Characters: Ianto, Jack.
Summary: Ianto awoke expecting to be hung over, but found himself instead with a problem he hadn’t been expecting.
Word Count: 1273
Written For: My own prompt ‘Any, Any, Waking up to find a cat staring at them when they don't own a cat,’ at fic_promptly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC
Ianto stirred groggily and waited for the hangover to hit him; after last night, he was expecting it. He really shouldn’t have let Jack talk him into sampling the alien liquor that had fallen through the Rift, but it had been smooth and mellow, really rather pleasant, a bit like an expensive cognac, and had filled him with a warm glow, so he’d had a second glass, and a third, and… Well, you get the picture. He didn’t actually remember going to bed, but whatever he was lying on certainly felt like his bed, and there was a pillow under his head, so even though he must have been drunk out of his mind, looked like he’d made it. Either that or Jack had dragged him up the stairs, undressed him, and tucked him in.
After a moment Ianto became aware that aside from an odd sensation as if there was a weight sitting on his chest, he felt fine; no headache, no dry mouth, nothing that felt like even the faintest hint of a hangover. Alien alcohol; apparently someone had discovered the trick to removing the hangover from it. Who knew? If he could bottle that idea he’d make a fortune.
He cracked open his eyes cautiously, still half expecting sensitivity to light, or a splitting headache, or some such, but hurriedly shut them again for a completely different reason. Either the booze caused hallucinations, or there was a large silver tabby cat sitting on his chest, staring at him with amber eyes.
He thought things over for a couple of minutes. Could hallucinations be felt? If the answer was no, then he had a problem; it would mean the cat was real, which was all well and good except he didn’t own a cat.
‘Mrow.’ A furry head butted at his chin and paws kneaded his chest; that certainly didn’t feel like a hallucination, and it didn’t sound like one either, unless he was suffering auditory hallucinations as well as visual ones. He opened his eyes again and stared at the cat.
The cat stared back.
There was one possibility he could think of off the top of his head; it wouldn’t be the first time…
“Good morning, sunshine!”
Cats, as far as Ianto knew, didn’t talk, not even cats that used to be people, and certainly not in such a relentlessly cheerful voice. Ianto turned his head; Jack was standing in the bedroom doorway. “Morning. Not sure about the good part yet,” Ianto muttered.
“I was wondering when you’d wake up.” Jack strolled into the room; he was already dressed for work.
“Well now you know. This might be a silly question, but is there a large grey cat sitting on my chest?”
Jack looked at the cat. “Yes. Why?”
“Just checking that I’m not hallucinating.”
“What would make you think that?”
“Oh, I don’t know, maybe the fact that I got sloshed on alien booze last night and I don’t own a cat.”
“You don’t?” Jack sounded surprised.
Ianto rolled his eyes. “Jack, how many nights have you spent here?”
“I don’t know; it’s not like I keep count. A lot.”
“And in all those nights, have you ever seen a cat in here before?”
“Well, no, but you could’ve just got one.”
“Take it from me, I haven’t, and if I had I would have mentioned it.”
“Oh. So whose cat is it?”
“I have no idea.” Carefully Ianto slithered out from under the cat, which simply rolled over on its back, presenting its tummy to be rubbed. Ianto ignored it. “You’re not my cat,” he told it, and left the room, making for the bathroom. Maybe a shower would help.
When he returned to his bedroom, Jack was gone, presumably downstairs, but the cat was still there. Apparently a shower could clear his head but not wash away a mystery cat. Ianto looked over at his bedroom window, which was open; there was a tree outside so maybe the cat had climbed up it and got in that way, in which case it could go out the way it came in. Picking it up, he plonked it on the windowsill. “Out you go.”
Purring, the cat rubbed against him, jumped to the floor, and sauntered over to the bedroom door, looking back at him and meowing to be let out. With a sigh and a shake of his head, Ianto closed and locked the bedroom window then opened the door. The cat slipped through, making for the stairs; Ianto stayed behind in his bedroom to get dressed and then when he was suitably attired for the day ahead, followed. He found Jack in the kitchen, fixing breakfast.
“I let the cat out,” Jack said.
“Good. Thank you.”
“But then it was meowing at the door so I let it back in again.”
“You what?” Was Jack out of his mind?
“Well what else was I supposed to do?”
“Leave it out there and let it go back where it belongs!”
“But what if it doesn’t belong anywhere? What if it’s all alone in the world?” Jack was such a softy
“It looks healthy and well cared for, it must have an owner.” Nevertheless, when the cat wandered up to him and started rubbing against his legs, no doubt covering his trousers with cat hair, Ianto fed it some leftover chicken from last night’s dinner, just so it would leave him alone. Once they’d all eaten, he firmly put the cat back outside before he and Jack left for the Hub.
That night, Ianto went home alone, late, and went straight to bed. Tosh’s Rift predictor had indicated that it could be a busy night so Jack was staying at the Hub and said he’d call if he needed help. As the weather was still quite hot, Ianto opened his bedroom window before going to bed.
The next morning he woke up with a cat sitting on his chest.
“Oh, it’s you again.”
‘Mrow,’ said the cat, rubbing its head against him as it had the previous morning. Obviously it was a creature of habit. Ianto slid out of bed and went for a shower; he had a routine too and he wasn’t about to interrupt it for a cat that wasn’t even his. It was the principle. After they both had breakfast, he put the cat out and washed the dishes.
Before going to the Hub he quickly printed out some notices: Found, grey cat. If you’ve lost one, call… He added his phone number at the bottom, gathered them up and went outside, where he taped them to street lamps and telegraph poles around his neighbourhood. Then he had the last one put up in the window of the newsagents on the corner of his street. If someone had lost the cat, hopefully they’d get in touch so he could return it to them. In the meantime…
“Seems I’ve got a cat,” he told Jack, walking into his lover’s office and sitting on the edge of his desk. “I might not need a cat, I might not want a cat, but apparently the cat has other ideas.” He’d have to take it to the vet and find out if it was microchipped, but if it wasn’t and if nobody claimed it, Ianto supposed it would just have to stay, since it seemed determined to set up housekeeping with him and was so far proving resistant to all his attempts at dissuading it of the notion.
It would probably be a good idea to pick up some basic cat supplies on the way home…
Sequel: 'House Guest'