[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: Sorry! I meant to post this much earlier, but life’s got in the way again! However, I will be posting another two chapters in quick succession, so I hope I’m forgiven… and I’ll be updating all the chapter list on Thursday.

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

Chapter 7


Ianto sat at the table alone. With the party in full swing, he had just returned from a trip outside for a cigarette, where he contemplated at least cutting down on his smoking at New Year, if not giving up completely, to find that the rest of his Team had dispersed: Toshiko was with Rob, poring over the Sound System, while Owen was engaged in what appeared to be chatting up a giggling Rose Tyler at one side of the bar. Gwen was enthusiastically strutting her stuff on the dance floor after spending a fruitless twenty minutes trying to get Jack Harkness to accompany her. It was probably a good thing, Ianto decided, thinking of her long-suffering, and likeable, boyfriend, Rhys, that she hadn’t brought him along. Those tight fitting black pants and that low-cut T-shirt, coupled with some rather provocative moves, would surely not have been approved of by the other Welshman. Most of the younger Crew members were either dancing or were clustered around the bar with the Dancers and Turns. In a far corner, Archie, who they’d all seen little of in the last seven days, was all but slumped at a table in the far corner of the room corner, glass of Talisker, poured from his very own hipflask, permanently in his right hand, expounding about anything to anyone who would listen.


With Martha occupied yet again with what appeared to be a rather deep conversation with Yvonne, Jack drifted over to Ianto as inconspicuously as he could, sipping at a Scotch and water.

“How’s it going?” he said as he stilled at the table, and then sat down.

“OK, nothing fell over and nothing exploded that shouldn’t. And it looks like he’s happy,” Ianto nodded over at the Cardiff Times’ Theatre Reviewer, Bilis Manger who was obsequiously schmoozing his way around the room. Jack had had the dubious pleasure of a ten minute informal interview with the man earlier on in the evening and had found him more than a little bit ‘creepy’; he’d even been thankful when Melvyn had muscled in on the proceedings- if Melvyn did, indeed, ‘muscle in’ on anything- and hurriedly left the Dame and the critic to it.  “And your finale is apparently the ‘defining moment’ of the show, according to him.” 

Smiling, Jack asked, “Mind if I join you? I’ve been abandoned.” He gestured over at Martha.

“Ah, never bring the girlfriend along… It’s a sure fire bet that someone will try to pick her- or you- up.”

Jack broke into the widest grin that Ianto had ever seen, and then started to, well, guffaw. “Martha’s my Agent, not my girlfriend!”

Ianto raised an eyebrow in disbelief, tempered by relief. He accounted for the last emotion by telling himself that it was solely due to the knowledge that ‘Martha’ was a free agent unless she had a significant other at home. Not as if he would act on that knowledge, if it were true; he had Lisa, and he was determined to make sure that whatever problems the two of them had, he was going to try to make the relationship work just as soon as they could make more time for each other.


“Although she is one of my best friends,” Jack managed to say after his amusement died down.

“Sorry, you seemed so at ease together…” Ianto apologised.

“No problem! I signed up with her when she was just setting up- we’ve both worked together through the hard times. She’s a great girl, but she’s not my type… that and the fact that her fiancé wouldn’t be too impressed!”

Ianto felt less embarrassed by his faux pas as Jack laughed again. “Mmm, I don’t suppose I can see him being very understanding.”

“Tom spends a lot of time working abroad with the UN. He’s a Doctor. He really wouldn’t take kindly to me taking advantage of his absences. And anyway… I’m kinda too busy working right now for relationships and romantic entanglements.”

“She reminds me very much of Lisa… ”

There was a pause in their conversation. Whenever Jack had looked around the room earlier, Ianto was always in the company of one of his colleagues, or was talking to one of the actors or actresses. He hadn’t seen anyone who looked like they could be Lisa.

“You didn’t bring Lisa along?” he said as nonchalantly as he could.

“She’s out at her own work’s party at the Arts Theatre.”

“Ah… it’s a hectic time of the year for First Night parties and Christmas dos. ”

“It’s always a hectic time of year at Cardiff Arts Theatre,” Ianto replied pointedly.

