Jack Harkness reached out and flicked on the light switch, flooding the previously dark radio station with light. It was still early in the morning - most people weren't even awake – but Jack was a night owl, he always had been. He only needed to sleep for a few hours a night. Most people hated that he could still function the next day after barely sleeping.
That had been one of the reasons why he had agreed to do the early morning radio show. For one, it gave him something extra to put on job applications in the future. And another, it gave him the opportunity to be heard by almost every member of the school.
Throwing his bag down on the floor, he slumped into his chair, flicking various switches and pulling the microphone closer.
He placed the headphones over his ears and flicked the 'On Air' switch, plastering a grin on his face before greeting his fellow students.
"Good morning, people. This is Jack Harkness comin' atcha. The voice of reason here at TWRS: the student run radio station here at Torchwood High. It's seven am on the dot, the sun is high and the birds are singing. The perfect way to start the school year off right."
Ianto groaned and buried his face in his pillow, listening to the sounds filtering through his alarm clock. Every morning he woke up to Jack's cheery voice and every morning he wondered how the other student could be so happy first thing in the morning.
"Just a reminder folks, Torchwood's annual picnic is this weekend. So guys grab your guy and girls grab your girl and head down to the bay. And if you don't have anyone to grab, remember to ask our magical matchmaker. This one's for you, Ianto…"
The teenager glared at his alarm clock and fumbled under his pillow for his mobile phone. Blearily, he opened a blank text and quickly typed a message. 'You're an arsehole, Harkness!'
Almost immediately his phone buzzed, alerting him to a reply from Jack. 'Yes, but you know you love my asshole.'
The American student was the biggest flirt of anyone Ianto knew. The fact that they were best friends didn't stop Jack from flirting with the Welshman on a regular basis. If anything it seemed to spur him on.
Ever since Ianto had set their friends Tosh and Mary up, Jack had taken to calling him a magical matchmaking fairy - much to Ianto's chagrin.
Owen Harper was crossing the school car park when he noticed Ianto heading towards him, no doubt heading for the radio station to kill Jack.
"Nice announcement this morning," Owen commented, falling into step next to his friend.
"Don't you start." Ianto rolled his eyes. "I should have known he wouldn't let that drop. I am going to kill him for telling the entire school, though."
Gwen Cooper bounded over to them, her dark hair swishing against her back. "Guess what?" she beamed at Ianto.
He shrugged his shoulders and Gwen laughed happily. "There's this new guy in town, perhaps you've seen him around. Owen has a crush on him!"
The Londoner blushed bright red and fumbled with his schoolbooks, pretending to look for something. "No, I don't."
Ianto eyes widened in surprise. "He does?"
Gwen nodded her head firmly. "We saw him this morning and Owen was practically drooling."
Owen flushed even redder and mumbled something under his breath about needing to go to the library, before running off in the opposite direction.
Together, the two friends laughed and continued on their way, Gwen looping her arm through Ianto's as they walked. "What about you?" Ianto questioned. "Anyone you've got your eye on?"
"Why?" she smirked. "You going to set me up with your magical matchmaking powers?"
Ianto rolled his eyes. "I swear, when I get my hands on Jack, I'm going to kill him."
"Watch where you put your hands," Gwen advised. "He might like it."
"You're avoiding my question."
She sighed heavily and looked away. "I don't have time," she finally admitted. "I've got all these exams and applications. I just can't be distracted by love's triviality."
"You just haven't met the right girl yet," Ianto advised, patting her arm and holding the door to the school open. "You can philosophise, rationalise but they're just alibis. Love's all you need just take it from me…"
Gwen laughed and kissed his cheek. "Don't worry about setting me up, Ianto," she chuckled, bidding him goodbye and heading to form room, almost running into someone in the process. "Oh, sorry," she mumbled, looking up into the tall man's eyes.
"No, it's my fault," the stranger brushed her apologies away. Gwen nodded and continued on her way, leaving him standing there looking after her with a confused expression.
