Prompt: Singin' in the Rain
Character/Pairing(s): Jack/Ianto Team, Rose/Ten
Word Count: 38,783
Disclaimer for TW and the movie you are using: I don't own TW or Dr. Who. All lyrics and chapter titles are taken from songs or dialogue from the movie
Summary: AU Jack Harkness is the most popular star of the long running soap, The Dueling Cavalier. He has everything a person could want, talent, looks, money and the love of an entire nation. But, after meeting struggling actor, Ianto Jones, he begins to rethink the importance of celebrity.
Author's Notes: Many thanks to my beta, faithharkness for the help and encouragement!
Come On With the Rain
“Dignity. Always dignity. That one little word explains my life’s motto.”
Toshiko Sato snorted at the man on the mini television inside her limousine. Oh, he wasn’t just any man; he was a celebrity, the celebrity of the time. Jack Harkness, star of the longest running nighttime soap in the U.K., The Dueling Cavalier. It was a period piece, set in a fictional farming town in Monaco called De l'or Verte. Everyone in the nation watched the show, whether they wanted to admit to it or not. Perhaps it was the indulgent storylines or the old French fashions that kept people tuned in, but Toshiko had a hunch that it was due to the very attractive and exceedingly popular stars, American transplant, Jack Harkness, and Welsh leading lady, Gwen Cooper.
“As a child, I was encouraged by my parents to attend acting classes at my local community center. And from there, my teachers urged my parents to send me to study with the leading artists in Chicago. I studied all the different styles: Shakespeare, Musical Theatre, Method, Ute Hagen… I took to them all!”
Toshiko tossed back the last of her champagne and began to straighten out her cocktail dress, half of her attention still on Jack Harkness’s charming life story. She didn’t need to concentrate too much. She was the executive producer of his show for the past six years, after all, and he was a good friend. She knew that after Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Harkness sent their son to live with his family back in the U.K., not because he was an acting prodigy, but because he was an active troublemaker who cost his parents a lot of money and heartache. They hoped the change of scenery would snap their boy out of his destructive path of attention seeking and bright lights. Much to their disappointment, Jack, at the age of thirteen, auditioned for The Dueling Cavalier and was cast as the teenage son of the leading character. He’d been there ever since, taking time to continue his studies of theatre and even do a little stage work.
But, as he grew up on the soap, his fan base grew frenzied. They loved Jack’s antics, the gossip and intrigue. And Jack gave them more than they could have wished for, all within contractual obligations; only once or twice did someone need to be paid off to keep quiet. Oh yes, she knew Jack’s true story, but she never missed an opportunity to hear him wax poetic about his American upbringing and transfer to the U.K. After all, his embellished version was what the public wanted.
Toshiko smiled as she pressed her hands against the stiff silk bodice of her dress, making sure the pleats were lying correctly. This night was incredibly important for the studio and for her show. If all went well at the gala, she could make her surprise announcement!
“And through it all, there was always one person by my side.”
Toshiko looked up at the screen and had to sigh at the smug look on Gwen Cooper’s face. “He’s not talking about you,” Toshiko reprimanded her TV. “He’s talking about – ”
“Owen Harper! We grew up together, worked together for years.” Said man entered the screen for a brief moment before being nudged away by Gwen.
Satisfied that she looked well enough to step out of her limo, Tosh allowed herself another glance at Gwen. The woman was a decent actress, but Toshiko still spotted the disappointment on the young Welshwoman’s face as Jack spoke highly of his friend and their co-star. When would she learn? Never. And that was one of the reasons the fan base was so large. No matter how many times Jack told the public he and Gwen were just good friends, Gwen would turn her doe eyes up to him, blush and Jack, good-natured man that he was, would simply smile and suspicion would remain. It made everyone that much more wealthy.
Toshiko turned the television off, took a deep breath, then tapped on the dividing window between her and her driver. The driver quickly exited the car and opened the door for the producer. Toshiko elegantly stepped out of the limo and smiled at the many cameras. She started towards the Millbank Tower entrance and took pleasure in the security measures that were quite visible. The crowds were enthusiastic, a bit deafening, but they weren’t unruly yet. Toshiko easily made her way to the front of the building, stopping along the way for the paparazzi’s chance to take photographs of her exclusive Alexander McQueen dress.
