Title: Getting To Nose You - Part 1
Characters/Pairing: Jack/Ianto, Tosh, Owen, Mickey, Andy, mentions Gwen in passing.
Rating: PG-15 to be on the safe side, for a few mild swear words
Spoilers: Not really. Set after Exit Wounds and Doctor Who episode Journey’s End
Summary: Jack and Ianto return to the Hub with their new pet. Sequel To Capturing The Beast
Word Count: 9998
Warning: Beware of the Fluff!
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood or its characters, they belong to the BBC. However, I do own my fluffy alien!
A/N: Despite when this is set, you’ll find all the original team are alive and well. This is because I like Tosh and Owen and decided I didn’t want them to be dead. In my world, things happened differently in both Reset and Exit Wounds. Mickey joined the team after Journey’s End, and Andy joined a few weeks later.
The drive back to Cardiff was surprisingly uneventful and after the day they’d had, it was quite a relief. The first part of the journey, along deserted country lanes, Jack opened the rear passenger side window and Nosy stuck its head out, much like a dog, humming enthusiastically into the breeze. When they got close to the busier roads, Jack pulled over and made sure Nosy’s head was inside before shutting the window. It seemed a bit disappointed, but settled down and continued gazing out at the world rushing past, occasionally sticking its head between the front seats to see where they were going. Once again, Ianto found himself thankful that the windows were tinted. Their odd passenger would have gained a lot of unwanted attention otherwise.
About twenty minutes into the journey, Ianto finally managed to get a signal on his phone and put through a call to Tosh.
“Ianto, thank goodness! Is everything alright? We were getting worried. Owen and Mickey have been arguing for the last hour about whether or not they should form a search party and go looking for you!”
“Everything’s fine, Tosh, just couldn’t get a signal where we were. We got delayed by a storm, had to take cover in a cave for a couple of hours. Then Jack had to fetch the SUV and pick me up. We’re on our way back now, should be at the Hub in about 40 minutes, traffic permitting.”
“Did you catch whatever was responsible for killing the sheep?”
“Yes and no. Yes, we caught what the farmers saw; no, it’s not responsible for the sheep. I think there may be a pack of stray dogs about. Jack warned Mr. Morgan and he’ll spread the word among the other farmers. I’m sure they’ll be able to deal with the problem themselves.”
“That’s good. I mean, it’s not good for the farmers who’ve lost livestock, but… Oh, you know what I mean. So what is it? The creature you caught?”
“No idea. I’ll check the databases when we get back, but I don’t think Torchwood has ever come across anything even remotely similar,” Ianto told her, glancing over his shoulder at their backseat passenger. “Anyway, you’ll see it for yourself soon enough.”
“Oh. Okay then, see you soon.”
“Bye, Tosh.” Ianto hung up and turned to Jack, who was smirking. “What?”
“Nicely edited version of events!”
“Didn’t see any reason to worry Tosh by telling her what actually happened. We’ll be putting the unedited version into a report when we get back anyway.”
“True. Still, it’s odd hearing our eventful day condensed down to ‘Got caught in a storm, took shelter in a cave’.”
“We do seem to have packed a lot into the last few hours, don’t we?”
Arriving back at the Hub, Jack drove straight into Torchwood’s small underground garage, the door closing automatically behind the SUV. He turned off the engine and they sat for a moment in the silence that followed, before turning as one to look at the creature in the back seat, which gazed back at them.
“Are we sure about this?” Ianto asked, turning to Jack. “I mean, the Hub can be a dangerous place and I don’t want Nosy getting hurt if it pokes its nose in the wrong place.”
“We managed to train Myfanwy,” Jack replied, “Smart as she is, I’d lay odds on our new friend being smarter.”
“I hope you’re right. The last thing we need is an extra crispy alien snake if it decides to nibble on high voltage cables.”
