Title: Relatively Quiet
Characters: Jack, Ianto, mentions the team.
Word Count: 678
Summary: Jack’s been away for a couple of days and wants to know what he’s missed.
Written For: Challenge #138: Relative at fan_flashworks.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
A/N: This idea popped into my head as I was getting up this morning, so I wrote it.
Jack dropped his overnight bag on the floor behind his desk and dropped wearily into his chair as Ianto set a steaming mug of coffee in front of him.
“You look like you could use this.”
“Gods yes, you’re a life-saver, Ianto Jones. The last couple of days have been a nightmare. I really hate UNIT conferences, and what they pass off as coffee… Well, it’s a good thing I’m immortal. I don’t know how the military can drink what they serve and still survive.” He picked up the mug of Ianto’s finest brew, inhaling the rich aroma deeply before taking a cautious sip, savouring the taste even though the heat of the liquid almost burned his tongue. “Ahhhh, perfection! There’s no comparison; this is real coffee, what I’ve had to drink the last two days doesn’t even belong in the same category.” Cradling the mug in both hands, Jack leaned back in his chair and stretched his legs out. “Did you miss me?”
“Of course.” Ianto came around the desk to perch on the edge, sipping from his own mug.
What have I missed? Anything good happen while I was away?”
“Oh, you know how it is, same old same old. Actually, everything’s been relatively quiet.”
“Compared to what?”
“Compared to when it’s not quiet.” Ianto smirked over the rim of his mug.
“Report, Mr Jones, what do I need to know?”
“Ah, okay, let’s see.” Ianto tipped his head back, staring sightlessly up at the office ceiling as he gathered his thoughts. “Where to begin? The alien you caught before you left didn’t survive. Cause of death is unknown; it seemed fine, and then it was dead. Owen tried to do an autopsy, but when he cut into it, it melted his scalpel, and then the autopsy table. I had to order a new one. Those things are expensive, put a bit of a dent in our budget for the month, but we can’t manage without it. Owen thinks our atmosphere might have reacted with the creature’s blood, turning it into a metal-eating acid. We managed to neutralise it before disposal so it won’t cause any more damage, but it means we still don’t know anything much about its species, just that its blood is corrosive.”
“Huh. Well, at least if we come across another we’ll know not to cut into it, I guess that’s useful knowledge. What else?”
“Well, Gwen got into quite a violent argument.”
“No idea, actually. Figment of her imagination, according to Owen. The effects of alien hallucinogens can be quite entertaining, although not for the one affected I suppose. It wore off after a couple of hours and she went back to being her normal self. Mostly. She’s still a bit hoarse from all the yelling though. Oh, and Tosh managed to translate that document she’s been working on.”
“Not really. Seemed to be instructions for assembling some sort of furniture, it was all flanges, sprockets, and widgets, might have been more enlightening with illustrations but there weren’t any. Bit of a disappointment in the end.” Ianto shrugged. “Can’t always find exciting things.”
“True,” Jack agreed. “Most species are pretty ordinary in their own way, they still have the same kinds of needs after all. What’ve you been up to in my absence?”
“The usual. Feeding the inmates, cleaning up the messes, ordering supplies, filing, making coffee… Nothing particularly thrilling.”
Jack held out his now empty mug. “Speaking of coffee, can I get a refill?”
“I believe that can be arranged.” Ianto stood up and headed back to the kitchen area with the two empty mugs, smiling happily. He enjoyed these little chats with Jack, going over all the ordinary, everyday stuff that made up daily life with Torchwood. Chuckling to himself, he poured more coffee. Anywhere else, such incidents would have been noteworthy enough to be the hot topics of conversation for days, but here they seemed so routine that they barely even rated a passing mention. When it came to Torchwood, what constituted normality was relative.