Characters: Andy, Jack, Ianto, Gwen, Tosh, Owen, OC.
Summary: Andy was looking forward to enjoying his day off until he came across weird happenings at the supermarket.
Word Count: 1653
Written For: Anonymous’s prompt ‘Torchwood, Andy, When the candyfloss in Tesco walked off the shelves, he knew it was going to be an odd day...’ at fic_promptly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
Andy had woken up that morning feeling cheerful and optimistic; the sun was shining, Easter was just around the corner, and he had the day off. Throwing a load of laundry in the washing machine, he had a quick breakfast, grabbed his shopping list, and headed out the door. With any luck he could have his chores finished by lunch and then the rest of the day would be his to do whatever he wanted. On such a beautiful spring day, what could possibly go wrong?
The nearest supermarket was Tesco, so Andy pulled into an empty space in the car park, grabbed a trolley, and headed inside, humming cheerfully under his breath and wondering whether he should get two packets of hot-cross buns or just the one; he wasn’t expecting visitors, but at this time of year you never knew who might drop by and it wouldn’t do to run short. He smiled to himself, amused; it was a refreshing change that the biggest concern in his life right now was baked goods. Maybe he’d treat himself to a chocolate egg too. He loved Easter; so many delicious things to eat!
He was just passing the confectionary aisle when he heard a scream and hurriedly backtracked in case somebody required assistance; good cops were never completely off-duty. What he saw left him torn between doing his civic duty and beating a hasty retreat. He’d always known there was a reason he didn’t like candyfloss, he’d always felt there was something vaguely sinister about it and now he thought maybe he knew what it was, because fluffy spun sugar should not be capable of that…
The packets of candyfloss had vacated their usual shelf, extruding sticky tentacles that reminded Andy of something from that comic-book movie with the big red demon bloke, he forgot what it was called, Hell something or other, was it? Anyway, the candyfloss had an old lady backed up against the shelves at the other side of the aisle and from the look of things he didn’t think it just wanted to give her a friendly hug…
Andy sighed in resignation; looked like it was going to be one of those peculiar days that were so common around here. Just once, he would have liked a nice, relaxing day off, but in Cardiff, days like that were as rare as hen’s teeth.
Other people were staring now, expressions of shock and horror on their faces, but nobody was doing anything about the situation. Most of them were backing away, hoping they wouldn’t be noticed. ‘Down to me then, isn’t it?’ he thought gloomily, a Cardiff policeman’s lot, and all that. Sometimes he wondered if he wouldn’t be better off just moving to Swansea. He bet the cops there never had to deal with unruly confectionary. Abandoning his trolley, he marched towards the candyfloss and the trapped woman.
“Right, you there. Enough of that!” he said firmly, in the tone he used with misbehaving lager louts. “I’m a cop, see? I’ll have you up for disturbing the peace and usin’ threatening behaviour.” He used the toe of his shoe to shove one of the candyfloss creatures to one side so the elderly lady could escape and she scuttled away without a word of thanks, leaving Andy confronted by a good two-dozen menacing, sticky pink… things. Now what was he going to do? Even as he stared at them they seemed to be getting bigger. “Okay, if you just go back where you belong I’ll forget all about this little incident. I’m sure you don’t want trouble any more that I do.” He wasn’t all that sure really, but it sounded good.
‘Famous last words,’ he thought as the candyfloss surged towards him, a seething mass of pink tentacles surrounding him before he could make any move to escape. He probably should’ve known that wouldn’t work.
He could hear the screams of panicked shoppers now as they fled the store in droves and he hoped no one was getting trampled in the mad rush to escape, but it wasn’t like there was anything he could do about it; he had his own problems. Candyfloss didn’t fight fair, it was just too sticky and before long it had him right where it wanted him, completely stuck. He wasn’t sure he wanted to know what would happen next. He tried shouting for help, but he doubted there was anyone left in the store to hear him. Not that he blamed them; he wouldn’t be sticking around himself if he had any choice in the matter.
Silence fell for a while, and then abruptly he heard the sounds of approaching footsteps, and he breathed a sigh of relief; he was pretty sure he knew who that would be, and sure enough, into the confectionary aisle strode Captain Harkness in his poncy coat, the rest of the Torchwood team trailing behind him.