Jack shuddered, “Don’t even joke about that. We’ll just have to keep a close eye on it until we’re sure it can be trusted not to. Right, time to introduce our new friend to the rest of the team.” Jack jumped out of the SUV and opened the rear door for Nosy, who poked its head out, peered around curiously and finally slithered out onto the concrete floor. Ianto climbed out more slowly and limped round to join them, his knee having stiffened up during the drive.
Noticing, Jack said, “You should get some ice on that as soon as you can.”
“I will, but first we have to unload Nosy’s food supply and find somewhere to store it.”
“The others can help me with that after we’ve introduced everybody. You need to put yourself first for once.”
Ianto rolled his eyes, “Yes, Sir,” he replied with a smirk.
Jack just grinned and turned back to Nosy, “Come on, time to see your new home,” and he set off out of the garage, Ianto beside him and Nosy slinking along in their wake.
Entering the main Hub, the place seemed deserted and they were starting to wonder if everyone had left for the night when Tosh suddenly appeared from the autopsy bay, nose deep in a file.
“Hey, Tosh, where is everybody?” asked Jack, slightly disappointed that their grand entrance had gone unnoticed.
She glanced up and smiled, “Oh good, you’re back! Owen’s around somewhere, Mickey and Andy are out. There was a small rift spike about half an hour ago, so they went to investigate, said they’d pick up dinner on the way back. We figured you two would probably be hungry after your wild alien hunt.” She pushed her glasses back up. “Which reminds me, where is the… Oh!” she gasped, jumping back and nearly dropping the file she’d been reading as a furry head suddenly rose up from behind the coffee table and stared at her.
Ianto struggled not to laugh at her reaction. “Tosh, meet Nosy; Nosy, meet Tosh.”
“I wanted to call it Fluffy,” Jack muttered, pouting a bit.
Nosy slithered around the coffee table into full view and Tosh took a couple more steps back.
“It’s big.” She sounded a bit nervous.
“It’s also perfectly harmless,” Ianto assured her.
“How do you know it’s harmless if you don‘t know what it is?”
“Look at it!” Jack exclaimed, “Does it look dangerous? It’s just a big, loveable bundle of fluff,” he assured her, crouching down and petting Nosy, who hummed contentedly.
“I’m not really fond of snakes…”
“Then it’s a good thing it’s not a snake,” Ianto told her. “Anyway, it’s a herbivore, it eats moss and lichen. It’s also very smart and surprisingly affectionate. Come and say hello.”
Tosh put her file down on the nearest desk and stepped closer, studying the strange creature carefully. “I suppose the only thing snakelike about it is that it’s long and sort of… squiggly,” she admitted after a moment.
“Squiggly?” Jack sounded amused, “Is that a scientific term?”
“Yes it is,” Tosh replied with a grin of her own, “A very old and time honoured one,” she added solemnly. She approached Nosy cautiously and at Jack’s urging, crouched down and ran her hand along part of its furry body. “Oh,” she gasped, “It’s so soft and warm!”
“Not really very snakelike at all, when you think about it,” Ianto said.
She smiled up at him, “Not really, no,” she agreed. “What are we going to do with it?”
“We’re keeping it, of course,” Jack said, “By Torchwood tradition, it’s alien, so it’s ours. There’s plenty of room here and it’ll be nice to have around. It wouldn‘t be fair to lock it in a cell when it hasn‘t done any harm. Besides, it likes company. Ianto thinks that might be why it was hanging around with the sheep. Not that sheep would be very good company, but I suppose they were better than nothing.”
“Poor thing,” Tosh sighed, “Stranded in a strange place, far away from its own kind. Why do you call it Nosy?”
“Because it’s curious about everything and has a habit of doing that,” Ianto chuckled as Nosy prodded Jack firmly with its nose, nearly knocking him over. It turned towards the entrance to the lower levels, staring intently, and a moment later, Owen appeared.
“Look what the cat dragged in,” he smirked, catching sight of Jack and Ianto who were, in all honestly, looking a bit dishevelled. Then he caught sight of Nosy. “What the fuck is that?” he yelled.