Ianto rolled his eyes and stepped up to the new guy. "Hi, I'm Ianto," he introduced himself, holding his hand out.
"Hi, I'm Rhys."
He nodded knowingly. "New guy," he commented.
"How'd you know?" Rhys asked curiously.
"A little birdie told me," Ianto snickered. "What brings you to Cardiff?"
"My dads transferred here," Rhys shrugged his shoulders. "Listen, I've got to see the head teacher."
Ianto nodded his head, waving goodbye to Rhys before heading towards the radio station.
Jack was sitting inside the booth, grinning from ear to ear as he listened to the song that was currently playing.
Silently Ianto opened the door and leant against the frame. "Hey, Mr DJ. Won't you play this song for me?"
The other teenager looked up in surprise before grinning even wider when he saw Ianto. "From the way that you're beaming, I know that you're scheming to turn someone's dreams to reality."
Ianto smiled and passed Jack the CD – it was Rose's favourite song and Ianto wanted it to be playing when she arrived at school on her birthday. "You know me so well."
Jack scoffed and slid the disk out of its case. "Well, it's not hard to tell. You're always happy making dreams come true…"
"It's what I do."
Jack held up his hand, "But, in spite of your list, there's always one guy you miss."
Ianto frowned and studied his friend. Ianto helped everyone who asked him for it, he didn't think he missed any one. "Who?"
"You!" Jack cried in exasperation. "I know you've got dreams too."
Ianto laughed, kissing Jack on the forehead before turning to leave the radio booth. "No time, my friend."
Owen shifted the books he was holding and looked at his timetable. He was due in physics in the next few minutes, yet it was on the complete opposite end of the building.
Because he wasn't watching where he was walking, he didn't see Rhys Williams heading down the corridor until they had collided.
"Oh, I'm so sorry," Rhys apologised, trying to gather Owen's books up for him.
"No, it's okay," Owen mumbled, handing Rhys his maths book back.
Their eyes met and for a long moment Owen forget to breathe, before his brain caught up with him and he blinked, breaking the spell. "Well… I… We… I have to go."
He quickly gathered the remaining books and practically ran down the corridor to his lesson.
The teacher had already started writing on the whiteboard when Owen entered the classroom. As he slipped unnoticed into his seat, Ianto raised an eyebrow suspiciously at his friend.
"Where were you?" Ianto asked once the physics lesson was underway and they were free to talk without the teacher overhearing.
"Well, I was walking down the hall, just beginning my day, when I see this guy, and he's coming my way."
Ianto's eyes widened and a grin slowly began to spread across his face as he leant closer to listen, barely noticing when Gwen and Jack did the same.
Owen blushed under their gazes and shifted before continuing his explanation. "My heart starts thumping and my hands start to sweat. This is the closest thing to heaven that I'm ever gonna get."
The teacher approached them and Owen instantly fell silent. "What do proton particles do when we heat them up?" she asked, indicating to the experiment in front of them.
Owen's mouth opened and closed repeatedly before snapping closed one final time as he admitted he didn't know. She tsk'd and waltzed away to quiz the next set of students.
Later that same day, Ianto was slouching down in the library, reading a thick volume as research for the history coursework he and Jack had to do. The friends had a deal. Because Jack was better at English than Ianto, he would write the eventual essay if Ianto did the research to go with it.
He looked up when he heard footsteps' approaching him, thinking it was the librarian about to tell him to go home. It wouldn't have been the first time he had gotten so caught up in his reading that he had lost track of time.
To his surprise he saw Rhys looking at him nervously. "Hey," Ianto greeted, taking his feet down from where they were on the desk and sitting upright.
Rhys smiled at him and cautiously sat down next to Ianto. "I know we don't know each other but…"
Ianto raised an eyebrow, "Something on your mind?"
The other Welshman took a breath. "You're friends with Owen Harper, right?"
Immediately Ianto's curiosity began to peak and he slowly nodded his head, indicating for Rhys to continue.
