Title: Wild Ride – Sequel to ‘This Is Not Good!’
Characters/Pairings: Jack/Ianto, OCs.
Word Count: 2415
Summary: Crossing Cardiff at night by rat was certainly one of the strangest adventures Jack and Ianto had ever experienced…
Warnings: Blatant silliness.
Written For: My cottoncandy_bingo square Adventure/Quest.
Beta: Thanks to the lovely tardisjournal, who did battle with this monster and helped me figure out where to split it so it would fill three prompts. I couldn’t have done it without you!
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood or any of the characters. Which is sad.
Even riding, the journey across Cardiff was a long one; Jack and Ianto were both hungry as they’d missed dinner through being unconscious. It was a good thing they hadn’t booked a table. ‘Sorry we missed our reservation, we were knocked out and miniaturised,’ probably wouldn’t be an acceptable excuse at most of Cardiff’s more high-class restaurants.
Steering Murray was a bit of a battle too; he kept getting sidetracked, presumably by enticing smells. Pulling the reins was making Ianto’s arms and shoulders ache. He estimated that after an hour of travelling by rat, they were still only a third of the way to the Plass.
“I can smell chips,” said Jack from over Ianto’s shoulder. “I’m starving, I’d kill for some chips.”
It was almost closing time at the chippie. Few people were about, but Ianto spotted one young couple sitting on a bench by a bus stop, presumably waiting for their bus, their supper forgotten beside them. They were too busy making out to pay attention to their surroundings. He pointed them out to Jack.
“Maybe if we’re careful we could sneak a couple of chips away from them without anyone noticing.”
“I like the way you think, Mr Jones! Better find somewhere to park our valiant steed before we indulge in a spot of petty theft.”
Ianto tethered Murray securely to a bush behind the low wall the bench was situated against. The bushes made climbing to the top of the wall simple and from there it was easy to get on the seat of the bench. Pulling a roll of miniaturised bin bags from his coat pocket, Ianto tore off several and busied himself with getting them open.
Jack was amused.
“I know you like to keep things clean and tidy, but do you routinely carry rubbish bags everywhere?” he whispered, grinning.
“I didn’t know what the Rift had dropped in the alley, thought they might be useful so I grabbed them out of the car,” Ianto answered quietly. “I’m glad I did now.” He handed Jack a couple of bags. “Here, one chip each should be enough for a feast given our current size. Pick smallish chips and put one in each of these then we can lower them to the ground without them getting dirty. We can drop a couple of loose chips down for Murray too; I doubt that he’ll mind a bit of dirt on his dinner.”
Checking that the coast was clear and that the young couple were still occupied, Jack slid carefully onto the bench seat and opened the Styrofoam container. Pulling his gloves off, he shoved a large chip across the gap to Ianto, who dropped it down for Murray, then returned to collect their own food.
Meanwhile, Jack was busying himself with selecting a couple of chips for their meal and tucking them into the bags. Using the plastic fork, he managed to pry open a piece of battered fish and broke a couple of good-sized flakes off, packing them in with the chips and passing both bags across to Ianto. Two more chips followed for Murray, then he closed the box to keep the rest of the food warm. It looked less suspicious that way. He slid back onto the wall and climbed down to the ground, reaching back up so Ianto could pass the bags of food down to him before following.
Soon they were settled on a dead twig, tucking into fish and giant chips as long as their arms.
“Fish as well as chip!” Ianto exclaimed happily. “You did well, oh mighty hunter, this is quite the feast! And it’s still hot.”
“I aim to please,” Jack smirked with a wink.
“Pity we don’t have anything to drink, I could really do with a coffee to keep me awake about now.”
“Tired?” Jack put his arm around Ianto, pressing a kiss into his hair and Ianto leaned against him with a sigh.
“Yeah, it’s been a long day already, and it’s not over yet.” He checked his watch. “It’s already gone 2 am and we’re barely halfway to the Hub. We should get moving again soon.”
Once they’d finished eating, Jack tied the tops of the bags securely so they could take the rest of their food with them, just in case they needed it, then they mounted Murray, setting off once more towards the Hub. Thankfully, the roads were getting quieter as the night wore on. There were a couple of major roads to cross along their route that would have been hazardous at any other time, but now traffic was light they were able to scamper across without risking their lives.
