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sam_storyteller ([personal profile] sam_storyteller) wrote2005-07-18 11:45 am
Entry tags:

Troublemaker (In A Nice Suit); Torchwood, G

Title: Troublemaker (In A Nice Suit)
Rating: G
Summary: Afon Jones was a tailor with a shop convenient to the Plass and a son called Troublemaker.
Notes: Normally I wouldn't announce the fact that I wrote this in forty minutes, but it's my justification against the fact that I announced I wasn't going to write anything new until I'd finished my WiPs.
Warnings: None.

Originally posted 6.13.08

Also available at AO3.


Ianto loved his father's shop. He loved the smell of warm wool, all the different textures, the greasy hum of the sewing machine and the leather needle-pusher his father wore on his thumb for the delicate work. Loved the people who came and went and equally the quiet of the shop in the warm Cardiff summer afternoons, when business was slow and his father would sit and work quietly while Ianto stocked the shelves and did the inventory and, after he turned fourteen, the books as well.

Ianto always had a head for maths, and for names and faces as well.

He saw Jack Harkness sixty-four times before Afon Jones died.

(He wasn't to know, but Ianto also saw the Doctor in all but three of his incarnations; the shop was convenient to the Plass, which was why Captain Harkness used it, and thus a short walk from a refueling TARDIS, which was why the Doctor used it.)


"You know I try to be a loyal customer but he's absolutely screwed it up, he's always screwing it up, and this is the last straw," said an American voice. "Please be better than him, because I need a new tailor."

"Mm, yes, I can see that," Dad said, giving the man a practiced once-over.

"Just, completely ballsed it," and that sounded funny in the flat accent the man spoke in.

"He's got your inseam wrong, for a start."

Ianto, hiding behind a rack of suits, burrowed through the comforting smooth silk-tweed and peered out, watching as his father fussed around the tall, broad-shouldered man.

"He did?" the man said, twisting to study the cut of the trousers across his thighs. "You can tell that from there?"

His father gave the man a dry look and crossed his arms. "I don't think they're worth salvage, frankly."

The American waved this off. "Can you make me something that doesn't try to castrate me every time I run?"

"Of course, Mr...?"

"Harkness, Captain Jack Harkness. Feeling constricted," Captain Harkness said. Ianto snickered, which was a mistake; the man's head snapped up and bright blue eyes fixed on his face.

"Don't look now," he drawled, "but I think your suits are spawning."

"Ianto!" his father boomed. "Haven't you stock to be packing?"

Ianto emerged from the coats, feeling suddenly shy in front of the American.

"Can't reach the higher shelves," he said petulantly. "You said I couldn't climb them anymore."

"Your kid?" Captain Harkness asked.

"My Troublemaker," his father said reprovingly.

"Hiya, Troublemaker," Captain Harkness offered his hand. "I'm Jack."

Ianto looked to his father for permission before taking the enormous broad hand and shaking firmly. "Pleased to meet you, sir."

"How old are you, eight?"

"Six, sir."

"Tall for your age. Going to be a tailor like your dad?"

"No, Captain Harkness," he said, and heard his father sigh pre-emptively.

"Dressmaker?" Captain Harkness asked with a grin.

"No sir, a superhero sir," Ianto replied soberly. Usually people laughed; Captain Harkness just cocked his head. Ianto was quite serious about being a superhero.

"Tough gig. You're better off being a tailor."

"Run along," Dad ordered. "I'll check your work when I've done with Captain Harkness."

"Cute kid," he heard Captain Harkness say, as he bolted back into the store-room in back.

"Thank you, sir. Now, about these trousers..."


Captain Harkness came into the shop five or six times a year, on average, to have shirts and trousers made; the first few times he simply brought clothing for alteration, but Ianto's father always clucked slightly at the poor quality of the clothing and often as not, by the time Ianto was eight, Captain Harkness simply had his shirts made in the shop. It was easier, and they wore longer.

"Now there," his father would say, as Captain Harkness left the shop, "is a man of substance and grace, Ianto. He understands the futility of fashion and the appeal of the classic style, and he chooses to pay for the best."

"Are we the best, Dad?"

"Indeed we are."