There was a squeak and a rapid slithering as Nosy tried, without much success, to hide behind Ianto, peering out nervously from behind his knees.
“Owen, you’re scaring it!” scolded Tosh.
“Don’t mind him,” Ianto said soothingly, petting the trembling creature, “He makes a lot of noise, but it’s all hot air, he won’t hurt you.”
“This,” Jack said with a wry smile, “is the fearsome creature we spent most of the day hunting.”
Owen snorted. “I’ve seen gerbils scarier than that thing! What did it do, fluff at you?”
Ianto rolled his eyes, “We got caught in a thunderstorm.”
“Likely story.” Owen turned his attention towards Nosy again and crouched down, holding out his hand. “’e’s right you know; I’m a bad-tempered bastard, I stomp around and make a lot of noise, but I’m not all bad. Sorry I scared you,” Owen murmured soothingly, “Come out where I can get a look at you.”
Nosy hesitated for a moment, then cautiously slithered towards Owen’s outstretched hand. Owen let it sniff his fingers for a minute before slowly reaching out to scratch behind where its ears would have been, if it had ears.
“There, see? That’s not so bad, is it?”
Nosy hummed in agreement, clearly enjoying the attention.
“Always had a bit of a soft spot for dogs,” Owen said with a smile.
“Um, Owen, it’s not a dog…” Ianto informed him helpfully.
Owen just shrugged, “Close enough. It’s furry. A bit longer than your average dog, I’ll grant you, fewer legs too, but I can overlook that.”
“Very generous of you,” Ianto commented dryly.
“Don’t expect me to take it for walks though. At least it’s friendlier than your giant budgie!”
“Myfanwy is perfectly friendly, she just doesn’t like you!”
“Is it a boy or a girl,” Tosh asked Ianto quickly, hoping to prevent an argument.
Ianto just stared at Tosh. “When did I become the expert at determining gender in alien creatures?” he asked, confused.
“Well, you worked out that Myfanwy is female.”
“Myfanwy occasionally lays an egg. It seemed like a reasonably safe guess.”
“Oh.” Tosh turned towards Jack.
“Hey, don’t look at me! Contrary to popular belief, I’m not an expert at sexing alien species…” Jack paused and thought for a minute as Owen sniggered. “Let me rephrase that. I may, in the past, have had a lot of… hands-on experience with aliens, but that doesn’t mean I necessarily always knew whether they were male or female, or even if they had specific genders.” He shrugged, “If they were attractive and willing, that was good enough for me, we always seemed to find ways to make things fit.”
Owen stuck his fingers in his ears. “I really did not need to know that!”
“All I’m saying is, I don’t have any idea. Anyway, isn’t that more your field of expertise?”
“You’re the doctor, you do all the medical stuff. Scan it.”
“Scan…” Owen looked from one end of Nosy to the other. “Do you have any idea how long that could take?”
“You’d better get started then. We need to know that it’s healthy and uninjured.”
Muttering darkly to himself, Owen went to fetch the Bekaran scanner, setting it on the coffee table, then turning to Nosy and patting its head. “Stay,” he commanded, before proceeding down the creature’s length, straightening out all the kinks and wiggles so that that Nosy would be a nice, straight line for easy scanning. Nosy, of course, had other ideas and when Owen reached the tail end, he turned to find himself looking at its head, which had followed him all the way, much to everyone’s amusement, and was now watching him curiously.
“Oh for… you were supposed to stay straight!”
Jack burst out laughing, “Good luck with that!”
“You could lend a hand!”
“Doing what? If we straighten it out and then sit on it to keep it still, we’ll be in the way when you scan it.”
“I’m not used to scanning things that can still move! Most of the things I deal with are already long past that stage.”
“Well, now’s the perfect opportunity for you to learn. Think of it as a challenge.”
“Gee, thanks, boss.”