“I feel like I’m in an episode of The Borrowers; it’s sort of fun,” Ianto chuckled as they cut through back gardens astride their trusty steed, slipping through gaps in hedges and sliding under fences, scurrying past toys that looked like they belonged to giants. It was weird, but he was finding the adventure quite exciting now. The food had improved his mood as well as giving him some much-needed energy while the mild weather and clear sky meant that the journey was almost pleasant. They’d grown accustomed to riding too, having found their balance, though Ianto suspected they’d both be rather saddle-sore the next day.
Sitting behind Ianto, arms around his lover’s waist, Jack smiled at the enthusiasm in the other man’s voice.
“If we can keep this pace up, we should reach the Plass in a couple more hours. I wonder if any of the others will have arrived at the Hub by the time we get there,” he mused.
“Have you given any thought to how we’ll get in?” Ianto asked. He didn’t relish the thought of being stuck outside for the rest of the night, waiting for the team to arrive in the morning.
“That shouldn’t be a problem; everything we have with us is still in working order despite being miniaturised, so we should be able to operate the invisible lift using my Vortex Manipulator.”
Ianto was a little embarrassed he hadn’t thought of that.
“Good thinking. That’ll at least get us inside the Hub; then we can find the device that caused our predicament and hopefully work out how to reverse it. Maybe Tosh is already working on it.”
“At almost three in the morning? Doubtful. Even Tosh isn’t that much of a workaholic! Besides, she doesn’t even know we’ve been shrunk so from her point of view, there’s no urgent rush to figure out what the device is.”
They were still discussing possible strategies when the cat spotted them. Murray was scampering along through a rather overgrown garden when suddenly a lithe, lean shape loomed in front of them, sleek and menacing. A house cat rather than an alley cat then, not that it made all that much of a difference. Cats being natural hunters, any cat at all was bound to be bad news for two five inch tall people travelling by rat. For the first time since the alley where they’d met their mount, the two miniature men realised they could be in serious trouble.
Murray tried to dodge, but the cat was too fast for him, effectively blocking their way and leaving them with no clear escape route. Jack decided it was time to go on the offensive.
“Sorry, kitty, but we’re not on the menu tonight,” he snapped, leaping from Murray’s back to confront the monster.
“Jack, be careful!”
“Relax, Ianto, I’ve battled far more formidable foes!” and with that, Jack lunged at the cat, zapping it in the paw with Ianto’s stun gun. Hissing and spitting, the cat jumped back, shaking its paw, tail twitching back and forth in anger.
Jack put the stun gun on a higher setting and stood his ground. Murray, with Ianto still aboard, hunkered down behind him, poised and ready to flee if a chance presented itself. Cautiously, belly low to the ground, the cat slunk forward again, this time getting zapped on the tip of its nose. That did the trick. Wailing like a banshee, the supposedly fearless predator turned tail and fled.
“Hah! Take that! Not used to having your prey fight back, are ya?” Jack shouted after it. “Coward!”
He twirled the stun gun Western style and dropped it into his coat pocket, smirking as he turned back to Ianto. Sweeping a low bow, he declared in a suitably dramatic voice:
“The foe has been vanquished, my liege!”
Ianto put one hand over his heart and fluttered his eyelashes.
“My hero, how can I ever thank you?”
“If you would but grant me the boon of a kiss from your tender lips, it would be more than your humble servant could hope for!”
“Approach, noble knight, that I may grant your request.”
Ianto leaned down from Murray’s back and proceeded to kiss Jack senseless. Pulling away a little while later, he licked his lips.
“You taste of chips.”
“So do you.”
Looking at each other, they both burst out laughing.
“I think the moonlight’s making me a bit giddy,” Ianto said with a grin, wiping tears of laughter from his eyes. “Either that or I’m slightly hysterical from narrowly avoiding being eaten by a cat. Let’s get out of here before kitty comes back with reinforcements.”
“Do cats do that?”
“No idea, but I don’t plan on sticking around to find out. I didn’t survive being captured by cannibals just to become cat food!”
