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Ianto Little Smile

September 2023



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It Happened One Day

Ficlet: Rhubarb

Title: Rhubarb
Author: badly_knitted
Characters: Ianto, Jack, Owen, Tosh, Team, OCs.
Rating: G
Spoilers: Nada.
Summary: After dealing with the Rift’s latest gift, Ianto finds Jack pondering the age-old mystery of rhubarb.
Word Count: 518
Written For: My own prompt ‘Any, any, “Is rhubarb a fruit or a vegetable?”, at fic_promptly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.

They’d been in ASDA after hours, because D.I. Kathy Swanson had called them in to help with a peculiar situation. The hands of the night staff who were re-stocking the shelves had inexplicably turned into lobster claws, and as with all weird occurrences, the Torchwood team had seemed better equipped than the police to discover and deal with whatever was causing the problem. It had turned out to be nothing worse than an alien practical joke toy, and Tosh had soon restored the unfortunate staff members’ hands to normal. A quick dose of Retcon courtesy of Owen, and they were left believing that a disgruntled customer had slipped a hallucinogenic substance into their break-time drinks.

“You’ll be fine; just go home and get some sleep,” Owen told them, ushering them out while the rest of the team cleaned up the mess of dented tins, torn packets, and damaged produce. They’d donate most of what they had to remove from sale to a charity that provided meals for the homeless, although some things would have to be thrown away.

Having finished checking the canned goods, Ianto went to find Jack in the produce section. Torchwood’s leader was standing in the aisle, a stick of rhubarb in his hand, and was staring at it intently, a slight frown on his face.

“That’s a stick of rhubarb, Jack, you’ve seen it before. It goes in the box over there, with its friends.”

“I know that, I was just wondering… Is rhubarb a fruit or a vegetable? I’ve never been able to figure that one out. I mean, it tastes fruity, but…”

“Technically, if it’s a leaf, a stalk, or a root, it’s a vegetable. Fruits are generally the parts of a plant that contain the seeds, and not all of them are edible. It’s just that some fruits work better as vegetables and vice versa. As you just pointed out, rhubarb does have a fruity flavour. It wouldn’t go too well with the Sunday roast. You wouldn’t want to eat it with gravy any more than you’d want to make tomatoes or cucumbers into a pie and serve them with custard.”

“Rhubarb and gravy…” Jack pulled a disgusted face. “No, definitely better with custard, although now you mention it, tomatoes and cucumbers might work well in a nice savoury pie or flan... I might try that sometime.” He put the stick of rhubarb where it belonged, a bit reluctantly, Ianto thought. “First rhubarb of the season; I’ll have to pop back first thing in the morning and get some, maybe whip up a pie for dessert.”

Ianto nodded. “You do make very good pies. Are we finished here?”

“I think so.” Jack took one last look around and headed towards the door, coat flaring out behind him. He decided not to mention the bag of grapes he’d stuffed in his pocket. He would have helped himself to the rhubarb too, but Ianto had shown up while he was still trying to decide if he could get away with hiding a few sticks up his sleeves. Ah well. Better luck next time.

The EndSequel: 'A Bunch Of Grapes'



Naughty Jack, but he's earned a few perks. An odd fact. You can hear rhubarb growing. I was taken to experience this years ago, in a big shed
He is a bit naughty at times, but rhubarb can be very tempting eve if grapes are easier to conceal. At least he was stealing healthy food rather than chocolate and sweets.

How strange! We used to have a rhubarb patch in the garden, but I never thought to listen to it.

Thank you!
This was so weird about hearing rhubarb that I had to go google it and sure enough,

That would be most disconcerting!
I'm waiting for someone to bring out a Rhubarb song CD. You can get whale song, so why not?

Thank you I'll check out that link!
An amusing exchange. Ianto certainly has the upper hand and Jack is gracious in defeat
There really wasn't much Jack could do after getting caught!

Thank you!