Title: A Night Out
Fandoms: Torchwood/the Avengers
Pairings: Clint/Ianto, Tony/Bruce, mention of Steve/Phil, Natasha/Pepper and past Jack/Ianto
Summary: Ianto and Bruce try to enjoy a night out and as usual their boyfriends manage to show up.
Disclaimer: I do not own Torchwood or the Avengers
Slipping into the small bar Ianto Jones smiled as he spotted the person he was looking for, along with a couple of beers and a plate of chips already waiting for him. "Hey, Bruce, I see you managed to ditch your shadow," Ianto teased with a playful smile as he slipped into the other side of the booth.
Bruce Banner smiled at the Welshman and joined in on his gentle teasing. "Yes, I did, just as you seemed to have as well."
It was no secret that Tony Stark and Clint Barton were rather possessive over what they considered theirs and in place of pride at the top of that list were their boyfriends, Bruce Banner and Ianto Jones.
Taking a sip of his beer Ianto allowed himself to unwind from a rather long day as one of the Avengers’ handlers. No longer considered a true field agent, although he could be called on at a moment’s notice to help out, somehow he still managed to have the same amount of paperwork to do as he did when he was with Torchwood dealing with Jack, Gwen and Owen. "I was lucky enough that when Natasha decided that she needed a sparring partner, Clint was the only one available."
Both men knew it was more than luck, Natasha had a soft spot for Ianto and if he needed a few hours of breathing room she was more than willing to help; beating up Clint and calling it a sparring session was just an extra bonus for her.
Peering over the rim of his glass Ianto's eyes danced playfully. "And what about you? How did you escape Tony this time around?" It was no secret that Tony Stark was just the tiniest bit jealous when it came to his Bruce’s friendship with Ianto. Now that wasn't saying that Clint wasn't jealous, because he was, he was very jealous and he followed Ianto around everywhere.
As for Tony, he used his genius to build robots that followed Bruce around; any time someone got a little too close to him, an alarm would sound and Tony’s voice could be heard proclaiming to one and all that Bruce’s ass and all other parts of him belonged to Tony Stark.
Bruce blushed as if he knew exactly what Ianto was thinking about. He never understood how on Earth Tony had managed to sneak his devious little minions onboard the Helicarrier with no one knowing; it had been months before Bruce could look anyone in the eye again. "Like you, I had a red-headed angel watching my back. Pepper decided Tony had a lot of paperwork to catch up on and she wasn't taking no for an answer."
Ianto and Bruce both shuddered in unison; Natasha and Pepper were two of the scariest women they knew and it was the shared opinion of every Avenger that it was a good thing that they were on their side. "You know I thought nothing was more terrifying then Tosh in dragon-mode, that was until I met Pepper and Natasha. Tosh would have loved them." Ianto's voice choked just like it always did when he thought of his long-gone friend.
Bruce said nothing just waited patiently for Ianto to collect himself. Even though it had been over four years since his own temporary death at the hands of the 456, an unexplained event that still left Ianto searching for answers on how he survived, his time at Torchwood was still a sensitive subject for Ianto.
"Is it wrong of me to still miss them?" Ianto suddenly whispered, looking more lost than Bruce could remember seeing in a long time.
"You know when we met in that dinging bar in Mexico I never thought I would find a friend. I was so sure you were just the guy that SHIELD had sent to keep an eye on the monster." Bruce could hear the slightly bitter tone in his voice and he held up his hand to stop Ianto from speaking. "But then you proved that you never once saw me as a monster, that you saw the man and instead you treated me like a friend.
“You told me what it was like to be an outcast and in you, I finally found a true friend. I know you miss your friends from Torchwood, mainly Tosh and your Jack and that's okay, you wouldn’t be you if you threw them over for what’s shiny and new. Because of what you've told us about Tosh, I think she would have fit in perfectly with us. Jack Harkness on the other hand, I think we might have tried to hurt him for all the pain he caused you."
Bruce felt the other guy roaring in rage at the thought of all the pain caused to Ianto by Jack. It hadn't taken long for Tony to find the CCTV footage of Ianto's deathbed confession to Jack and Jack’s subsequent rejection. Proof of Jack’s callous treatment of their newest member had infuriated the team so strongly that it had taken Ianto asking JARVIS to lock down the Avenger tower to keep them all from hunting Jack down and destroying him.
"They were a big part of your life, Ianto, and not one of us will fault you or blame you for missing them. They were family, much like we are and okay, I agree that Jack and now Clint are different than family but we're here for you, just like they were." Bruce smiled softly at Ianto and was inordinately pleased when Ianto smiled back. "All we want is for you to be happy, sooo… are you happy?"
