It wasn’t often Ianto found himself being summoned to his sisters house but he knew better than to try and avoid her when she demanded his presence. The last time he’d tried that she had turned up on his doorstep with eyes like thunder, much too reminiscent of their mother for him to feel comfortable to ever ignore her request of a coffee morning ever again. Thankfully she limited herself to doing so only once or twice a year.
But for her to call him on a Tuesday afternoon, just gone one o’ clock on a completely average day, he knew whatever it was couldn’t be good, “Hi Rhia, listen I’m at work right now so-”
“It won’t take long,” Rhiannon cut him off, “I’m just calling to see if you’re free this weekend. Johnny’s taking the kids out and it’d be nice to catch up”
“This weekend?” Ianto looked around the hub nervously, very aware that the entire team had stopped what they were doing to listen in on his conversation, “Yeah, that should be fine” he didn’t want to lose an argument in front of them, he had a reputation to uphold after all, “See you Saturday, around ten?”
Thinking that was much easier than usual, Rhiannon was quick to lock him in, “I’ll be waiting, bring some biscuits would you, you always get the fancy kind”
“Of course, yes, see you then” Ianto hung up after saying his goodbyes and ignored the teams stares as he got back to work. He wondered if the rift would give him an excuse to reschedule, or maybe it was best to get it over with.
By the time Saturday rolled around Ianto was a nervous wreck, or rather as close to a nervous wreck as he let anyone see him. Jack included, “I don’t know why you’re so worried,” Jack was casually lounging on his bed, naked, as Ianto flittered around the room trying to piece together an outfit that wasn’t a suit, “She’s just your sister right? It’s not like she’s going to threaten you”
“You’ve clearly never had an older sister” Ianto pulled on his jacket over a simple tee, deeming himself estate worthy, “If I’m not back within two hours call me, make up some emergency to get me out of there”
“Now come on,” Jack laughed at his lovers serious face, “She’s family, you have no idea how lucky you are to have a family who want to spend time with you”
“I suppose you’re right” Ianto groaned, slipping his phone and keys into his pockets as he leant down over the bed to give Jack a kiss goodbye, “I’ll see you later” and with that he forced himself to leave before Jack could tempt him back into bed.
Rhiannon, as promised was sat waiting for him when he let himself into her house, “Wasn’t sure if you’d actually turn up” she nodded at the chair across from her at the kitchen island, “Tea, coffee? I’ve only got the instant stuff mind”
Setting down the biscuits she had requested he bring, Ianto tried not to pull a face at the mention of instant coffee, “Tea would be great thanks,” he sat down nervously as he watched her fiddle with the kettle, “So what’s this about then, the kids alright?”
“Oh yes,” Rhiannon handed him a milky cup of tea and perched herself across from him, “everyone’s fine, I just thought we could catch up. Been a while since I’ve seen you”
Not buying it for a minute, ianto bided his time and sipped his sweet drink, “Yeah, well everything’s fine with me too. Busy with work but busy is good”
“Are you…” Rhiannon looked down into her cup, “Seeing anyone?”
Immediately on the defensive, Ianto denied, “No, not seeing anyone. Why? I hope you’re not planning a blind date, you know I-”
“You’re not seeing anyone?” Rhiannon stressed, “Not been out on any fancy dates lately?”
“No,” Ianto lied, sipping his drink while sustaining eye contact, asking again, “Why?”
Putting her cup down, Rhiannon gave up on trying to be subtle and dived right in, “Susan on the corner came round the other day and mentioned she was in town and it was her anniversary, so they went to that posh French place, y’know by the memorial” she paused for both breath and dramatic effect, “and there was you.”
“So?” Ianto played innocent
“There was you,” Rhiannon picked her cup up again, “having dinner,” she sipped, “with a man.”
Ianto felt his blood run cold, “So?” This wasn’t happening, any second he’d wake up from his nightmare
“Having dinner,” Rhiannon spelt it out for him, “with a man, in a restaurant.”
“So?” Ianto scoffed, “You have dinner with Tina”
Scoffing right back, Rhiannon argued, “Not in town. Susan said he was gorgeous. Like a film star.” She whispered, “Like an escort.”
Vowing to never let Jack know he had been described as such in fear of his ego inflating even more, Ianto grasped at straws, “He's my boss.”
“She said it was intimate.” Rhiannon was relentless, “I said, well, he's had girlfriends, and she said, well, no girl was getting her feet round that table. No chance.” She looked him up and down, giving Ianto a sick feeling in his stomach before asking a question that made him freeze up completely, “Have you gone bender?”
