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The Last Time We Had Ice Cream Together

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"So tell me, Jack, why did we have to come all the way out here?" asked Gwen.

"Like I said, funny Rift readings all over this street last night, seemed to coincide with the Grand Slam. I thought we should keep an eye on it."

"Isn't that what the CCTV feeds and Rift monitors at the Hub are for?" asked Ianto.

"Nothing beats on-the-ground observation," said Jack. "And besides, a little fresh air is good once in a while."

"There's nothing fresh about this humidity, Jack," Gwen protested. "This must be the hottest day we've had all year." Beside her, Ianto nodded in agreement.

Jack grinned at them. Gwen pulled her t-shirt away from her skin, while Ianto shrugged out of his suit jacket, his face flushed. In another century, one less hung up on monogamy, Jack might have pulled both of them aside right then, to some secluded place—or not so secluded, maybe—where they could really make the most of this heat. But Gwen had Rhys to think about, and Ianto, for all that he was deliciously open-minded in many ways, had some surprisingly traditional ideas about fidelity most of the time.

Reluctantly, Jack forced the image of Ianto and Gwen entwined around him, flushed and sweaty, back into the recesses of his mind, and surveyed the leafy suburban street in front of him. He couldn't see anything unusual, and the scanners weren't registering any alien life-forms, but that didn't necessarily mean that something unknown hadn't slipped through; Jack figured it wouldn't hurt to give it an extra half-hour, just to be safe.

Behind him, Jack heard the tinkling melody of a children's song, and at the sound Gwen turned around hopefully.

"God, an ice cream is just what I need right now," she said, her face breaking into a smile.

Jack looked behind him just in time to see a pink and white ice cream van drive into view. It pulled up in front of a playground on the opposite side of the road, and a small group of children, dragging reluctant parents by the hand, began to gravitate towards it.

"Ice cream?" said Ianto sceptically, raising an eyebrow.

Jack shrugged. "Why not? Let's indulge." They'd had a tough few months after all, with the team reduced to three; they had to take their few moments of respite where they could find them.

Jack turned and saw that Gwen was already striding purposefully towards the van, and he hurried to catch up with her, with Ianto following. He knew that they must have seemed an odd sight, three child-free adults lining up for soft-serve. A couple of the mothers in the queue looked at him askance, but he gave them his most charming grin, and after that they didn't seem to mind. He heard Ianto sigh behind him, and Jack didn't need to look over his shoulder to know that he was rolling his eyes. He looked anyway though, because Ianto was so damn cute with that mock-exasperated expression on his face.

Gwen ordered a soft-serve cone with chocolate topping when they finally reached the front of the line, and Jack asked for the same. Beside him, Ianto simply asked for a bottle of spring water.

Refreshments successfully acquired, the three of them made their way to a wooden bench that sat in the shade of a large oak tree. Jack sat first, and Gwen quickly settled in to his left, sitting close in spite of the heat, her shoulder pressed solidly against his upper arm. Ianto, always more reticent than Gwen, left half a foot between them when he sat to Jack's right. He'd loosened his tie and undone the top button of his shirt, and the pale skin of his throat was exposed beautifully as he tipped his head back to take a long swig of water. That particular spot would be getting some very special attention later in the evening, Jack decided.

Gwen shifted against him, and then let her head drop to the side slightly, so that it came to rest on his shoulder. Ianto's hand lay flat on the bench beside him, and cautiously, Jack brought his own free hand down next to it, so that their smallest fingers came into contact. When Ianto didn't move away, Jack edged his hand further along, until it covered Ianto's completely. A few moments later, Ianto rewarded him with a small, almost imperceptible smile.

"You know," said Gwen, licking melted ice cream from her fingers, "this is good."

Jack smiled as he swallowed the last of his own cone. "Yeah," he agreed, squeezing Ianto's hand, and sliding an arm around Gwen's shoulders. "It is."