"I looked up and thought I saw this guy who was looking at me, though I could not imagine why," Rhys began.
Ianto casually reached out and began to straighten his work and pack up, knowing that it wouldn't be long before he was due to meet Jack for pizza and a movie at the American's house.
Rhys continued, "My head started spinning and it just kept getting worse."
He looked downright distraught so, with very little internal struggle, Ianto pulled out his mobile phone and scribbled Owen's mobile number down on a piece of scrap paper.
Jack had decided he was hungry as they walked from the school to his house and begged Ianto to stop in at the fish shop a few blocks away.
Never able to resist his friend when Jack looked at him with puppy dog eyes, Ianto relented and they ducked into the fish shop as desired by the American, hand in hand as always.
Tosh worked at the shop everyday after school and was on the phone when they entered, and judging by the look on her face she wasn't too happy.
"No, Mary!" she cried. "This is the third time you've cheated on me this week. I am a one-woman woman and you are wasting my time."
With a growl she slammed the phone down. They watched silently as she leant forward, closing her eyes and taking deep breaths.
"Tosh…" Ianto spoke hesitantly.
The Japanese woman's head snapped up in surprise; she hadn't noticed Jack and Ianto were there as well. "Oh, hi," she greeted, plastering a smile on her face and pulling her dark hair back in a tight ponytail. "What can I get you?"
Ianto leant on the counter and studied Tosh. "Are you okay?" he asked softly.
Tosh nodded before slowly shaking her head. "Oh, Ianto," she whispered. "She… She cheated with that Laura from Geography."
Ianto moved around the counter and wrapped his arms around his friend, whispering comforting words in her ear. As he hugged her, Ianto looked over at Jack who looked as lost as he felt.
Neither of them knew what to do to help her feel better.
Ianto sighed and leant back, shifting as he tried – and failed - to get comfortable.
"Will you stop fidgeting?" Jack finally snapped. Ianto had been restless through the whole movie and it was doing Jack's head in.
The other teenager sighed and fell back against the couch, muttering an apology under his breath.
Jack frowned and pulled his friend closer, arranging them so Ianto was leaning back against the American's chest. Ianto smiled and rested his head on Jack's shoulder, finally comfortable as he settled down to watch the movie.
With anyone else, the kisses and hugs Jack always seemed to be willing to give, would be inappropriate. But coming from Jack, they always managed to make Ianto relax and smile.
"What're you thinking about?" Jack whispered, pressing his lips against Ianto's hair and breathing in his scent.
Ianto sighed and closed his eyes. "Owen and Rhys."
Jack chuckled and laced his fingers with his friends, making Ianto smile. "Another job well done."
The other teenager rolled his eyes and squeezed Jack's hand painfully. "Don't you dare tell anyone."
"What?" Jack asked innocently. "That matchmaker Ianto strikes again? Wouldn't dream of it."
Ianto lifted his head and looked into Jack's blue eyes. "What about Tosh and Mary?"
Jack shrugged and ran his hand down Ianto's arm. "There's always Gwen," he suggested. "Her and Tosh have always gotten along."
The door opened and both teenagers looked up to see Jack's father, Franklin, enter the house.
"Hi," Jack greeted, flashing his dad a bright smile.
Franklin raised an eyebrow when he saw his son cuddled up with his best friend, but didn't say anything about it. "Hey," he replied, smiling back as brightly as his son.
"Hey, Mr Harkness," Ianto smiled at his best friend's dad.
"Ianto," Franklin nodded. "Are you staying for dinner?" he offered, moving over to the kitchen.
Ianto shook his head, getting to his feet and stretching. "Thanks, but I promised my mam I'd go to ASDA with her." He rolled his eyes, "She said she's never taking mum with her again."
Franklin chuckled and nodded in agreement. "Why do you think I don't take him," he nodded to Jack, "and his dad shopping? They're a nightmare."