“Hey, Tosh,” Owen Harper greeted his boss with a slight eye roll.
Toshiko didn’t take his informality personally; she knew he was bemoaning his best mate’s long speech when all he wanted to do was raid the bar awaiting him 29 floors above them. “You look nice tonight, Owen,” she said, giving him a once over before adjusting the lapel of his blazer. “To what do we owe the pleasure?”
Owen grumbled and whispered a curse before turning to look at Jack, who finally seemed to be wrapping up his interview. “Captain Charisma over there sent Andy round earlier today. Bloody git failed to tell me his basset hound was going to dress me tonight.”
Toshiko mentally thanked Jack’s earnest assistant, Andy Davidson, for getting Owen out of his flat looking slightly better than an unmade bed. Owen was a very attractive man in his own way, but was even more so when he was washed, brushed and polished.
“Poor Andy. You didn’t bruise him, did you?”
“Nah, then I would’ve had to deal with Harkness himself. Speaking of, what the hell is he still going on about?” Owen and Toshiko turned their attention back to the cameras that surrounded Jack and Gwen.
“Dignity. Always dignity.” Jack smiled and nodded to the cameras and turned to wave at the fans. The noise swelled as Jack and Gwen, the latter hanging onto the former’s arm, waved to the crowd. They walked over to the ropes to sign a few autographs and pose for more pictures with fans.
Owen smirked. “That’s a new one. ‘Dignity. Always dignity.’ Where does he come up this stuff?”
“I think he’s been spending too many nights at the pub with the writers.”
“Bollocks. If they wrote half as well as Jack – ”
“Remember who signs your paycheck, Owen,” Toshiko warned.
Owen gave a mock bow and held out his arm to the woman. “Oh, forgive my manners, Ms. Sato. Please allow me to escort you to the lifts, where I insist you scold me for such insubordination.”
“You could use a good tongue lashing,” Toshiko commented as she took the proffered arm and they walked inside.
“I probably do, Tosh. Just not from you,” Owen replied, turning her comment into an innuendo as he frequently did.
The words stung a little, more and more each time. Toshiko squashed down the feeling, though; it was all part of their game. They’d been playing it since Toshiko took over as producer and Owen discovered that she wasn’t the type to shag just for fun.
When the pair arrived at the lifts that would take them to the party at Altitude 360˚, they heard the cries of the fans reach deafening octaves! Quickly turning, they saw a wave of people crash around Jack; if it weren’t for his height, Toshiko would have lost sight of the man. He tried to pry off the many hands that held him, grabbed and squeezed him, but it was no use! The situation had quickly gotten out of control.
Toshiko thought about letting security handle the dispute; that was what they were paid so well for. But, when she saw Jack flail his arms helplessly, she quickly pulled Owen out the door to start damage control.
“Grab Gwen!” Toshiko ordered the man at her side. Owen ran to do so without question or comment.
The guards and coppers heaved bodies away from the star, but still couldn’t get to Jack. Tosh began to worry about people being trampled to death, all so they could touch Jack Harkness! She hadn’t seen a crowd lose control like this is years! As she neared the group, more reporters and photographers pushed their way into the mess, bright flashes blinding everyone.
“Don’t go any farther, Ms. Sato,” one of the guards told her. “We’ll have this settled soon enough. The coppers have called for riot vans. Should be here soon.”
“Wonderful. Look, I’d appreciate it if you could try to get Mr. Harkness out of there before the vans come. Once the fans see them, there will be panic.”
“Right, Ms. Sato. We’re doing the best we can.”
“I know you are.”
“Tosh, get Gwen upstairs would you?” Owen asked. The actor was obviously out of breath as he pulled a disgruntled Gwen Cooper over to Toshiko.
The producer looked at the pale face and angry eyes of her leading lady. Whether she was upset at having to fight the crowds or that others were touching Jack more than she ever did, Toshiko couldn’t guess.
