Title: Men In Tights
Disclaimer: I do not own Torchwood, it belongs to RTD (sadly) and the BBC. I do not own , the Sam Neil two part made for tv movie Merlin. Nor the films Robin Hood, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves or Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Or the Muppets. Wow, long disclaimer.
Spoilers: General Torchwood spoilers.
Rating: PG13 (in case I forgot about something)
Summary: Maybe being human wasn’t about all the information you had to learn, the things you had to do or experience, maybe it was just moments like this one... but who’d have ever thought they’d involve Jack and a pair of tights!
Part of the Pterodactyl Jones Verse, set after the events of What I found At The Warehouse but before the epilogue at the end of that fic.
Written for the longliveianto Cliche Bingo challenge.
Cliche Bingo Prompt: Taxes
A.N... this story is a little rambling I suppose. I wanted to show Ianto’s mind in this and how it’s almost like a magpies nest of information and how he skips between one thing or event to another. It’s because he’s trying to make connections in his mind, understand the human way of thinking. Or at least thats what I wanted to convey. This is the first chronological fic in this series from Ianto’s pov, so he hasn’t totally gotten used to the human way of doing things or thinking yet. So fair warning, it’s meant to be a little meandering. ^_^ I suppose the best way to describe it is he gets sidetracked a lot and has to get back to the original point.
Men in Tights
They were eating pizza and talking when it happened. It was one of those days where absolutely nothing was going on, the Rift had been quiet, the Weevils hibernating and they were all left twiddling their thumbs as entertainment.
This was the worst thing about working for Torchwood the constant tedium, broken occasionally by the rarely benign but mostly annoying and sometimes utterly terrifying events that seemed to plague the city of Cardiff.
It was a wonder that anyone even stayed in the city but he supposed it was a very Welsh thing to do, stay in a place that could be dangerous and do your best to ignore it and have another pint... or a whisky, whatever your preference. The British stiff upper lip, it didn't matter whether you were English, Welsh, Scottish or Irish, they were all the same.
As a visiting alien he found human behaviours and opinions still rather baffling.
Like their occupation with history. They looked back on everything, talked about football games that happened in 1966 and battles that occurred on some random piece of land in, um, 1666... he thought that was the right date.
They were obsessed with their leaders also. Learning the names of their ‘Kings’ and ‘Queens’ and how many ‘wives’ or children they had. Although he had to admit it was interesting to learn that one man had had six different mates but only three children. He didn’t know how the man had managed, six mates all at once! Wow. Or was it one at a time? No, he thought it was all at once.
He may have his facts wrong of course but he couldn't be blamed for that. Areisians did not look back so far. Considering how long they lived and the primal nature of their planet, focusing too much on the past could get you killed or injured. Carelessness had cost many lives.
Areisians weren’t meant for history, what humans thought of as history was to an Areisian earlier in their life. Or something that happened to their parents and rarely their grandparents. They were stories they were told at bedtime or in front of a fire. They weren’t written down in books for future generations to read. Apart from the clan wars that sometimes occurred, everything else was pretty much day to day living. They went out and hunted, came back and spent time as a family while cleaning the kill, cooking it and then eating it. It wasn’t like it was here where you could have someone else cook it for you and since there were no ‘ovens’ everything took much longer as it was done over open flames.
Things were simpler back home, but nowhere near as exciting.
And he didn't just mean working for Torchwood. He was actually quite happy that there were moments of inactivity and boredom, it allowed him to think on things and come to terms with them. Organise them in his mind, compare them to his experiences back home so that he could understand them and figure out how important they should be to his life here.
Like his team mates. His team were very important to him, none more so than Jack. Jack who had taken him in when he arrived, gave him a place to stay. Jack, who he’d slowly fallen in love with.
The other man didn't know of course. How could he tell him? He’d always been so kind and helpful. He’d been here in Cardiff for a month now, two months total on Earth and was still coming to terms with it all. Their lives here were so complicated. He didn't feel safe going anywhere without Jack, or maybe one of the others.