Jack glared at Franklin and got to his feet, following Ianto to the door. "I'll talk to you later," he said to Ianto, his voice quiet as he held the door open for the Welsh teenager.
Ianto hugged Jack tightly, pressing a kiss against his cheek before saying goodbye and leaving.
Sighing, Jack closed the door and slowly turned around to face Franklin who was looking at him in concern. "Please don't start, pops," he begged, leaning back against the door and looking at Franklin with large eyes.
Franklin shook his head, "I'm not saying anything," he muttered, heading into the kitchen to try and decide what to cook.
Slowly, Jack made his way over to the stairs. Before he had even reached the bottom step, Franklin reappeared in the doorway and called after him, "Jack?" The teenager paused and turned back to Franklin wearily. "Why do you let him do this to you?" he asked carefully.
"He's not doing anything to me," Jack retorted quietly, heading up the stairs.
"Jack," Franklin called again, moving to the bottom step and looking up at Jack. "I know you like him. But you said it yourself; it's obvious he doesn't see you like that. Why keep hugging and kissing him? You're only going to end up getting hurt."
Jack smiled at the concern Franklin was showing. "Hugs and kisses from a friend, are better than none at all," he pointed out.
The first two months of school were as hectic as ever. With rushing between classes and piles of homework, none of the friends really got chance to see other for longer than five minutes at a time.
Gwen and Tosh were getting on perfectly; they were actually getting close to their two-month anniversary. Rhys and Owen were fairing just as well. Both couples were seemingly head over heels in love with each other.
Mr Smith, the school's drama teacher sighed and banged a large book on a nearby table. "That was appalling!" he exclaimed once the room had gone silent. "You call that acting?"
Gwen, who was playing the lead female role, sighed and placed her hands on her hips, turning to face the teacher. "We're pretending to be heterosexual, Mr Smith," she reminded him. "It's a little difficult to get into character."
"That's why it's called 'acting', my dear," Mr Smith retorted, stepping on to the stage.
He reached out and took Gwen's hand in his, before reaching for Rhys' - who was starring opposite Gwen. "This is a musical about accepting heterosexuality," he reminded them, placing Gwen's hand in Rhys'. "He's just parachuted into battle and he thinks he's about to die. It was supposed to be love at first sight. Make it believable. Please."
Gwen nodded her head, taking a deep breath as Mr Smith took a step back and the pianist began to play once more.
"Can I do this?" Rhys asked, easily slipping into character.
Rhys continued, "Can I think this?"
"Can I feel this?"
Gwen placed a hand on Rhys' cheek. "Don't say anything. We both know very well."
She turned and walked away from him, before looking at him over her shoulder. "If we parachute into battle and you happen to get stuck in a tree. Then I cut you loose and run away, without telling you it was me. That is how I'll kiss you."
Rhys followed her, carefully turning her around so they could look at each other – eye to eye. "If we're ever in the same tank or submarine, and I refuse to share your periscope, then you'll know what I mean. This is how I'll kiss you."
They held each other's hands tightly, gripping with all their might. "Don't ask. Don't tell."
Mr Smith clapped his hands happily and the music stopped. "Wonderful. Wonderful," he gushed. "That was ten times better." He glanced at his watch and frowned. "Oh. Okay, practice everyone and I'll see you after school for another rehearsal."
As the students slowly began to filter out of the hall, Gwen and Rhys lingered, both taking that bit longer to gather their belongings.
Slowly Gwen made her way towards the door, before pausing to look back at Rhys. "If I pass you in the hall, and I turn my eyes away. If I have to say hello to you and I don't say your name. That is how I'll kiss you."
Rhys tried to smile, but his facial muscles wouldn't co-operate with him. "If I see you, and I sit across the room. If I meet you in a group of friends and turn my back on you, that is how I'll kiss you."
Gwen hitched her backpack further up her shoulder, before leaving the theatre. She didn't stop running until she had reached the playing field where she threw the bag on the floor, "I wish our lives could go on, within the confines of this song."
