it’s warm, and surprisingly waterproof for your Welsh rain.” He grinned, and Ianto was surprised to find that the smile was warm and welcoming rather than the insincere, self-congratulatory rictus that he was used to from the performers he usually came across.

“Well, you’ll need that here- it never stops raining.” He took another drag on his cigarette, retrieved the red and white cigarette packet from his waistcoat pocket and offered it to the other man.

Jack shook his head. “No thanks- I don’t smoke.”

“That figures, with a voice like yours. Neither do I usually- smoke I mean-
it’s just been a busy week.” The Welshman paused. “Anyway, I suppose this TV series you’ve been filming is the Doctor Who one?”

“Well, it’s not really Doctor Who- it’s sort of a spin off. Me swishing around in this coat,” he grinned again and turned, causing the coat to flare out a little. “Fighting unknown threats and saving the world with my team of sexy young alien hunters!”

Ianto snorted out a laugh. “You’ve sold me. When’s it going to be on?”

“I think it’s scheduled for March, but I’m not sure yet.”

“I’ll give it a go- you can’t beat a bit of good, old British sci-fi.”
Jack raised an eyebrow. “Ah, so you’re a bit of a Whoniverse fan?”

“Only when I get time, this job tends to get in the way of Saturday prime time entertainment. But there’s always i-Player.”

Jack nodded in knowing agreement. “You’re right there- I only saw my Doctor Who episodes ‘cause they sent me a disc.”

Ianto finished the last of his cigarette and stubbed it out in the ashtray on the table. “Well that’s me finished. You coming back inside?”

***

By the time the two men returned to the Vault, Angharad had moved into Jack’s seat and was now talking animatedly with Rose Tyler on what appeared to be the subject of costumes. The actor quickly scanned the table and noted his almost empty glass.

“Fancy a drink? Looks like I need another one,” Jack asked nodding his head towards the table.

Ianto looked over at his own nearly finished pint of bitter. “Yeah, looks like I’m in the same position,” he said and reached into one of the waistcoat pockets.

“It’s OK, I’ll get these.”

“Oh… Alright. How about I get the next round, Jack?”

Jack leaned against the bar and smiled. “It’s a deal.”

As he waited  for the barmaid to take his order the actor took in the fact that Ianto was standing shoulder to shoulder with him at the packed bar, so close that he could smell his aftershave- Farenheit, if he was correct about the sweet and heady smell of violets- mixed with the faint, and not altogether unpleasant, masculine smell of work and sweat, and, finally, smoke. He felt a tingle in his spine, and shuddered a little and found that he didn’t mind the smoke at all.

***

Returning to the group of Panto turns and Techies, Ianto took his seat as Jack’s eyes darted around the table, looking for a place now that his own chair was occupied. To his delight, the nearest available seat was next to Ianto.

“Mind if I join you?”

“Sure… if you don’t mind being bored senseless with Technical talk.”

Jack sank into the chair, and fifteen minutes later he was deep in conversation with Ianto. He hadn’t needed to worry about baffling techno-babble; Owen, Tosh and Chris, one of the other crew members were arguing about the merits of the new Allen and Heath digital sound desk, while he was having an altogether more interesting time, talking to Ianto. It turned out that the young Welshman wasn’t quite the provincial Theatre worker that he’d first thought. He’d worked in the West End with quite some success, and only moved back to Wales to be closer to family and his roots. The two men had even worked with some of the same people, which led to some rather revealing and risqué anecdotes about their ex-colleagues. Disappointingly, he had also found out that Ianto had a girlfriend, and not a casual one at that. But, the Welshman was good company and more than easy on the eye, and that disappointment had been quickly replaced with the feeling that he may well have made a new friend.
“So, how come an American’s taking over British TV and stage?”

“Well,” Jack started. “Who wouldn’t want to? The UK’s got the best theatre in the world… And, strictly speaking, I’m not American. I’m Scottish… I’ve even got a British passport!”

If Ianto was surprised it was only made evident with a querying raise of his right eyebrow.

“I was born in Glasgow…”

Now the younger man truly did look surprised.

“Yeah, we only moved to the US when I was ten, but we always kept in touch with
everyone back home. I don’t think I can remember a family holiday before I was seventeen which didn’t involve Caledonian drizzle. So if you think the Welsh weather will defeat me, well, I’ve got form.”

“Scotland certainly is good practice for the Welsh weather,” Ianto sniggered. “And there was me thinking that it was the aim of most actors over here to get to the bright lights of the States, not the other way round.”

“What can I say? I like to be different. And anyway, I don’t think Americans get ‘entertainment’ and theatre like they do over here. For a start, you’d never get the opportunity to do Panto. Can’t get their heads around Dames as suitable kids’ entertainment, I guess!”

“Thank God they’ve never been exposed to a Principal Boy, then!”

“Too right,” Jack agreed. “Someone should bring them back- I always loved the fishnets and high heeled boots as a kid!”

“Who didn’t?” Ianto smiled. “Although you should be careful what you wish for- you’d be out of a job! Unless you were willing to wear the tights, of course…”

“I’d give it a go!” Jack gave a loud chuckle, and then leaned towards Ianto conspiratorially. “And I’ll have you know that I’ve got the legs for them…”

The two men continued to chat and Ianto had to concede that Jack wasn’t quite what he had expected at all; true he was loud and a little overconfident- qualities needed in abundance in his job- but he was friendly and funny, and lacked the arrogance and stand-offishness so often found in his counterparts.

***

As Ianto sat in the taxi back to his flat, he realised that Jack Harkness had had a monopoly on his company that evening. He also realised that it had been one of his best nights out in the last year.

***

To Be Continued…
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September 2012

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