“I’ll stay here and get Jack.”
“Fine,” Tosh grumbled. “Just clean him up before you come upstairs, please. And make sure he doesn’t punch anyone. The last thing we need is someone filing a complaint.” She may have appeared calm and collected, but inside Toshiko Sato was fuming; her perfect evening was slowly going downhill. As she and Gwen walked to the lifts, Toshiko took out her mobile and called her assistant. “Mary, is everything going well up there? I need you to assemble the PR team now and tell them to be ready for my call in ten minutes. I’m on my way up.”
CHAPTER 1: FIT AS A FIDDLE
Jack Harkness liked to think of himself as a nice guy. He was extremely wealthy and famous, the envy of everyone he met. But, he was gracious to his fans and always tried to make them feel appreciated, which they were. He had a wonderful group of friends, most of whom liked him for him, or at least he hoped so. Yes, he had some troubles while growing up and few unfortunate situations in his twenties, but for the most part, he was a nice person to be around. Which was why he was currently trying not to throw punches and kick the unruly mob that had descended on him.
He tried reasoning with them, but from the glazed eyes and red faces he saw, there was no way that was going to work. So, he pushed away and plucked himself from their grasp, slowly making his way to the edge of the mass.
He vaguely heard the voice of his best friend shouting his name, but Owen couldn’t get near him. The police were having trouble getting near him. He was on his own. Ducking down, he continued to push through the people, looking like an American football player making his way across the field. The new position seemed to work, although it did give a few lustful fans the chance to brush against his arse. But Jack tried not to think about it. All he wanted to do was get out of this mess and enjoy the party. It was a special night and he had inadvertently turned it into a spectacle. Tosh was going to murder him.
Can’t take me anywhere, Jack sighed to himself.
Finally, he saw a policeman in front of him. Jack reached out and grabbed the extended hand. With a bit of effort, he made his way out of the crush of people and to a few more police, who immediately put themselves between the star and the fans.
As Jack caught his breath, he felt something buzz in his pocket. Digging out his mobile and seeing the name on the screen, he pressed ANSWER.
“Owen! Christ!” Jack exclaimed.
“Jack! Are you okay, mate? You made it out of there?” Owen asked.
“Yeah, just. That was exciting,” Jack chuckled.
“Exciting? You were just mobbed by half of London.”
“I know. Exciting.” Jack started to laugh, partially in relief and partially out of his surprise. After all the years of performing, it was his first mob. He felt a bit like Rudy Valentino, but alive, thankfully!
“You bloody bastard. The riot van just pulled in and you’re having a laugh. You’re enjoying this!”
“I didn’t say I enjoyed it, just that it was exciting. I mean, now that I’m out of there, you can kinda see – ”
“No you can’t, Harkness. Look, why don’t you get one of your guards to escort you back inside. Tosh and Gwen are up here and the party’s in full swing.”
“Yeah, alright. I’ll use the side entrance. Get one of the boys to stand nearby.”
“Fine, but make sure he’s just on guard. No time for anything else.”
Jack pretended to look disappointed; his trademark pout on full display.
As if Owen could see Jack’s face, he replied, “You know that doesn’t work on me, Harkness.” He then hung up.
Jack asked one of the men who pulled him from the crowd to take him back inside. However, once there, Jack started to get a sinking feeling in his stomach. Coming off the adrenaline high, he thought. A cold sweat spread across his brow and his breath caught in his throat.
“You alright, sir?” the guard asked.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” he lied.
“You don’t look well.”
Jack laughed. “Thanks for that. Look, I might just step back out for some air.” Or to be sick.
“You sure about that, sir? There might still be a good deal of people out there.”
Jack looked around and saw a helpful sign on the wall. “I’ll use the service door. Won’t be anyone there at this time of night, I reckon. You can stay here if you want. Or better yet, can you go up to the 29th floor and hunt down my assistant, Mr. Andy Davidson? Red hair, Welsh, probably fidgeting, wondering when I’m going to show up. Send him down to me, would you?”
“Very well, Mr. Harkness. I’m on it.”