She flopped down onto the grass, staring up at the crystal blue sky above her, tears freely rolling down her cheeks. "For once it ends what will be there. Only the silence I can't bear."
Rhys closed his eyes and leant against the theatre wall, trying his hardest to push away the alien feelings inside him. "Can I this? Can I think this? But if I feel this. I want to tell you. I want to say to you. Just what this is."
Owen sighed and pressed the power button on his computer. He had just got back from bowling with Jack, Ianto and Tosh. Rhys had cancelled at the last minute, as had Gwen. Both explained that Mr Smith was pushing them to get certain scenes perfected before opening night.
He checked the online messenger – noting how the only person online was Rose. Automatically he said hi and began a conversation with her – all the while, his mind elsewhere.
After an hour of debating with himself, he opened an email and began to type, not really thinking about the words he was writing.
I could write books, about all the things you don't know about me. Page after page of all the things you didn't say.
I could write books, about all things you didn't do. And then write twice as much about how much I still love you.
I drop hints about my birthday – you forget it anyway.
I say pick me up at seven and you do, but the wrong day.
Is there something I should know about, that's going on inside? What is wrong with me, that there's so much of you, you hide?
I could write books, about all the ways you hurt me. All the ways you didn't even know could destroy a person so.
I could write books, about all the things you took from me. Then write twice as much about how much you give back.
I could fill all the desert sands with ancient scriptures from my hands. Then watch Siroccos come erase them, and then write them all again.
I just don't understand why I do all these things that don't make sense. But love it seems has a logic that defies all evidence.
I could write books, about all the things I don't know about you. Volumes one and two of all the doubt you put me through.
And maybe I'll never know why you do the things you do. But I do know, I'll always love you.
'Cos deep inside, I think you love me too.
Taking a deep breath, Owen flopped back in his chair and re-read what he had written.
He bid good night to Rose and shut down the computer – not sending the email and getting rid of it forever.
Jack was just drifting off to sleep – for the few hours he would be able to rest – when he heard his phone vibrating somewhere in his room.
Groaning, the teenager flicked the light on and glanced around, trying to remember where he had put his phone earlier.
Eventually, he found it, buried underneath a pile of paper on his desk. Yawning widely, he opened the text message Ianto had just sent him.
'I've got a problem… I think I fancy Rhys.'
Tosh and Owen were sitting in the library, going over their project for History when Tosh made a comment about them spending almost as much time together as Gwen and Rhys, who were constantly rehearsing for the musical.
"Can you imagine," Tosh began, "a world where men and women dated each other freely?"
Owen shook his head, pulling out his notebook and flipping through the pages. "It would be weird," he replied. "It'd be like us going out."
Their eyes met and they burst out laughing, both falling back in their seats, chuckling to themselves.
Tosh smirked and leant forward, leaning on her elbow. "They say that love is blind. They say that love can't see. But that don't matter at all, 'cause all love needs to do is stop - and listen to me." She put her hand on Owen's arm. "Don't you wish we could be in love?"
Owen grinned, playing along with Tosh and covering her hand with his own. "Don't you wish we had a choice?"
The Japanese teenager looked around, pretending to be looking for something. "Hey, cupid! We're over here."
"Just follow the sound of my voice."
Gwen and Rhys knew they couldn't keep their relationship secret for much longer. The musical was only a few days away. After that, they wouldn't have an excuse to see each other so often. And it wasn't as if they could tell the truth.
Owen and Tosh would be devastated. Their friends would never speak to them and their parents would disown them. No. It had to stay secret.
"Here I am," Gwen said one afternoon - her and Rhys were sitting backstage, out of sight from any one else, "a busy bee; running around to keep love from me. So far, so good. I'm pretty fast. But how much longer can my heart last?"
Her thoughts turned to Tosh, wonderful Toshiko whose heart she really didn't want to break. "I think how perfect she is."
Rhys nodded his head, thinking also of Owen and their relationship. "How perfect he is. Why can't I be happy with this?"
