It’s been a miserable three weeks.
He’s been stuck down here in this cold, dark, and yes, damp thank you very much, sorry excuse for a secret headquarters working for this even sorrier excuse for a secret organization—if you’re going to drive around in an SUV emblazoned with your name, you may as well just put up a huge, flashing, neon sign over the base that says, “Yes, we catch aliens.”
Or so Rodney thinks.
And he’d say so too, if he weren’t so busy being unnerved by the way Jack keeps winking at him (has the man never heard of eye drops?) or scoffing at the pathetic attempts the voodoo man has made at snark (please, snark? Rodney could outsnark him before he could walk) or brushing off the annoying overtures of their welcome wagon lady (they have orthodontists for a reason, you know) or being offended by the completely unfounded lack of fawning by that To-something-or-other woman (hello! Rodney McKay here! Resident genius!).
Still, there is one teeny tiny, itsy bitsy, positively minuscule ray of sunshine in this otherwise absolutely disappointing, waste of time assignment.
Because Rodney McKay is a connoisseur of coffee, and Ianto Jones is a coffee god.
Rodney has even seriously considered changing his religion since arriving in Cardiff. He’s been an atheist ever since he was old enough to figure out that there was absolutely no way the known universe had been created in seven days, and anyone who believed so was obviously a religious nutjob with exactly half a brain cell and nothing to rub it against (age four).
But the things Ianto does to coffee deserve veneration.
Rodney has never quite understood the almost orgasmic relationship the Marines have with their weapons, or the intense passion of Sheppard’s understanding with his hair gel, or Ronon’s … well Ronon’s relationship with anything really, but he thinks he may be getting an inkling of what they feel. Of course, Rodney’s emotions are experienced on a much higher, scientific plane. All logic and reason and hypotheses and beautifully balanced equations.
Logic: I need coffee to survive. Ianto provides the coffee. Therefore, Ianto is necessary to my survival.
Reason: Since I must drink coffee, I may as well enjoy the experience, and Ianto’s coffee-making skills go beyond enjoyment to somewhere in the neighborhood of bliss.
Hypothesis: If I were to somehow smuggle the Welsh, coffee-making deity into Atlantis, I could have blissful, divine coffee at all times.
Equation: coffee=life force, Ianto’s coffee > Zelenka’s foul brew, Ianto > Zelenka, Ianto=viable candidate for new head of engineering.
Ianto’s coffee is so good, in fact, that Rodney’s considerable intellect is becoming distracted. When Ianto brings him his first cup of the day, Rodney actually engages in small talk with the man. When Ianto’s overly flirtatious boss makes inappropriate comments about his suits, Rodney is indignant on the man’s behalf while fully acknowledging that Ianto does indeed look very, very good in a suit. When Rodney leaves for the night, he makes an extra long stop in the tourist office to make sure Ianto doesn’t need a ride home or some company as he finishes his work or really anything else that might result in another cup of that ambrosiatic brew.
At the end of his month-long stay with the Torchwood Institute, Rodney tells himself that his only regret in leaving will be the loss of his newfound idol and the blessings of worshiping at that altar.
But when he packs up his things on his last night there and Owen snarls a farewell, Toshiko waves absently, Gwen gives him that far-too-bubbly grin, and Jack hugs him just a little too long, Rodney doesn’t go immediately back to his hotel. He stops at a coffee shop just a few blocks from the Hub and pulls out his laptop to catch up on some emails.
A few minutes later a deep, richly accented voice says in his ear, “The coffee here is shite, mate. If you’re that desperate, you can come back to mine, and I’ll make you a cup.”
Rodney is about to protest that he is not, repeat not, desperate, but looking into those blue eyes, and smelling the faint lingering incense of Kona wafting off Ianto’s skin, he merely stutters out his thanks instead and packs up his things and follows him home.
And somewhere in between his last cup of coffee for the night and the fresh mug he finds left for him on the nightstand in the morning, Rodney revises his religion once again.
Ianto isn’t a god. He’s a priest. And Rodney wants nothing more than to sit at his feet and learn the secrets of his order.