Ianto started forward to see if he could persuade Nosy to at least stay in one place for scanning, but winced as he took his first step.
“What’s wrong with you?” Owen asked, automatically switching to doctor mode.
“I fell and twisted my knee earlier,” Ianto replied. “It’s fine, I just need to put some ice on it.”
Owen pointed at the couch. “Sit. Might as well check you over first since I’ve already got the scanner. If the fuzzy worm sees me use it on you first, it won’t be scared when I try to scan it.”
That made sense to Ianto, so he limped over to the couch, sank down on it with a sigh of relief and put his feet up, leaning back against the arm. Nosy followed and lay its head in Ianto’s lap with a sympathetic hum. Owen joined them, picking up the scanner and sitting on the coffee table, while Jack sat on the arm of the couch behind his lover. Tosh settled herself on the end of the coffee table, running her fingers through Nosy’s soft, silky fur. Now that she’d got over her initial uncertainty, she found herself quite taken with the new addition to the team.
Owen switched on the scanner, which buzzed quietly, drawing Nosy’s attention. Green eyes watched with interest as Owen ran the scanner over Ianto’s whole leg, checking for other damage before concentrating on the injured knee.
“It’s sprained,” he announced, “but I’m guessing you already knew that. Stick a cushion under it to raise it and I’ll get you an ice pack.”
“I can do that,” Jack said, getting up, “You get on with scanning your other patient. Like you said, it’s a big job, could take a while.” He smirked and headed off towards the autopsy bay.
Owen glared at Jack’s retreating back, then turned his attention to his next task - scanning several metres of very hairy, roughly snake-shaped alien. At least it was staying reasonably still at the moment, enjoying being made a fuss of. He turned the scanner on again and held it over Nosy’s back, just behind its head, adjusting the controls to see further and further into its body, before moving on to the next section and repeating the process. A third of the way down the long body, he realised he had company - a furry head was peering over his shoulder, watching the scanner screen intently. Owen could hear Tosh giggling behind him. He sighed heavily, shaking his head, and continued with his task, trying to ignore the fact that he now had part of an alien draped around him like a fluffy scarf.
Finally, Owen switched off the scanner and stood up, dislodging Nosy in the process. He stretched the kinks out of his back and turned to the rest of the team.
“Seems healthy as far as I can tell and I can’t see any signs of injury. What passes for a skeleton seems to be made of tough, flexible cartilage instead of bone; it would bend rather than break.”
Jack nodded, “Good. Anything else?” He was sitting on the couch now, with Ianto’s injured leg resting on a cushion on his lap, ice packs on each side, on top of and under his knee - Jack was nothing if not thorough.
“I found nothing resembling female reproductive organs.”
“So it’s a boy then,” said Tosh.
“Nope. No male reproductive organs either.”
Owen turned to Jack and Ianto. “Congratulations!” he announced with a smile and a satisfied nod, “It’s an it!”
There was silence for a long moment, then:
“Is that even possible?” Tosh asked, “Surely it has to be one or the other.”
“Not necessarily, Tosh. It’s alien; we have no idea how this species reproduces. For all we know, this might be just a baby. Maybe they become male or female when they’re fully grown. Maybe the species has three genders, or none.”
“Maybe it’s like a caterpillar and will eventually pupate and change form,” Ianto added.
“Oh, I hope not,” Tosh said, “I like Nosy just the way it is!”
“We should at least check our alien database and see if we have anything similar on record. Tosh, you could hack into UNIT’s databases too, see if they have anything.”
Tosh nodded, “I’ll get on it right away, Jack.”
While Tosh set to work at her computer, Nosy mooched about nearby, exploring its new environment, peering under, over and wherever possible, inside everything it came across, but looking back frequently as if to make sure Jack and Ianto were still there. It was interested in everything, sniffing things and sometimes poking them experimentally with its nose, but thankfully not trying to chew anything. When Tosh opened a drawer, Nosy hurried across, not wanting to miss anything, peering in and humming at the contents, making Tosh laugh.