Gwen smiled to herself, "She's everything I could dream."
"He's all I could dream."
Their eyes met, "Tell me what's wrong with me. Please."
Ianto was stomping around the school, a permanent scowl on his face. Every time he saw Rhys, he was either with Gwen or Owen. All he wanted was five minutes alone, just to see if his feelings were really there, or if he was imagining them completely.
What made things worse was, Jack didn't appear to be talking to him. Well, Ianto hadn't seen him for days. Which was very unusual for the American.
Go away love, go away love, Ianto thought to himself as he headed to the library. Just pack your bags, you can't stay love.
He couldn't believe he had let himself fall for Rhys, especially when he had set the couple up in the first place. Boil, bubble, you're causing trouble. Have a heart and just go away.
Owen started at Rhys with equal emotions of horror, pain and anger. Rhys had just dumped him, without giving him an explanation as to why.
He took a step back, blinking in confusion as he studied the other teenager to see if he was joking. But he wasn't. The look of seriousness on Rhys' face was genuine.
"Do you know what it's like, not to be in love with you?" Rhys asked quietly, trying to take Owen's hand in his, only to have it pulled away. "Not to have my heart obey, what my mind wants to be true?"
"Do you know what's it's like, not to be in love with you? But to like, love you, cherish you, idolise you and protect you."
Rhys met Owen's sad eyes with his own, finally managing to take hold of Owen's hand. "Do you know what it's like to look into your eyes and to see what I know you don't see in mine? Though I pray it might be so, the whole night through."
Their hands separated. "Do you know what it's like to have to let go of your hand and to start another life, a life I don't understand and live the rest of my life knowing how much I've hurt you?"
Gwen hated the way Tosh was looking at her. It made her feel even worse for breaking up with the Japanese teenager, who she really did love. Just not in the way Tosh wanted.
"I know I'll never find your lovin' in anyone else. Though I'll try, oh and I'll try. I know I'll never find your smile in anyone else. Though I'll, oh I'll try."
Tosh looked at her with tears shining in her large brown eyes. "If someone were to come up to me and tell me how to love you better, I'd say, 'Buddy, step into the ring; you're going down'."
She released Gwen's hand and turned from her, heading to the door, suddenly feeling the need for fresh air. "I'd fight a guy for you. I'd fight a girl. I'd fight myself, you know I would, if I thought it'd do any good."
The library was where Rhys and Gwen found Ianto a few hours later, hidden away behind stacks of shelves, surrounded by piles of books.
"Ianto?" Gwen called softly, looking around the corner.
Ianto's head snapped up in surprise. "Oh, hey," he greeted, running a hand through his hair.
"Are you okay?" Rhys asked, looking down at his friend in concern.
Ianto plastered a fake smile on his face – Rhys was not the person he wanted to talk to right then. "I'm fine," he assured him with happiness he didn't feel. His gaze fell on their adjoined hands, "Guys?" he asked in confusion.
Rhys' eyes followed Ianto's gaze and he quickly dropped Gwen's hand. "Yeah," he muttered, "that's what we've come to talk to you about."
"Me and Rhys love each other, Ianto," Gwen whispered, her eyes wide as she took a step closer to Ianto.
"What about Owen and Tosh?" Ianto glared.
"We broke up with them," Rhys whispered regretfully. Ianto could tell by the pain shining in his eyes that neither of them had wanted to end their respective relationships.
"Why tell me?" Ianto demanded.
Heterosexuality wasn't unheard of. But the people that had admitted they had feelings for the opposite sex were ostracised from society. People were never accepting of change, and being interested in someone who wasn't the same sex as you was practically unthinkable.
"Because you're our friend," Gwen replied, taking Ianto's hands in hers. "And we need your help."
"My help?" Ianto repeated incredulously.
Rhys nodded his head, "We're going to run away. I've heard of a place we can go where no one will think us being together is wrong. But, we need your help to get there."