The year Ianto was ten, Captain Harkness commissioned his father to make him an entire formal suit with an old-fashioned frock coat, modernised just enough to fit the current styles. Dad had his measurements on file, of course, but they re-measured just to be sure, Dad with the tape and Ianto standing back, out of eyeshot, taking down the measurements as they were called out.

When the suit was done and the final fitting underway, Dad stepped back and looked at the Captain, who was fiddling with the buttons on his waistcoat.

"You wear this extremely well," he said.

"That's more your doing than mine."

"I don't know; I've had many a client unwilling to bow to my taste in these matters, and not everyone could hold the line of the suit so well as you do."

"Well," the Captain said, smiling with dazzling white teeth. "I've had practice."


Between Ianto's twelfth and fourteenth years another man often accompanied Captain Harkness to the shop, a slim, short man with pale brown hair. The Captain always paid, despite the fact that the brown-haired man usually went away with more clothing than he did himself.

"Ah, the Captain's courting," his father said fondly.

Two months after Ianto's fourteenth birthday, the Captain came alone.

"And how is Mr. Bell?" Dad asked cheerfully. "Not with you today?"

"No," the Captain said, his voice flat and dark. "He's dead."

Ianto looked nervously at his father, who bowed his head slightly. "My apologies, Captain Harkness. And my condolences."

"Thank you," Captain Harkness said, and didn't say anything more about it.


Ianto's father died when Ianto was seventeen, and there was a huge funeral. His father had a lot of friends but, as it turned out, not a lot of money, and Ianto went to London to seek his fortune. That is a story for another time.

Three days after Gwen's wedding, Jack turned to him in the car and said, "Afon Jones."

"Ianto, Jack," he corrected, with a slight smile.

"No, your father. Your father was Afon Jones, my tailor. That's why you said I knew your father was a master tailor."

"Yes," Ianto said.

"Which means you were the little Troublemaker," Jack continued, eyes dancing. "You were going to be a superhero when you grew up."

"I didn't think you'd remember."

"It took me long enough. But if you remembered me, you must have known. Something. When I didn't age from the time you were six until the time you were twenty-three."

Ianto shrugged. "I thought perhaps you just aged well."

"Not like you not to be a little inquisitive, at least."

"I was preoccupied," Ianto said. Jack nodded and frowned.

"I didn't remember your name. I think he always called you Troublemaker."

"Fairly apt, I suppose."

Jack laughed. "I'll remember that."

They rode on in silence for a while, until Jack cleared his throat.

"He made me a great suit," he said conversationally. "I got it when I met Nolan Bell."

"I remember him."

"I knew the week I met him I was going to marry him," Jack continued. "Not that it was legal then. Didn't matter, really." He paused. "I never got to wear it for Nolan -- we were going to but -- he was Torchwood."

Ianto knew what that meant. He made a note to find the drawer Nolan Bell was buried in.

"I took it out last week to air it," Jack said quietly.

"Oh?" Ianto could feel his breath catch slightly.

"Yeah. I could have a new one made, but..." Jack gave him a look, an oddly, uncharacteristically hesitant smile. "It's a good suit."

"Jack, are you sure -- " Ianto blurted, then stopped.

"I'm always sure. But if you aren't -- are you sure?"

He bit his lip. "Yeah. A bit. Think I am."

Jack's smile widened. "Yeah?"


"All right," Jack said. "All right. You'll have to have a suit made too, though."

"Well, I know a good tailor," Ianto said, and Jack let out a whoop of laughter.


Sam: Someone should write the fic, the Doctor's tailor. AND IT SHOULD BE IANTO'S DAD.
Jean: YES XD
Sam: I have a theory -- Ianto says to Jack "as you know, my dad was a master tailor" and Jack gets this look like, did I know that? And I think Jack used to use Ianto's dad as his tailor, and wee!Ianto met him as a kid.

[identity profile] 2008-06-14 02:28 am (UTC)(link)

That is an awesome, awesome wedding scenario.

[identity profile] 2008-06-14 02:32 am (UTC)(link)
I usually hate wedding fic, but this is awesome. Well done! :D

Although now I am preoccupied trying to figure out which Doctors Ianto didn't meet. I'd guess at least one of them is Nine, because he didn't seem much of a tailored-clothing sort of guy.

[identity profile] 2008-06-14 06:52 am (UTC)(link)
Nine, Four, and probably Six. None of them were fashion concious.