Ianto chuckled briefly and sipped his beer thoughtfully as he considered his answer. It was true Ianto had found a new family with the Avengers; after his supposed death he’d been lost and confused, floundering through his life. He couldn't go to his family, Jack was gone, and while he and Gwen had never been close Ianto didn't feel it was right to barge in and disrupt the new life she and Rhys had been starting. For a while Ianto drifted aimlessly, then the man who’d raised him hunted down and asked him to look out for his team.
Ianto hadn't known what he’d meant until he was tracked down a few months later and informed that his father figure, Phil Coulson, had been killed in the line of duty battling Thor and that in his final directives, he had named Ianto Jones as the next Avenger handler.
Bruce had been the first one Ianto had met, the first one he’d befriended but beyond that, it hadn't been easy. He was replacing the venerated Phil Coulson, a man who’d been highly respected and absolutely trusted, a man who was considered father and brother by many members he’d meant so much to the team. But Ianto persevered, and slowly he earned their acceptance and even the friendship of the entire team.
Then, in a surprise turn of events that even he couldn’t have predicted, Ianto learned the truth: Phil Coulson was still alive. Once he had irrefutable proof of Phil’s existence, he went to the Fury and demanded that the man be given back to the Avengers, where he belonged, even if it meant that Ianto would lose his new family. In the end his fears of rejection proved to be unfounded; while they were overjoyed to have Phil back, the Avengers still wanted Ianto. As far at the Avengers were concerned, Ianto Jones was theirs and they claimed him as such; besides, as Phil had pointed out, he was still healing and therefore he trusted no other agent with his team than Ianto.
Clint as a romantic interest had been an utter surprise and while a part of Ianto would always deeply love and care for Jack, just as he still loved and cared for Lisa, he discovered that he was much happier than he had been in a long, long time. With Jack, Ianto never knew where he stood, he was always wondering just what he was to Jack and then, even as he lay dying in the man’s arms, Jack still couldn't give him the answers he needed. Jack’s final betrayal left a deep scar on Ianto, one that had barely begun to heal.
But with Clint, Ianto found to his immense pleasure that things were so very different. He had to wonder if he was a nothing but a stand-in or a second choice, a temporary measure until something – or someone – better comes along. The Archer never once hid the enormity or the purity of what he felt for Ianto and Ianto had to admit that it was a really nice feeling.
Putting down his half-empty glass, Ianto smiled at Bruce. "I can't remember a time I was so happy. My time with Torchwood One and Three had its good moments but it was also involved some of the worst times of my life. Torchwood left deep scars, mental, physical, spiritual and emotion, that I didn't think could ever heal. Then I came here to you guys and for the first time, I felt like I belonged in ways that I never did and probably never could with Torchwood.” Ianto looked at Bruce with a sad smile.
“As far as the others were concerned, I was nothing more than the outcast, the invisible one, the traitor, the one that didn't belong. It wasn't until much later did I finally fit in but I never really forgot how they treated me and I was always waiting for that other shoe to drop." Ianto tried not to let bitterness he tried to keep in the very back of his soul creep into his voice, but it hurt so much to remember how they’d all treated him when he’d first joined. Even Jack, who clearly wanted nothing more than to get into his pants, ignored him until he wanted to flirt or needed something, usually coffee or a file. He didn't think any of them realised how much it hurt to see them so welcoming to Gwen right away while he languished in the shadows.
"I came to work for the Avengers and yes, at first the others didn't like me but that was because I was replacing some so special to them." Ianto couldn't fault them for being leery around him, after all he held a little bitterness towards them for the first few months as well. A part of him blamed them for getting Phil killed but as he got to know them, he realised that it hadn't been their fault and they realised that he was not trying to replace Phil but was merely carrying on as Phil had asked.
Smiling again, Ianto took a long sip of his beer. "For the first time since I was a child I've found a home and a family, a feeling that I belong and I’m wanted. And while I still think of my time at Torchwood and the others from time to time and miss them, those times are becoming fewer every day. I have a new life here and I wouldn't change that for anything," Ianto declared in a firm voice.
"Well that's very good to hear, because I'm not about to let you go," a voice whispered as a body dropped out of nowhere and sat down beside Ianto and the Welshman found himself with Clint’s arm curled his around shoulder as he snagged some of the chips.
Smiling ruefully, Bruce shifted over enough to let Tony slip in to the booth beside him. "Well you two lasted longer in the girl’s clutches this time than you did last time, so that's something," Bruce commented as Tony slung his arm around his shoulders and pressed a kiss to his temple.
A pout graced Tony's face. "That was not fair leaving me to Pepper's evil paperwork clutches. I thought you loved me!" Tony whined.