Ianto sighed, closing his eyes. He knew of the place Rhys was referring to; it was a place parents threatened their children with if they misbehaved. "I'll… I'll see what I can do," he whispered finally.
Ianto was putting his books away later that afternoon, when he accidentally dislodged some, sending them crashing to the ground.
"Fuck!" he swore, bending down to pick up the books.
As he was placing them back on the shelf, he frowned and reached right to the back, finding a thick book. It looked as though it hadn't seen the light of day for centuries and there was a thick layer of dust covering the cover.
He blew the dust off the cover, coughing as it flew in every direction. There was no title on the book, only a mixture of strange symbols he had never seen before.
Carefully, Ianto opened the book and flicked through the first few pages. The pages were old and crinkled; so much so that Ianto almost didn't dare touch them.
It was a book of spells, the teenager noted as he glanced at the pages. Most of them were spells about changing the weather or cursing someone.
Probably written by a bunch of freaks, Ianto mused to himself as he continued flicking through the pages.
He stopped when he reached a page about halfway through the middle of the book. It was titled, 'Changing the world'.
"This spell can be used to change the surrounding world. Should only be used in extreme situations and never without reading the warning," he read aloud.
"Side effects may include: nausea, headaches… deterioration of taste and style?" he frowned and shook his head, "Loss of memory. This spell may cause permanent loss of magical power in the practitioner."
Ianto sat back against the bookshelves behind him. He had never been interested in magic before – never even thought about trying it. But he thought about Rhys and Gwen, and how much his friends were hurting. They were relying on him to help.
If he tried the spell and nothing happened, no one need ever know. And if it did work, he could only hope the world wouldn't be changed too much.
He took a deep breath and began to read from the heavy tome. "Blow winds from the city to the shore. Blow winds from my heart to yours. Blow winds from the mountains to the plains. Make the strange familiar, make familiar things strange."
Ianto thought about Rhys and Gwen and how much they would be hated if the world knew the truth. "Go now, I want you to go to her… Stand now, I want you to stand beside him… Be now, I want you to be in a world where you can be who you want to be."
"Love now, I want you to love who you want to love, if it can't be me."
Jack grinned and took a disk from a nearby CD case. It was their end of year dance, everyone in the year was there and having a good time. Tosh had organised the food while Gwen had done the decorations. Jack was in charge of music.
"Girls grab a guy and guys grab a girl. Because it's time to go straight to heaven."
He slipped the disk in before making his way over to Tosh who was sitting alone at a table. "Hey," he greeted, sitting down next to her.
She flashed him a smile. "Hi," she replied, taking a drink.
"I see you," Jack advised, "staring at the guy across that floor. I could see him smiling back at you. So tell me, what are you waiting for? Well, tonight's the night that dreams come true, so go on and fall in love."
Tosh shook her head, refusing to move from her seat and Jack sighed. "Fine," he pouted, stalking across the room to Owen, who was on the other side of the dance floor.
The American grabbed hold of Owen's hand and dragged him across the room – despite his protest's – not stopping until he was in front of Tosh. "Miss Sato, Owen would like to dance with you," Jack advised her, pushing Owen in her direction.
Just as Owen was about to begin dancing with Tosh, the doors to the gymnasium opened and Ianto stepped through.
"Ianto?" Rhys asked. "Oh my god. I never realised before… I mean, what's with the outfit?"
Ianto frowned in surprise, not liking how everyone was looking at him. "What do you mean?" he questioned, looking down at his clothes in confusion; he was wearing the same thing as he always did – a dark suit with a pink shirt and tie. "I'm still the same guy I always was."
Rose scoffed and rolled her eyes. "Oh, I don't think guy is the right word."
Ianto took a step back, shaking his head in horror. "Listen, everyone. I know you're really not like this. Something must have gone wrong with the spell." He turned to Rhys, "Rhys, don't you remember?"
"Remember what?" Rhys demanded, folding his arms across his chest.