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[identity profile] 2008-06-14 02:32 am (UTC)(link)
That was wonderful. Great way to expand on that comment.

[identity profile] 2008-06-14 02:49 am (UTC)(link)
this is absolutely made of awesome. I may have just died from supressed glee. =D

[identity profile] 2008-06-14 02:55 am (UTC)(link)
I didn't catch that Ianto said that in the episode, but now that it's been pointed out, I love this idea.

Hmmm. Now which Doctors didn't Ianto's dad meet? I agree with Nine, as pointed out above...and I'll guess Six, for obvious reasons.

[identity profile] 2008-06-14 07:44 pm (UTC)(link)
Yeah -- when Jack is approving Ianto's choice of a dress, Ianto says "As you know, my dad was a master tailor" and Jack does this bizarre's the clip... (

I don't know enough about the pre-Nine Doctors to say with certainty about most of them, but Nine definitely wasn't a tailors kind of guy, and I do think Afon would have hurled Six from his shop :D I know he definitely did tailor for Five, and also for One (if only so that teenage Ianto could meet Susan :D).
jo02: scared-kitty (Default)

[personal profile] jo02 2008-06-14 03:08 am (UTC)(link)
It doesn't seem to matter how long it takes you to write a story, the result is still the same . . .

I'm sitting here in quiet tears and I'm not sure if they're happy or sad ones. I think I'd like to know more about Nolan Bell.

And I'm guessing one of the Doctors Ianto dad did tailor for was Three.

[identity profile] 2008-06-14 07:42 pm (UTC)(link)
I reckon Nolan must have been a rather wise man -- Jack met him when Ianto was ten but didn't start bringing him round until two years later, which to me says that Jack must have had a difficult time convincing Nolan of his honest intentions (and rightfully so). Given that this would be the mid-nineties, Nolan was probably a jeans-and-t-shirt man, totally unused to the idea of having a tailor. In my head, he was something sciency -- not medic or tech but perhaps some kind of alien-focused botanist or something. :D

[identity profile] 2008-06-14 03:14 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, my. This is the third time in a row I've read one of your pieces and gotten teary-eyed in a good way. Wonderful flow to this one, and with all the over-dramatic proposal scenarios I've read online, this quiet little moment with its wonderful connection to Ianto and Jack's pasts was beautiful. I got a strong sense of Ianto's relationship with his father just through those little detailed descriptions.

[identity profile] 2008-06-14 03:24 am (UTC)(link)
:D as always.
ext_1548: Reid playing cards (Torchwood_ Rhys *laugh*)

[identity profile] 2008-06-14 03:53 am (UTC)(link)
ZOMG awesome! I love your fic so much!

[identity profile] 2008-06-14 04:35 am (UTC)(link)
How do you do this? Always, always finding just the right thing. And OF COURSE Ianto's Dad was....OhMyGod he made Five's cricketing outfit, didn't he? I mean, it fitted perfectly!

[identity profile] 2008-06-14 07:39 pm (UTC)(link)
LOL, he totally did all of Five's tailoring :D

[identity profile] 2008-06-14 04:38 am (UTC)(link)
Beautifully done. I like how you took a throwaway line and built an entire fanfic around it. The idea that Ianto's father was Jack's tailor and he met him when he was young is kind've sweet.

I've always gotten the impression, from the few times he mentioned him on the show, that Ianto truly loved his father, and it's nice to see that he was involved in the running of the shop from a young age. And lord knows, the man appreciates a good suit.

I'm thinking for the Doctors, three, and likely seven and eight as well. Maybe one, though I can't really remember exactly how he dressed.

[identity profile] 2008-06-14 07:38 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm very good at building fic on throwaway lines :D I do it a lot.

It might be boring but I rather like the idea that Ianto and his father got on well -- that Dad accepted Ianto wasn't going to follow his footsteps and that Ianto respected him. He was obviously raised well and he's clung to the manners and courtesy that he was brought up with, so it makes sense.