“Well, look who it is! Seems like you’ve got a bit of sticky problem there, PC Davidson!”
“Yeah, why don’t you try doin’ something useful instead of just standin’ there crackin’ bad jokes?” Andy snapped. Harkness was a cocky bastard and a menace to society, but Andy had never been so happy to see anyone in his entire life. He wasn’t about to let Torchwood’s leader know that though.
“Nothing to worry about, Andy. We’ll have you out of here in no time,” Gwen assured him, smiling that smile she used when she wanted people to think they weren’t in deadly danger even though they really were. Still, that was no reason to be rude to his ex-partner, so he smiled down at her.
“That would be good, spun sugar is stronger than you might think; it’s getting a bit hard to breathe.” Swathed in coils of candyfloss and stuck to the shelves, his feet several inches off the ground, he felt like a fly cocooned in spider web and waiting to be eaten. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the sticky stuff was already almost past his shoulders and rapidly tightening around him. He wasn’t sure whether he’d get smothered first or crushed to death. Neither option was particularly appealing.
“Found it, Jack!” One of the team appeared, the pretty Asian woman, and she was holding up something that looked a bit like a remote control.
“Good work, Tosh. Think you can deactivate it?”
“Already working on it.” She set it down on an empty shelf with her back to Andy, doing something to it that he couldn’t see from his position. Then the one in the suit, Ianto, arrived, followed by the other bloke, the snarky Londoner. Both were carrying several large bottles of water. Opening one, Ianto started pouring its contents over Andy’s shoulders. The other bloke followed suit, starting at Andy’s feet.
“Sorry about this; best solution I could come up with on short notice.” Ianto smiled apologetically at Andy. “Good thing about sugar is that it dissolves easily.”
“It’s fine, I’m used to getting wet.”
“Who isn’t?” Ianto’s smile turned wry. “Welsh weather.”
“Always raining,” Andy agreed. He’d always liked Ianto; he was a decent sort. “Still, a bit of wet never hurt anyone.”
Ianto nodded. “Good thing really.”
Candyfloss, on the other hand, didn’t do so well in the wet. Slowly it started to dissolve, dripping stickily onto the floor. It wasn’t giving up without a fight though, reaching out its sticky strands and trying to capture the Torchwood team. Just as a large tentacle of the stuff was about to coil around Captain Harkness, who was attempting to fight off several others, wielding one of those giant lollipops like a tennis racquet, they all suddenly went limp, sagging to the floor.
“Perfect timing!” Harkness tossed the lolly back on the shelf as the coils around Andy gave way and he dropped to the floor in a puddle of sugar water.
“Thanks. I suppose.” He let Ianto give him a hand up. “So, is anyone goin’ to tell me what just happened here?”
“Student prank,” Harkness said. “They doctored the candyfloss and the chemical reaction caused it to expand uncontrollably.”
“That’s bollocks and you know it. It was one of your spooky-dos, wasn’t it? Cardiff gets weirder by the day, but you never tell anyone what’s really goin’ on, like it’s some big secret.”
“It is. Trust me, you’re better off not knowing the truth; it would only keep you awake at night.” Harkness stared him down, arms folded over his chest. He could be quite intimidating when he wanted to be.
Andy was in no mood to get into an argument. “You’ve got that right. So, can I go now or are you goin’ to make me forget about all this?” Andy waved one hand to indicate the mess. “Try to make me believe there was a fire and the sprinklers came on?” He tugged at his wet shirt, unsticking it from his body.
“Would that work?” Harkness leered at him. “Wet is a good look on you.”
“Jack! Time and place!” Ianto rolled his eyes and Harkness turned towards him.
“Well it is! Look at him, more muscles there than I would’ve thought. Those police jackets are deceiving.”
Shaking his head, Andy squelched away in his sodden shoes and left Torchwood to do whatever else they were planning on doing. He had no doubt if they wanted to wipe his memory they’d find a way to do it, and he’d never know, so why worry about it? All he wanted right now was to go home and change into something that wasn’t wet and sticky, and try to salvage what was left of his day off.
He glanced back as he left the supermarket. Bloody Tesco! In future he was doing his weekly shop at ASDA instead. It was a bit further to go, but at least there the candyfloss didn’t try to kill you.