"I do love you, why do you think I let you trace my phone?" Bruce counteracted one eyebrow arched in question.
Tony had to concede his boyfriend had a point. "Still it wasn't fair that you left me alone to deal with watching Coulson and Rogers be all sickeningly sweet together, which by the way, I completely blame you for," Tony added wagging a finger at Ianto.
Slowly Ianto raised his hands in his defense. "I swear I had no idea that Phil and Steve had that kind of feelings for one another." Ianto wasn't lying; no one could have suspected that such an intense romance would bloom between the two men or that they would become one of the sweetest couples ever. Shifting in Clint’s hold, Ianto turned his attention to his lover. "And what about you, Mister Barton ? How did you escape Natasha's sparring?"
Clint’s eyes sparkle with mischief as he tightened his grip on Ianto. "You know how Natasha gets when I get all mopey over you? Well, I put on an Oscar-worthy performance and she practically threw me out of the tower and in your direction."
Ianto chuckled with delight and kissed Clint on the lips; “you are brilliant, my handsome man,” and then he kissed again, only this time with more promise.
“Ugh!” Tony wrinkled his nose as he looked at the couple across from him. "You're not going to get all lovey-dovey over there, are you?" he asked. "I see enough of that from Phil and Steve, not to mention Pepper and Natasha. I can only bleach my brain so many times before permanent sets in, you know!"
"Well that's what you get from dropping in uninvited on our official friends-night-out night," Bruce pointed out, although he did wink at Tony to ease any sting his words might have carried. In his eyes, Ianto and Clint were rather adorable together and it was so sweet to watch.
Tony snorted. "Right, like we’re about to leave you two alone! You're mine and I like to make sure that everyone remembers that," Tony murmured brushing his nose against Bruce's neck, loving the smell of his lover. "What do you say we blow this joint and have our own private party?" Tony purred.
It was always a tempting offer but Bruce still found the strength to smack Tony upside the head. "No,” he said sternly. “This is our night out and you can stay or you can go, but I'm staying here with Ianto."
Ianto raised an eyebrow at Clint, waiting to see what his reaction was going to be. Clint grinned as he signaled the nearby waitress. "I'm going nowhere, babe, got to make sure that everyone knows this sexy Welshman is off limits," Clint purred. He didn't mind Ianto and Bruce's nights out, he knew they were only friends and they would never be anything but friends. Ianto had once admitted to him that Bruce reminded Ianto a lot of Toshiko Sato and it was what drew him to Bruce in the first place; Clint knew that Ianto was his, just as he was Ianto's.
With his plans of sneaking Bruce away for a little naughty fun temporary on hold, because after all it was guaranteed to be only a matter of time before Tony got Bruce naked for the night, Tony didn't see the harm in relaxing for a little while. "No darts this time, Legolas," Tony warned Clint before his eyes switched over to Ianto.. "Or pool, either. Who knew our little Ianto was such a pool shark." Hadn't that been an eye-opening surprise when Ianto had walked away with almost five hundred dollars of some poor sap’s money.
Ianto grinned and leaned into Clint's hold. "We promise, no bar games tonight." Tonight was all about relaxing and having a good time. "Just promise me there’ll be no bar fights if someone hits on me," Ianto warned Clint sternly.
"Only if someone can't take a hint, I promise," Clint murmured as he nuzzled Ianto's neck. He knew the time Ianto was talking about; it wasn't common for them to be flirted with but usually when they said they were with someone their would-be admirers had the sense to back off. Unfortunately, there’s always a first time, and the one man that wouldn't take Ianto's polite but firm ‘no, thank you’ for an answer soon learned some good manners.
"To be fair Natasha threw the first punch," Clint pointed out and boy was Clint be grateful for that. He and Ianto had been dancing around their attraction for each other for a while and Clint knew that he might well have broken the man's jaw or worse when he saw his hands on Ianto.
"She only did it to stop you from killing that man," Ianto replied. "But I don't think you have anything to worry about, everyone knows that Bruce and I are taken thanks to Tony's robots, and besides I don't see anyone but you,." Ianto promised as he stroked his fingers along Clint’s jaw line.
Clint grinned and pressed his lips against Ianto's; that was all that mattered to him, that Ianto wanted only him. The kiss may have gotten a little steamier than either man planned, given the way that Tony was chucking fries at them in an effort to make them stop.
"I didn't come to watch you to make out," Tony grumbled as Ianto and Clint parted.
"No, you came to make out with Bruce," Clint snarkily reminded Tony.
As Tony and Clint fell into a playful banter Ianto and Bruce shared a look, this wasn't the night out they had planned but somehow it seemed better. And while Ianto still had questions he needed answers to, he was happier than he had been in a very long time so for now those answers could wait.