I started to put some thought into the Doctors that Ianto wouldn't have seen, after people started speculating (three was a randomly picked number); I think Nine is definitely one of them, and probably Six (god, Afon would have thrown him out of the shop dressing like that) but I like the idea of One getting his clothing done by Afon. Especially as it means there might have been a very interesting meeting between teenaged Ianto and Susan :D

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[identity profile] 2008-06-14 04:40 am (UTC)(link)
Damn your good. This was a fantastic story. Thanks! :P

[identity profile] 2008-06-14 04:54 am (UTC)(link)
"I took it out last week to air it," Jack said quietly.
"Oh?" Ianto could feel his breath catch slightly.


Sam, have you ever thought of writing romance novels on the side?

PS Isn't Ianto meant to say "Given name" instead of "Middle name" when Jack asks him about Ifan? Because "Middle" makes it sound as if his name is Ianto Ifan (= Johnny John, yes?) which is rather snicker-making (in English, anyway).

[identity profile] 2008-06-14 06:32 am (UTC)(link)
Welcome to Sam's Lack of Clarity world! :D I had two ideas going on at once, re the Ifan thing. I ended up just writing Ifan out completely and replacing with Troublemaker *grins* Because if Jack had seen Ianto's records when he tried to weasel his way in, he would have taunted him about Ifan vs. Ianto, I'm sure :D

[identity profile] 2008-06-14 06:24 am (UTC)(link)
Very well done :-)
ext_14845: betta fish (Default)

[identity profile] 2008-06-14 06:28 am (UTC)(link)
Whee! I liked it!
elisi: (Jack and Jones by skittlesnfrank)

[personal profile] elisi 2008-06-14 06:30 am (UTC)(link)
This is too adorable. *melts*

[identity profile] 2008-06-14 07:46 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, I love that. Great start, even better ending. :-)

[identity profile] 2008-06-14 09:22 am (UTC)(link)

[identity profile] 2008-06-14 10:20 am (UTC)(link)
So every time I read one of your fics I try to find something clever to say as fb to do them justice but then I never do so i never fb. But! Today is my self-proclaimed fb day so get sucky fb but fb nonetheless.

I love the thought that Ianto's dad was Jack's tailor and I especially love little!Ianto. And oh! Jack having a past. Because no way is Ianto the first person he ever loved, that's just overly romantic nonsense. But he does love Ianto and telling him about taking the suit out like that is a very Jack way of making his intentions known. So yeah, loved the fic ::grin::

[identity profile] 2008-06-14 07:32 pm (UTC)(link)
Hey, you're putting in the effort, and I appreciate that :) Glad you liked the fic. I waffle over whether Jack has married other than the one time we've seen -- I reckon either he marries when he really loves someone or the death of his last wife put him off it for quite a long time. Either way, I like the idea of Ianto seeing Jack with someone, because it gives him that later security -- he knows Jack CAN love, and at least make the effort at monogamy :D

[identity profile] 2008-06-14 11:09 am (UTC)(link)

I am utterly crap at leaving coherent feedback for you, I apologise. I really can be eloquent, sometimes.

Just not when I read Sam!fic apparently.

*flails happily*

[identity profile] 2008-06-14 07:30 pm (UTC)(link)
*pats* it's okay. You know authors, we love feedback :)

[identity profile] 2008-06-14 01:05 pm (UTC)(link)
I just read this through twice.

Totally awesome.
zillah975: Painting of my Night Elf, Tyrnathera Stormcaller (Default)

[personal profile] zillah975 2008-06-14 01:25 pm (UTC)(link)
This is terrific. You're going to get me watching the show if I'm not careful.

You will be assimilated.

[identity profile] 2008-06-15 04:41 am (UTC)(link)
He already got me.

...Not that I'm complaining, the amount of eyecandy is awesome.

Re: You will be assimilated.

[personal profile] zillah975 - 2008-06-15 19:21 (UTC) - Expand

[identity profile] 2008-06-14 01:45 pm (UTC)(link)
Awwwwwwwwwww - just about the sweetest thing, ever.
marginaliana: Buddy the dog carries Bobo the toy (TW - Please God)

[personal profile] marginaliana 2008-06-14 03:59 pm (UTC)(link)
Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww! Wee Troublemaker! I love that Jack takes him seriously about the superhero thing. I think that's very Jack - being able to see that Ianto really means it. And I simply adore the underhanded way Jack proposes at the end. So unbelievably lovely.

(Anonymous) 2008-06-14 04:30 pm (UTC)(link)
absolutely beautiful!

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