Jack turned and walked down the narrow hallway to the service door. He pushed the metal door open with more force than he intended, his mind still on the mob from earlier. Immediately, he realized his mistake as a loud curse filled the air.
“Fuck! What is wrong with you?!”
Jack pulled back the door and saw a man in a suit bent over and clutching his head, hissing in pain. “Shit, I’m so sorry,” Jack exclaimed. “I didn’t think – ”
“Obviously not! Do you often throw metal doors open without regard to who might be on the other side?” the man growled through clenched teeth.
Jack silently remarked that, yes, metaphorically, he did do that. However, to the injured person in front of him he said, “I was trying to get away from someone, well someones really and you got in the way – ”
“Got in the way?!”
“Let me see the damage.” Jack bent down and took away the hand that covered the man’s face, already thinking of how much this was going to cost him, at hospital and in the press. As the man righted himself, Jack gasped; the man looked quite young and gorgeous and very angry! Jack couldn’t help but smile. “Hi.”
The man rolled his eyes, but responded. “Hi. You can let go of my hand now; you didn’t smack it with the door.”
Jack did as asked while assessing the fine specimen. Oh, he was delectable. Welsh, from the strong accent, tall, dark hair, clear blue eyes, full lips drawn into a sneer and creamy pale skin that Jack had accidently marred. “Sorry again. And I seem to have drawn first blood, so to speak.” Jack reached into the breast pocket of his jacket and retrieved a fine white handkerchief. He reached out to blot the small drips of blood on the young man’s forehead, but said man reared back away from him. “I won’t hurt you, I promise.”
“Where was that promise two minutes ago?”
Jack held out the fabric to the man. “I hadn’t had the pleasure of meeting you then, Mr.?”
“Jones, Ianto Jones,” the man replied, taking the handkerchief and placing it on his brow. He hissed again.
“Just let me.” Jack took over cleaning Ianto’s brow. It really wasn’t much of an injury, but Jack never minded getting up close and personal with someone so attractive. And despite Owen’s warning about the time, Jack thought that he might be able to squeeze in a few moments with this Ianto Jones, and maybe squeeze a few other things as well!
“Please tell me I don’t have to go to A&E,” Ianto groaned.
“You don’t have to go to A&E,” Jack parroted with a laugh.
“I think your laughter’s misplaced, sir.”
Jack took away the handkerchief and stared into Ianto’s blue eyes. “Sir?”
Ianto shrugged. “I’ve had the good manners to give my name, but you haven’t, sir. Would you prefer if I called you my assailant?”
Jack was really starting to enjoy this snarky attitude. It was a fun change! But, could this man really not know who he was? Judging by his appearance, Ianto Jones completely fit into one of his key T.V. demographics, young 22-28 year old, white, middle to upper class men. “Don’t you recognize me?”
“Well, I’ve been told that I look even better in person than on the television,” Jack smirked. Ianto again rolled his eyes; an interesting personality quirk, Jack thought.
“I see you’re not short on modesty. And I don’t watch much telly.”
Before Jack could insist further that Ianto Jones must know who he was, the service door swung open and hit the celebrity’s back. Jack stumbled forward into Ianto before turning around to see who hit him. “Andy!”
“I’m so sorry, Mr. Harkness!!” the young redhead apologized. “I didn’t know you were behind the door!”
“Seems to be a common theme for the evening,” Ianto muttered.
“Are you hurt, sir? Or are you…” the young man’s voice trailed off and he took in Jack’s closeness to the other Welshman. “Busy?”
Realizing where the intruder’s mind was going, Ianto stepped away from Jack. “No, he’s certainly not.”
Jack pouted. “Don’t protest too hard, Jones.” A loud beep sounded and Jack turned towards his assistant.
Andy tapped a small device in his ear. “Yes, yes, I’ve found him, Mr. Harper. I’m bringing him up now… No, I won’t lose him, sir… I’ll tell him, Owen!”
Jack groaned and leaned back against the cement wall. All he wanted was a few minutes! Jack knew it wasn’t Owen’s fault; he probably held out as long as he could. But, even the caustic actor couldn’t stand up against both Toshiko and Gwen if they wanted to get to Jack.