“Yeah, that’s not a fate anyone would wish for.” Jack scrambled back aboard and wrapped his arms around Ianto’s waist.
“Onward, noble steed! Make haste, we must reach the fortress before sunrise!”
Murray glanced back and squeaked indignantly, making Ianto snigger.
“Well, okay, just do the best you can,” Jack told the rat.
Seemingly mollified, Murray set off at a steady lope, steered by Ianto, through a hedge, along a path and out onto the street. They paused at the kerb, checking for traffic and other dangers, before scampering to the other side and into the welcome concealment of some bushes. Being out in the open made them all feel horribly exposed but sometimes it was unavoidable. Ianto thought ahead. There would be precious little cover once they got close to the Hub, and more chance of being spotted by anyone who might be out late after a night out. Thankfully it was mid-week; if it had been the weekend, they would probably have had to make their way past crowds of drunken partygoers, which could have proved tricky. Hopefully there wouldn’t be too many people still out and about in the early hours.
The rest of their ride to the Plass went relatively smoothly, loping past buildings and homes with their darkened windows like enormous eyes silently observing their progress. There was only one hairy moment, when they spotted a fox trotting along the pavement on the opposite side of the road. It looked like it was following a scent trail though, and thankfully didn’t even glance in their direction. Ianto could have sworn that even Murray breathed a sigh of relief when the urban predator disappeared down an alley while it was still some distance from them. That was a narrow squeak indeed!
Pausing in the last bit of cover for several hundred metres, the trio of adventurers stared out across the vast open spaces of the Roald Dahl Plass towards the water tower. There weren’t a lot of places they could hide out there, just a few benches and litter bins. It was a daunting prospect.
Ianto checked his watch: it was almost 4.30 am and already the sky was lightening in the east. Dawn wasn’t far off, and in daylight they’d stand little chance of making it to the invisible lift without attracting attention. Outside the Millennium Centre, a small group of late-night revellers were loitering, smoking cigarettes, talking and laughing. Seeing them brought back memories of nights out with friends, what seemed a lifetime ago. Those had been fun, carefree times, pre-Torchwood, yet despite everything that had happened in the intervening years, Ianto was surprised to realise that he wouldn’t trade places even if he could. He wondered if that meant he was growing up.
They skirted the edge of the Plass, keeping close to buildings for as long as possible, until Ianto judged they had the clearest run possible directly to the paving slab of the invisible lift. Jack stood up on Murray’s back to make a last check for potential threats; he couldn’t see anything obvious, so he slid back down, took a tight grip and gave the order.
“This is it, boys, no turning back now! Full speed ahead: CHARGE!”
Ianto urged Murray into the rat equivalent of a gallop and they swept onto the Plass, going flat out, Murray’s claws scrabbling for purchase on the paving slabs, Jack and Ianto crouching low to cut down wind resistance while still keeping a watch to both sides for danger.
Across the Plass, the revellers spotted movement in the dimness and Ianto had to chuckle as he heard one of the group exclaiming to his friend in an awed voice:
“Shit, Huw, look at that hedgehog go! You’d never think those little buggers could move that fast, must have the wind behind it!”
“I think he needs his eyes testing,” he muttered to Jack.
“Sounds like he’s drunk enough to be seeing pink elephants,” Jack replied. Ianto could tell he was grinning even without looking. “Mistaking us for a speeding hedgehog is the least of his problems!”
Murray leapt onto the pavement that surrounded the water tower with one mighty bound, scampering onwards as fast as he was able until Ianto pulled on the shoelace reins, slowing him to a trot. Three more paving slabs, two more, then they were there on the invisible lift and Murray stood panting, head drooping. Jack and Ianto slid off his back, patting him and praising him for his courage and for carrying them to safety.
“I’m going to get you the biggest and best rat house money can buy,” Ianto promised. “You’ll live in luxury for the rest of your days.” He scratched Murray behind his ears as Jack flipped open his Vortex Manipulator and the lift started its descent into the depths of the Hub. Ianto thought it had never seemed such a long way down. “I really hope Myf doesn’t see us! We wouldn’t stand a chance.”