He’d officially been working for Torchwood for three weeks now and so far Jack had managed to keep it secret from Yvonne Hartman. He shuddered, he never wanted to see that women again. Luckily, if he ever did come face to face with her she wouldn’t know him. She hadn’t seen his human form, only his Pterodactyl one. He hoped he’d never see her but Jack had warned him that was unlikely, she was usually very interested in the people he hired for Torchwood and usually found some excuse for his team to come to London so she could meet them, interrogate them and try to convince them to spy on him. So far of course, no one had taken her up on that offer.
Jack’s team were very loyal and so was Ianto, there was no way he’d ever betray Jack. Like the others, Jack had saved him, rescued him and gave him a purpose until he could go home. But did he want to go home? He wasn’t so sure anymore.
For one thing, he liked it here. There was always something new to learn, something more. Eventually, he’d probably even come to love history. When he fully acclimatised maybe and got used to a human’s way of thinking, maybe then he’d want to learn everything he could about the past as well. But right now he was most interested in the present and to a minor extent... the future.
But more important than the world, was Jack.
Men couldn't love men where he came from. The same was true for two women. You could be with a man, have sex with him but not bond to him. You needed children of course, children to keep the pack strong and vital, to have someone to tell your stories to, someone who’ll pass them on and on until one day they’re forgotten because it’s someone else’s life now that’s important.
But here you could do that. You could be with a man for life. Make that commitment and in the future, his possible future... men could even get pregnant. And Ianto would live to see that. He hoped he would at least, he may live a long life but he wasn’t immortal, not like Jack was.
Before Jack he’d never thought about men. He’d been as surprised as Jack had been that first night when he kissed him. Since then he’d ignored the urge. Jack hadn’t done anything, said anything. Hadn’t tried to kiss him either. So he assumed Jack didn’t want him.
And there was another reason for not leaving, he didn't want Jack to be alone anymore. All the stories he told, about all the people he’d met and he was still alone.
Speaking of stories, that was what was happening right now.
They were all eating pizza (wonderful food that) and talking. Tosh was talking about the movie she and Suzie had gone to see. In Suzie’s words a rather mediocre adaption of Robin Hood.
Now Ianto had heard about Robin Hood. The once nobleman who stole from the rich to give to the poor when the sheriff of Nottingham raised their taxes. Like King Arthur and Merlin and the Knights of the Round Table or the story of Tristan and Isolde, he’d developed a deep interest in the Robin Hood legend. Maybe because it was a legend, not history, not documented fact. It was a story of an event, not history. It wasn’t made up of dry facts, names and places, there was no date to memorise or anything like that. It was something that he could have very easily told around a campfire to both children and adults alike. The kind of tale he valued.
So he listened avidly to the conversation. Tosh had explained what a ‘cinema’ was to him before but he’d never been. He was still having difficulty getting used to all the loud noises here on Earth, the car horns, the people shouting and he wasn’t all that comfortable in enclosed spaces that did not in some way remind him of a cave. At the moment he considered the Hub his safe place and had panicked slightly the first time he’d been to Tosh’s home for a movie. It was too closed in, there was no scent of earth or running water and the air had been too dry. He’d been disappointed that he couldn't watch the film with Tosh but she’d just grabbed him and the movie and they’d walked to Owen’s flat. He didn't like cars, you see.
Owen’s place had been much better, there was a large window through which he could see the sky, it was cooler because the room was large and there was a musty/dirty smell that Tosh berated Owen for but actually calmed him down.
He knew one day, if he spent enough time here his attitude would change. He was already learning about some diseases and things that were caused by unsanitary conditions. Maybe one day he’d even like the clean, chemical scent of disinfectant. He just didn't know but for now his instincts from home were still driving him.
Anyway, back to the talk about Robin Hood.
The girls and Owen were discussing the movie and how it had compared to the other ones. Each of them had a different opinion on which movie was the better one. Suzie liked Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves the most, she loved the action in it. Owen liked the old Errol Flynn version the most, even though he complained about the men wearing tights. Ianto thought he secretly fancied the handsome leading man. He knew Owen ‘swung both ways’ as they say on Earth because the man had drunk dialled the Hub three nights ago and asked Jack if he could borrow some sort of alien pheromone because he wanted to get with this hot girl and her hot boyfriend. Jack had rolled his eyes and told Owen to try being his usual charming self, needless to say they hadn’t been surprised when he’d arrived at the Hub the next day very hungover and with a beautiful black eye.
