Characters: Jack, Nosy, Andy, Ianto.
Summary: A terrible crime has been committed and Jack is certain he knows who is responsible.
Word Count: 1349
Written For: Challenge 99: Innocent at beattheblackdog.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
“Bad Fluff!” Jack said sternly, glaring down at Nosy and shaking a finger at it.
Nosy was confused. It had no idea what Jack was on about, just that he was very cross.
“I thought you knew better than to just help yourself to things that don’t belong to you!” Jack continued.
Ah, that helped a bit. It was now clear that someone had taken something of Jack’s without asking. No wonder Jack was angry. Whatever that something was however, it hadn’t been Nosy who’d taken it, and yet for some unknown reason, Nosy was the one getting the blame, which was more than a little unfair. On TV crime shows, people were considered innocent until proven guilty. Shouldn’t it be that way in real life too?
“I’m very disappointed in you! No cookies for you for the rest of the week!”
Well, Nosy was disappointed in Jack too; it didn’t like being shouted at for something it hadn’t done, and it certainly didn’t deserve to be punished for someone else’s crime. But how could it tell Jack that?
“What’s going on?” Andy asked, coming into Jack’s office. “Why are you shouting at Nosy?”
“It took something it shouldn’t have,” Jack said, hands on hips.
“It did? That’s a bit out of character, isn’t it? What precisely are we talking about?”
“My gingerbread man! The one Ianto got for me from the bakers! It was on my desk, in its paper bag, and now it’s gone!”
“And you have proof? You actually saw Nosy take it, did you?”
“Well no, not exactly, but I nipped to the loo and when I got back Nosy was here and my gingerbread man wasn’t.”
“That’s circumstantial evidence, not proof,” Andy said, falling back on his police training. “I never made detective, but I do know you don’t charge someone with a crime unless you have evidence to back it up. What evidence do you have?”
“What d’you mean?”
“Well, did Nosy have incriminating gingerbread crumbs around its mouth when you came in?”
“Not that I saw…”
“And were there gingerbread crumbs on the floor or on your desk?”
“Well, no, but you know how good Nosy is at hoovering up crumbs. If something’s worth eating, it makes sure not to waste any.”
“That’s not the point here. You didn’t see any crumbs.”
“Whose side are you on?” Jack asked indignantly.
“The side of the truth, of course. Now where was I? Oh yes. You said this alleged gingerbread man was in a paper bag?”
“There was nothing alleged about my gingerbread man! And yes, it was in a paper bag from the bakery.”
“Where is this paper bag now?”
“How should I know?”
“So you haven’t found the empty bag?”
“No. What’s that got to do with anything?” Jack scowled at Andy, but Andy ignored it.
“So not only is your gingerbread man missing, but the bag it was in has disappeared too?”
“And have you ever known Nosy to eat paper bags?”
“Of course not! It’s got better sense than that.”
“So if Nosy ate your gingerbread man, what did it do with the paper bag? Or phrased another way, what does Nosy usually do with any rubbish it finds lying around?”
“It puts it in the bin. What’re you getting at?”
“Is there a paper bag from the bakery in your rubbish bin?”
“I didn’t look.” Jack went around his desk and checked his bin. There were some sweet wrappers, pencil shavings, and a couple of tissues in it, but no paper bag. “Maybe it put the bag in one of the other bins out in the main Hub.”
“But Nosy was in your office when you returned from the loo, am I right?”
“Yes, I already told you that!”
“So, if it ate your gingerbread man then took the incriminating evidence away with it, why did it then return to the scene of the crime?”
“I really don’t know, Andy; you’d have to ask Nosy.”
“Is it possible that someone other than the Fluff took your gingerbread man? Was anyone else seen in the vicinity of your office, perhaps loitering suspiciously?” Andy was quite enjoying demonstrating his interrogation skills.
“Not that I noticed, no.”
“But there is more than one way into you office, isn’t that correct?”
“You know that as well as I do.”
“Then isn’t it possible someone came into your office via another entrance and took your gingerbread man?”
“Why would anyone do that?”
“Because they were hungry, or to teach you a lesson? There are always plenty of possible motives for theft; it’s just a matter of finding the one that fits. Means, motive, and opportunity, Jack; Nosy had the opportunity, but if the gingerbread man was on your desk, a Fluff would have had some difficulties reaching it, and what would be its motive? It’s not greedy and it had already had a good breakfast. It wouldn’t have taken your gingerbread man to hurt you; it doesn’t have a mean bone in its body…”
“Technically it doesn’t have bones at all, just flexible cartilage.”
“Don’t change the subject!” Andy snapped.
“Sorry.” Jack frowned. “Hey, what am I apologising for? I’m the boss! For that matter, why am I standing here letting you interrogate me?”
Andy shrugged. “I’m just trying to help solve the theft and keep you from accusing an innocent Fluff. I mean look at it; does it look guilty to you?”
Jack looked at Nosy, who looked back with wide eyes, the very picture of innocence.
“But if Nosy didn’t take my gingerbread man, and I’m not completely convinced yet that it didn’t, then who did?”
“That’s what I’m trying to determine,” Andy replied.
There was a light rap on Jack’s office door and Ianto poked his head in. “Am I interrupting anything?”
“No, it’s fine, Ianto. Something you needed to see me about?”
“I just thought you might want this back.” Ianto held up a paper bag from the bakery. “Unless you didn’t want it in the first place.”
Jack strode across the office and took the bag, peering into it. “My gingerbread man! What are you doing with it?”
“I’d like to know that myself. It was in the middle of the pile of reports you gave me a bit ago. It’s a good thing George is busy elsewhere today, or it might have ended up being filed under G. You know how efficient he is. Of course, if you didn’t want it you could have just said…”
“Of course I want it! I was saving it to have with my mid-morning coffee.”
“In that case, since it’s getting on for mid-morning, perhaps I’d better go brew some for all of us.” Ianto slipped back out of Jack’s office, making his way down to the kitchen.
“Well, now the crime has been solved, I think you owe someone an apology, don’t you? I’ll leave you to it.” So saying, Andy followed Ianto, leaving Jack and Nosy alone.
Jack put the gingerbread man in its bag back on his desk before kneeling down in front of the Fluff. “I’m sorry I accused you, Nosy, I shouldn’t have jumped to conclusions. I should have known you wouldn’t take anything without asking. And of course you’ll still get your cookies.” Jack stroked the Fluff. “Do you forgive me?”
Never one to hold grudges for long, Nosy hummed and laid its head on Jack’s knee.
“Thank you. I promise I’ll never accuse you of anything again. Well, not unless I know for sure you’re guilty, which amounts to the same thing, really, because of all of us, you’re the least likely to do anything naughty, especially not on purpose.”
Nosy relaxed as Jack stroked it, glad that the ‘crime’ had been solved, nobody was in trouble, and everyone was happy again. After letting Jack pet it for a bit, Nosy slithered away and left him to his work. It wanted to find Andy and thank him for clearing its name. He really had done a very good job, just like on TV!