“Nosy by name, nosy by nature,” she said with a smile.
Owen disappeared into the autopsy bay and after several minutes of crashing, banging, rustling and muttered curses, he reappeared with a rather battered measuring tape. Jack and Ianto looked at each other and grinned, remembering all the fun they’d had with a similar, but considerably less tatty item.
“So,” Jack started, turning his attention back to Owen, “what are you planning on doing with that?”
“Got to take measurements, so we’ll know if it’s still growing.”
Jack smirked at Ianto. “This should be fun. All we need now is some popcorn!”
“Oh ye of little faith! It’s not like using the scanner; just a few quick measurements, length and girth, no problem.”
He strode over to Nosy, who was currently investigating the possibilities of stairs, slinking up and slithering back down again several times before winding half of itself around the catwalk handrail and dangling from it like a fluffy vine, idly swinging back and forth.
Owen looked at the measuring tape in his hands, then back at the swinging alien. Maybe this wasn’t going to be quite as easy as he’d thought!
As it turned out, getting Nosy back on level ground was the easy part. Curious as to why Owen was just standing there staring at something in his hands, Nosy slithered back down the stairs and onto the ground to get a closer look, raising the front metre or so of its body off the ground and contemplating the grubby yellow tape solemnly. Apparently finding it not very interesting after all, it mooched back to see what Tosh was doing, resting its head on the desk beside the keyboard and staring wide-eyed up at the monitor screen.
This, thought Owen, was the ideal opportunity. He decided to start at the tail end this time and work forwards, so positioning the end of the measuring tape right at the tip of Nosy’s tail, he started to smooth it out along the sinuous body. Maybe it tickled, or maybe Nosy didn’t like its fur being ruffled the wrong way; whatever the reason, it chose that moment to suddenly flick its tail, hitting Owen in the face and startling him so much he fell over backwards. Hearing Owen’s yelp of surprise, Nosy turned to look at him, then slithered its front end over and stared down at him, blinking innocently into his face from inches away as if wondering why he was lying down. Owen reached up and shoved gently.
“Get your fluffy snout out of my face, you overgrown feather duster!”
Nosy just hummed and started prodding Owen in the ribs with its nose. “Arrrrggghhh! Stop that, it tickles!” Owen yelled, squirming away. Nosy squirmed right along behind him, occasionally prodding with its nose, thoroughly enjoying this new game.
On the couch, Jack and Ianto were clinging to each other, nearly helpless with laughter. “Round one to Nosy,” Ianto gasped breathlessly, wiping tears from his eyes.
“Thought you said it would be easy,” Jack shouted across to Owen.
“Shut up!” Owen replied, trying to squirm faster, “One of you could at least help!”
Snorting in an undignified and most unladylike manner, Tosh tried valiantly to suppress her laughter, but it was hopeless. Still, she thought it only fair to rescue Owen from Nosy’s relentless pursuit before Nosy could get hurt by Owen’s flailing.
“It’s alright, Owen,” she giggled, I’ll save you from the fearsome monster!” She got between the two and still giggling, wrapped her arms around the warm, fluffy body, wondering briefly how she could ever have been nervous about such a friendly creature.
Free from pursuit, Owen hauled himself to his feet and glared at Tosh and Nosy. “About time, I was getting tickled to death! You,” he added, pointing sternly at Nosy, “should be ashamed of yourself, that was not polite!”
Despite his stern expression, Tosh could tell he was trying not to smile and his eyes were twinkling in the way that always made her heart skip a beat. She smiled up at him, giggling, “I think you just got fluffed!”
Owen couldn’t help but smile back at her, “Yeah, I think you’re right!” He thought for a moment. “Okay, I admit it, I was wrong,” he sighed, “I can’t do this alone, it’ll take at least two of us to measure this monster. Tosh, pretty please, would you mind helping me?”