Ianto though agreed with Tosh. She liked Robin Hood: Men In Tights. He wouldn’t have expected Tosh to like the comedic film but she constantly surprised him. They’d watched it together last week, after he’d seen a two part show called Merlin and wanted to know about more legends like that. The two of them often found themselves singing the song or when they were in the Hub humming it and secretly laughing at Owen’s loud complaints, especially when Jack joined in. Jack couldn’t whistle.
The funniest by far was when they’d gone out shopping the other week and Tosh had suddenly burst out with a line “We’re men. We’re manly men. We’re men in tights.”
He’d chuckled but joined in. “Tights. Tights.”
“Tights!” They’d both exclaimed, Ianto trying to affect the high pitched tone then men in the film had used.
Both of them had collapsed against each other, laughing their heads off. They’d gotten some very bemused shakes of the head, a few comments about nutters but some smiles and laughs from fellow fans.
Tosh had promised him they’d watch Blazing Saddles soon. It wasn’t based on a legend like Robin hood but she said she knew he’d like it.
But back to the matter at hand, there was a sudden lull in conversation while everyone looked to Jack for his opinion. The other man chewed thoughtfully for another moment before saying something none of them had expected. Though really they should have.
“You know, I was the inspiration for Robin Hood.”
He said it casually like he wasn’t just dropping a bomb on them but then again he said everything casually. Even when he talked about the number of people he’d slept with, which still made Ianto’s eyes widen when he thought about it. Areisian’s only mated once, they were faithful to one person, which was why they were usually careful and cautious, wanting to make the right choice. Which was another reason why his sudden kissing of Jack was troubling. He’d never been that bold before or that interested, in anyone. Neither man nor woman. He wasn’t too young by Areisian standards to be aroused or even too young to mate if he found the right person. But since he hadn’t yet ‘graduated’ from training he was still thought of as a youth by his people and wasn’t allowed to actually look for a partner yet, not until he ’graduated’. It was like a coming of age ritual. Before he came to Earth he’d been utterly devoted to his training and hadn’t even thought about being with a person or developing feelings for someone. But here he was after just three weeks already knowing he loved Jack.
It was tempting to tell him but he didn’t. He hadn’t ‘graduated’, meaning he hadn’t gone through the trial sent by the gods of his people to test him. Until he completed some task or went through some ordeal that gave him a certain feeling of rightness, of knowledge that he was now a man, he wasn’t free to think about or pursue Jack. If he got back home and the elders learnt of his indiscretion, the kiss he’d forced on Jack, then he would be punished... severely.
But it was best not to think of things like that now. He wasn’t going to tell them and it might be centuries before he got home. Why worry about it now. But still be would keep his distance from Jack. Or at least he would try to.
But as Jack elaborated on his story, told them what he’d meant by his earlier comment he knew it would be impossible.
“Back when I was a Time Agent,” Jack began, “I was chasing a suspect and we ended up... oh around the year 1191, I think. The guy was flogging alien tech, I had no idea what it was, thought it was dangerous and in the scuffle for it, he pressed a few buttons.” He chuckled, “Thinking about it, I don’t think even he knew what it was he had. The look on his face. We ended up in different clothes of the time period. I ended up in tights and a tunic and he ended up in a dress.” They all chuckled. “Wasn’t too pleased about that. Anyway back then we had these special cuffs that we could program to take people back to the cells. So after sending him off I decided to explore a bit. Came across a town and a guy in it, I guess he was a nobleman was harassing the villagers. His men were taking their money, kept going on and on and on about taxes. Taxes for this, taxes for that. Bloody hell the list was enormous. Of course they spotted me and made their way over. Well, I could have just teleported out of there but I’d been ready for a fight when arresting that thief and had barely gotten one so I decided to help them out.”
“Wearing tights?” Owen snorted.
“Oh yeh, the ladies loved it.” Jack grinned. “Saved the people, got their money back and so on and so forth.” He smiled happily at them.
“I don’t believe it.” Suzie exclaimed in disbelief.