"Last night," Ianto explained desperately. "You and Gwen wanted me to help you run away because you didn't fit in."
"Ianto," Gwen said softly, "I'm not sure we're the ones who need help fitting in."
"No," Ianto whispered regretfully. "Not anymore."
He turned and headed to the door, not able to stand his friends looking at him with hatred anymore. "Once upon a time, you'd all come to me," he whispered, his hand on the door handle. "I'd do anything for you. Whatever it may be."
Ianto shook his head, choking back tears, "Now you all point and laugh. You seem so amused. But I don't know what I've done. Help me… I'm confused."
The teenager turned to face his friends once more. He looked over at Tosh and Owen, then Rhys and Gwen. "Someday you might love me. Someday you might care. Someday you might come and find me, and find that I'm not there."
His voice broke a little and he could feel tears falling down his cheeks, but he couldn't seem to get them to stop. "We gathered for a moment, and we laughed, and cried, and played. But from now on, the magic's gone. This is what it made."
"How can you look into me, and not see yourselves? Man, woman, gay, straight, all things in between. I leave no one out."
He turned to leave again, only to be stopped when he heard Rhys call after him. "Ianto, don't."
Slowly, Ianto turned back, "Don't any of you remember?"
Gwen stepped forward, hugging him tightly. "We remember we used to be friends."
"Nothing else?" He sighed as his shoulders slumped.
"Nothing else matters," Rhys insisted. "Guys grab a girl, girls grab a guy. Guys grab a guy and girls grab a girl."
"Just grab a hold of someone, whatever feels right," Gwen added, squeezing Ianto tightly. "Join the army of love, we're going dancing tonight."
"We can't afford to leave anyone out of the game," Tosh contributed. "Join the army of love we're going dancing tonight."
"Love who you are and someone else might do the same," Owen said.
Halfway through the night, Ianto excused himself and slipped from the building. He needed some fresh air; there were too many people inside the gymnasium. Plus, seeing Rhys dancing with Gwen hurt more than he thought it would.
He didn't notice when Jack followed him, until the American called after him, "Hold on! The evening's not quite through. It seems you lost this." He held out Ianto's stopwatch. Ianto looked down in surprise – he hadn't even realised he'd dropped it. "May I return it now to you?"
Ianto smiled thankfully and reached out for the stopwatch. Before he could pull his hand back, Jack's fingers closed around his wrist gently. "Tonight your music meant much more than you could know. So I'd just like to say one thing to you, before you go."
Jack brought his hand up to rest his palm against Ianto's cheek. Ianto almost gasped in surprise when he felt his heartbeat begin to race and his breath hitch at the contact.
"Jack, what are you…?"
"I thought I'd spend my life alone, because my feelings felt so wrong. Now I've got the strength to be myself, since I heard you sing your song." He shifted nervously, "I'm a sort of charming, not so princely guy, who wants desperately to be you. If you'd only let me try."
Jack ran his thumb over Ianto's lips, making the Welsh teenager's heart race even more. "I know your heart is in a million broken pieces on the floor. I'd be happy to collect them all. That's what friends are for. You've taken care of everyone – that's always how it's been. Well, it's time someone took care of you, but you have to let them in."
Ianto looked into Jack's eyes and suddenly found himself falling down a large blue well. He couldn't believe he had never noticed how beautiful his best friend was. "There you were, always right in front of me. So close to my heart - I simply couldn't see. There I was, making all sortsa mistakes…"
Jack shushed him, "That's okay, sometimes that's just what it takes."
Ianto smiled and placed his own hand over Jack's. "We've always played our songs for everyone else in their own key."
The American took a step closer to Ianto, "Maybe now we'll get to play one, just for you and me."
Their lips met and Ianto moaned softly, pulling Jack closer. It was the single sweetest thing Ianto had ever experienced. "I love you, Jack," he whispered, running his hands through the other teenager's hair.
Jack beamed and kissed him again. "I love you too, Ianto. I always have."