“Mr. Harkness, we need to get going.”
“In a minute, Andy.”
“Jack, please don’t send me back there alone. They will eat me alive!”
“Andy! Please, just wait inside for a moment. Just inside that door. Make sure no one else barrels out here.”
Andy regarded his employer, who looked a bit frazzled, and then looked to the young man beside him. He had an unreadable expression on his face, but it wasn’t cold like it had been when Andy first walked outside. The assistant nodded and retreated inside.
Jack released a sigh of relief before turning to Ianto, a sheepish look on his face. “That was Andy.”
“Your minder?” Ianto ventured.
“He’s great really. And he always has my best interests at heart. Can’t fault him for that, can I? Even if I want to.”
“I don’t envy him. I imagine you’re a lot to put up with.”
“For a man who claims not to know who I am, you sure assume a great deal about me.”
“I know who you are.” Jack raised his eyebrows in question. “I’m not stupid; I was angry. I may not watch that much telly, but there really is no escaping you, Jack Harkness.”
“But, really, why would you want to?” Jack leered at Ianto. Then he flashed his signature bright white smile, which never failed to charm those around him. It was a smile that never fully reached his eyes, but that dazzled. However, Ianto wasn’t dazzled. He frowned and rolled his eyes again. “That is the third time you’ve done that, you know? Roll your eyes at me. Are you still angry at me?”
“Not angry, just disappointed.”
“Are we still talking about the door incident, Jones?”
“You’re nothing but a shadow.”
“Excuse me?” Jack asked.
“I saw you at the Globe one summer, years ago. You did Henry IV and Much Ado About Nothing. You were brilliant.”
“And then you and Owen Harper did Merrily We Roll Along in the West End.”
“Oh yeah! That was a fun time. I remember once, right before a matinee, Owen – ”
“I remember watching you sing and thinking to myself, ‘Why is Harkness stuck on that stupid show? Why?’”
“Did you come up with an answer?” Jack wondered, his bravado masking his upset. The physical appeal of Ianto Jones was being overshadowed by his little speech.
“Only the obvious—fame, money, celebrity. That’s the trouble with T.V., isn’t it? It’s a cheap form of entertainment, but so accessible and it pays so well. You were something on that stage. But now, you’re a shadow. Of yourself, of what you were, of who you could have been. ”
“And who are you to give such an opinion?” Jack snapped.
“Someone who knows the value of performance.”
“Oh, do forgive me, Mr. Jones. I wasn’t aware I was in the presence of ‘someone who knows’! How wrong of me not to acknowledge you instantly upon our meeting,” Jack simpered and mocked while he bowed to Ianto. Who the hell did this kid think he was, calling the biggest star in the U.K. a shadow! “I should leave your presence before my darkness taints your spotlight. Farewell, fair critic.” Jack opened the door with a flourish and a loud yelp was heard as Andy tumbled to the pavement, his support having been removed.
Ianto couldn’t help but laugh at the poor assistant who unknowingly ruined his boss’s overly dramatic exit. Not that Ianto cared how Jack left their tête-à-tête, so long as he left. They say never meet your idols…
Jack scowled at a laughing Ianto, stepped over Andy’s scrambling form and disappeared into the building. He heard his assistant jogging after him, but Jack refused to pay him any attention until they were standing in front of the bank of lifts waiting to take them to the 29th floor.
“I’m sorry, Jack. I didn’t mean to embarrass you in front of… that man.”
“Don’t worry about it, Andy. He wasn’t anyone. No one important.” But, the Welshman’s words had stung. She speaks poniards “’And every word stabs.’”
“Excuse me, sir?” Andy asked as they stepped into the lift.
“Oh, just quoting out loud,” Jack shrugged. “Much Ado About Nothing.”
“Shakespeare, yes? You used to do that before!” Andy smiled proudly.
As the lift rose and each passing floor was marked with a loud ping, Jack pushed all thoughts of Ianto Jones to the back of his mind. Instead, he focused on the fun that he would have that night. When the door finally opened to the extravagant party, the Harkness smile was fully in place. This was more like it!