“You actually-“ Tosh began but Owen drowned her out.
“Tights, Jack, tights? How could you wear them?” Owen actually shuddered.
“They weren’t bad, rather comfortable actually. Showed off the leg and the package quite nicely. Still got them somewhere.” He looked thoughtful for a moment before his face brightened. “Look I’ll show you.” And while the rest of them still stared at the place he’d been, not quite believing he’d gone to get a pair of 12th century tights, he jogged up to his office and disappeared down the manhole to his room.
They looked at each other and shook their heads before turning their attention to their cold pizzas, hearing the occasional loud bump and curse from the direction of Jack’s office.
While the rest of them were shocked, Ianto was having a different reaction.
Jack... in tights. Jack... in tights?
He almost snorted aloud when he realised just what words he was repeating over and over in his head. He couldn’t help it, he whistled. And Tosh broke into hysterical laughter, the others joining in when they registered what he’d done.
But he didn't laugh, he was dwelling on the words. He felt warm all of a sudden and there was a- well, a fluttery feeling in his stomach and oh no, he was slightly hard.
Oh that wasn’t good. He couldn’t be feeling this yet! He hadn’t gone through his trial yet!
But in the next moment all thoughts of his trial went out of his mind. Jack had reappeared and he wasn’t just holding the tights... gulp... he was wearing them.
He grinned at them. “Still fits.” He said, turning his back and giving his bum a cheeky wiggle.
Owen coughed. Tosh blushed. Suzie swore.
And Ianto, well he just felt hot. Hot and very, very uncomfortable.
Things had certainly changed now.
As the others got over their shock and started laughing, complimenting and exclaiming, Owen in particular couldn't get over the fact that they were green, actually green, he remained silent.
Yes things had changed. He wasn’t at home anymore. And he might not be back for years, centuries even. Did it really matter whether he followed their rules anymore?
He’d never really believed in the gods, or their restrictions, they’d just been there. Some intangible being whose rules he was brought up to follow. Each clan had a different god, and different rules, much like here on Earth.
But here, there were people who didn’t believe in any god, or people who chose their own god, instead of always choosing the one their parents followed. And others still followed a way of life rather than a being.
Why couldn’t he do that?
Looking at Jack who was actually demonstrating how well his tights still fit, he realised that he could.
He could follow his own rules now. This was a different world, it was time he stopped thinking like an Areisian and started thinking like a human.
And maybe, as a human he might succeed in getting a mate. Only time would tell.
Just then the rift alarm sounded and he joined forces with the others. There was no way in hell they were going to let Jack go back and change.
It might be an emergency after all.
Graciously they did allow him to wear a coat as it was rather cool, not his Greatcoat though as it had been sent to the ‘cleaners’ when Jack was checking the computer for details of the alert (actually Tosh had gone ahead to the coat rack and hid it). Despite their generous pause at the coat rack Jack was muttering under his breath when they began herding him through the cog door.
All the way to the rift alert they mercilessly teased Jack. He did laugh at a few of the comments and by the time they were at the site he had a grin on his face not at all concerned with his current appearance. The alert was in a shop, entrance down an alley so the SUV would actually block Jack from view.
When they got out of the SUV Owen it seemed couldn't resist one last joke. He put his hand in his pocket and began rattling the change he had in there, about. He called “TAXES! Taxes please!” luckily only loud enough for the team to hear and nobody else. Owen could be a git sometimes but he wouldn’t embarrass Jack, not purposefully anyway. The tights didn’t count, as Jack had done that one to himself. “You too Kermit.” He said jingling his pocket in Jack’s direction.
They all laughed good naturedly, even Jack before turning serious. You never knew what might turn up from a rift spike.
After all, that’s how he’d got here.
Ianto smiled, happily.
Maybe being human wasn’t about all the information you had to learn, the things you had to do or experience, maybe it was just living in the moments, moments like this. And spending time with your friends.
He glanced at Jack, smiled at the sight of his green legs.
And loved ones. Even if they did look like Kermit the frog.
A/N... I was going to write Ianto having a dream but the story decided it didn't want to go that way, so I hope you are not disappointed and that I mentioned Taxes enough for it to count.