It wasn’t so much that he was ashamed by his sexuality, it had taken Ianto a long time to come to terms with it, and he had but that didn’t mean he was ready to tell his sister. It was really none of her business anyway, he didn’t make a big deal about the fact she was straight, they’d never had to sit down and give her the opportunity to come out as heterosexual so why should it be any different because he was bi? Why did it matter to them who he was attracted to?
He didn’t want things to change, he’d seen the way families react to a persons sexuality, they act as if you’re a whole new person when in actual fact you’re more yourself than you ever have been before. Ianto didn’t know if he could stand it if Rhia started inviting him to girls nights and spa days. It was better that she didn’t know, it’s not as if Jack wanted to meet his family anyway.
“Go on.” Rhiannon looked disappointed when he didn’t say anything, “You never tell me anything these days. Dad died, that was it. You were off.” She sniffed, “You couldn't wait. Like I did something wrong.” She looked at him sadly and asked “I didn't, did I?”
“It's not that.” Ianto didn’t want her to blame herself and tried to make his excuses, “It's my job.” She looked so dejected, and if she’d even half believed what she’d been told, his sister had still invited him over instead of cutting all contact, that had to mean something, “It's difficult” he struggled, here Rhiannon was, reaching out, offering an olive branch and he was burning all his bridges, “it's…” would it really be so bad if he told her, “He is very handsome.”
As soon as the words were out of Ianto’s mouth his heart stopped, adrenaline was coursing through his veins and he was pretty sure he might actually throw up as his sisters face contorted into a sort of shocked, disbelieving expression, “No” she gasped
“Now stop it.” He warned, torn between crying and running away even as he forced himself to ride this one out. He wasn’t a confused 14 year old boy sat at the kitchen table anymore. He was a stressed out 24 year old man sat at the kitchen island and he’d be damned if he’d let his big sister scare him off
“You're kidding me.” Rhiannon giggled, actually giggled, “Really, though? Really?” She was far too excited about this for Ianto’s taste, “Christ almighty.”
“Hmm” Ianto focused on his tea, not letting his eyes drift from the black and yellow striped mug as his sister reached across to hold his hand
“He's nice, though, is he?” She asked hopefully, her eyes still wide not that he would meet them, “Is he? Oh, my God.” She shook her head, “I mean, since when?” She, unlike her mother, had never had any suspicions, she had always thought her brother was as straight as an arrow, a real mans man. Now she chuckled at her choice of words, a mans man indeed it seemed.
“Forever,” Ianto cleared his throat, pushing down his flight or fight response, “As long as I can remember anyway but, uh, this is the first,” he cleared his throat again, “the first, the thing is-”
“You’ve got yourself a boyfriend” Rhiannon couldn’t help but find her usually articulate brothers mumbling quite funny, “So then, what’s his name, how did you meet? I want to know everything”
“We aren’t putting labels on it” Ianto corrected her, as much as he liked the idea of calling Jack his boyfriend, they had yet to have that discussion and he didn’t even want to think of the Sunday dinners he would be forced to invite him to if Rhiannon got her way, “We’re dating but he’s… very modern about the whole thing”
“Do you have a picture?” Rhiannon broke into the biscuits, in full gossip mode now, “Go on, you must have”
Reluctantly pulling out his phone, Ianto quickly searched for an appropriate picture, settling for one of the team where everyone was fully clothed and professional, “That’s him, the one in the coat”
“Wow,” Rhiannon got a good look at him, “Susan wasn’t lying, he’s bloody gorgeous Ianto. What’s he do for a living, bet he’s flush with a coat like that” he seemed the eccentric type
Mumbling, Ianto had to repeat himself when his sister didn’t hear, “I said he is actually my boss” he guessed he deserved the laugh he got for that, “It’s not like that Rhia, we actually met before I was even hired.”
Sipping her tea, Rhiannon prompted, “Do tell”
“I, uh” Ianto searched for a suitable explanation that wasn’t an outright lie, “I saved him from a mugger, then a few days later he almost ran me over in his car and we got coffee” slipping his phone back into his pocket, Ianto checked his watch, “Look Rhia, I’m not broadcasting this, y’know? I’d appreciate it if you kept it to yourself and I’d love to stay and chat but I’ve got lunch plans, with him actually, so I’d better be off”
“Hang on,” Rhiannon followed him to the door, “You never told me his name”
Shifting from foot to foot, Ianto couldn’t seem the harm in telling her, “It’s Jack-”
“Aye aye, gay boy!” Johnny burst through the door with the kids behind him, “She says you're taking it up the arse.” He laughed, the kids chortling behind him as they ducked past
Giving Rhiannon a blank look, Ianto sighed, “I’ll talk to you later” hopefully Jack would still be at his flat, he needed some reassurance after that whole ordeal and Jack’s method of reassurance really was the best.