He didn’t elaborate, and Jack detected an unwillingness on Ianto’s part to talk much more on the subject; he quickly tried to change the subject, and launched into the tale (he seemed to have a never-ending array of them) of the Christmas cast and crew meal out on one of his early Pantos. The elderly actor playing his aged father in Jack and The Beanstalk had been a respected character actor, appearing in British films of the 1950s onwards, even taking minor roles in a few Hollywood movies. Unhappily, the years hadn’t been that good to him; he’d drifted into less serious stage work and developed a more than passing liking for the odd fortifying tot of gin, which, over the years, had turned into more than the odd one. At a crew and cast meal at the poshest Italian restaurant in the town they were playing, said actor had finally had one too many and was soon wandering from table to table of unconnected patrons, happily propositioning any female diner he came across. A slight altercation with one of the male companions had him leaving the main dining room in a theatrical huff. Moments later and he’d made his way in to the foyer, resplendent with an elaborate reproduction Rococo stone fountain right in the centre. As he blundered into a fiberglass reproduction of the leaning tower of Pisa, surrounded be a display of potted palms, he tripped, landing in the small pool filled with Koi carp and goldfish. The Crew had had to drag him out, as he started to quote The Tempest. They hadn’t returned to the restaurant for the rest of the run.

The story had shaken the other man from his slightly gloomy mood, and it transpired that Ianto had his own fair share of humorous theatrical anecdotes, and they were soon swapping stories.


Martha finally disentangled herself from a painfully boring half hour of discussion with Angharad Davies, who was keen to break into the West End. Sadly, although the actress certainly had enough talent to break out of the local Soap and into better things on national TV, she had neither the acting skills or voice to make it in musical theatre- at least not without a great deal of coaching and training. Being tactful about this fact had been tricky; Angharad was young, eager and perhaps in denial about her own talents.

The Agent quickly checked the room, looking for Jack- she was only in Cardiff for this one night, solely to see the show and the man himself. She also hoped to avoid another ambush by an acting hopeful. She eventually located him sitting with a dark haired young man, and could not stop herself from grinning at the way he was laughing at something the younger man said.


“So, Jack…Are you going to introduce me?” Martha asked.

Jack was startled from his conversation; neither man had seen her approach.

“Martha! Finally got away did you?”

“Eventually… I seem to have been ambushed by virtually everyone on this show! I’m not sure I can take much more.”

“You’re obviously a woman in demand… Oh, yeah, this is Ianto Jones. He’s our Lighting Engineer, and possibly the most normal person working on this show.”

The actor motioned towards the Welshman before turning to his Agent. “Ianto Jones, meet Martha Jones, my Agent. No relation, I presume?”

“Not that I know of,” she smiled and held out her hand. Ianto shook it, rising from his seat and leaning over. It didn’t escape her that Jack was looking on with a possessive gleam in his eyes. In all the years that she had known him, Jack had been discrete about his personal life, but she knew he had always had a flexible approach to his romantic interests.

“Nice to meet you.” Ianto sat back down as he released her hand but continued to stare at her.

“And you, Ianto.”

Jack interrupted their exchange. “Hey, you two- I’m still here!”

“Sorry for staring, Martha. You remind me very much of my girlfriend, Lisa.”

“Ah, you’ve got good taste!” she winked making it obvious that she wasn’t being in the least bit serious. That last piece of information was interesting, too- it seemed to come as no surprise or disappointment to Jack, and she felt rather guilty for previously wondering if he was attempting to chat Ianto up.

“I certainly do,” he laughed. “Did you enjoy the show, then?”

“It’s one of the better Pantos that I’ve seen. I confess that I’m not a big fan myself, but they’re great for publicity. And I couldn’t not turn up to see Jack’s first night, could I?”

Martha was good company, and it seemed a pity to Ianto that she was only in Cardiff for one night- she would be flying back to London the next afternoon.


It was the early hours of the morning when the party finally died down, and Ianto bade a genuine and heartfelt farewell to Martha, and a correspondingly heartfelt goodnight to Jack.

As he entered the dark sitting room of his flat, he saw Lisa’s coat thrown untidily over the back of the sofa; the rest of the apartment was equally dark apart from a soft glow emanating from the bedroom. As he poked his head around the door of their room, he saw Lisa, returned from her own night out, fast asleep in bed and seemingly worse for wear, the bedside lamp illuminating her.


To Be Continued…
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