“I’d be happy to, Owen. I’m not sure how we’re going to manage it though, Nosy is so wriggly we‘ll keep losing our place.”
“There is an easier way, you know. All you need is a piece of chalk.”
All eyes turned towards Ianto.
“Huh?” said Owen, “What’re you on about?”
Ianto rolled his eyes and patiently explained, “You use the chalk to make a mark on the concrete at the tip of Nosy’s snout. Then, while Tosh keeps it occupied, you straighten its body like you tried to do in order to scan it and make another mark when you reach the tip of the tail. When Nosy gets bored and wanders off, just measure between the two marks.”
Everyone continued to stare at Ianto for a moment in stunned silence.
Finally, Tosh said in a small voice, “Oh. Yes, that would probably work,” while Owen started hitting himself over the head, muttering repeatedly, “Stupid, stupid, stupid…”
Before the new plan could be put into action, alarms suddenly blared as the cog door rolled open, admitting two more of Torchwood Three’s expanded team.
Nosy squeaked in alarm and tried, with little success, to hide under the coffee table, only managing to conceal the front third of its long body. The front half of Tosh also disappeared under the table as she tried to reassure the frightened creature.
“Doesn’t exactly have nerves of steel, does it?” Owen asked no one in particular.
“Dinner’s here,” Mickey shouted, “Come and get it, you lazy lot!”
Trailing along behind Mickey, ex-PC Andy suddenly noticed something different about the place. He put down the box he’d been carrying and ambled over.
“Hello, what’s this then? New rug? Bit fancy for this place isn’t it? I mean, it doesn’t really match the décor.”
“New pet, actually,” Owen corrected him, “It seems to be under the impression that it’s hiding.”
“It’s alive?” asked Mickey, dumping the bags containing dinner on the nearest work station and strolling over for a closer look.
“Very much alive,” agreed Tosh, popping out from under the coffee table, “but I don’t think it likes loud noises very much. The door alarms scared it.” She crawled back under the table, making soothing noises.
Andy, game for anything, got down on hands and knees, crawling under the table to join in. “Bit crowded under here, isn’t it? Cosy, mind. Hello there,” he added, “Who’re you then?”
“This is Nosy,” Tosh started before Jack interrupted.
“I still think it should be Fluffy,” he grumbled.
“Shut up, you,” Ianto chuckled, “We agreed.”
“Who agreed? I said Fluffy, you said no. Next thing I know, you‘re calling it Nosy. I don‘t remember being consulted. Shouldn’t we all get to vote?”
“Whenever something needs a name, we always ask Ianto anyway,” said Tosh reasonably, “He’s Torchwood’s official Namer of Things.”
“Ah,” said Jack, “but this isn’t a thing we’re naming, it’s a living creature!”
“Ianto names those too,” Owen reminded him.
“I named Janet!”
“That was before Ianto joined us,” Owen replied.
“Well, I’m not calling anything Fluffy!” Mickey broke in, “It’s a girly name.”
“Thank you, at least someone agrees with me,” Ianto sighed.
Owen nodded, “I have to agree with Ianto and Mickey on this one, and that’s something I never thought I’d hear myself say.”
“One for Fluffy, three against. Tosh? Andy?” Ianto asked.
“I’m already used to calling it Nosy. Sorry, Jack.”
“What? Sorry, wasn’t listening,” said Andy, scrambling out from under the coffee table.
“We were voting on what to call the new pet,” Owen told him. “Jack wants Fluffy, the rest of us are sticking with Nosy.”
“Huh. Doesn’t sound like my vote will make any difference either way.”
“Gwen can’t vote until she gets back from her holiday,” Jack pointed out.
“Still wouldn’t change anything,” Ianto replied. “The best you could get would be three for Fluffy and four against. Looks like you lose.”
Jack huffed and folded his arms, almost pouting.
Relenting a little, Ianto added, “Doesn’t mean you can’t call it Fluffy while the rest of us call it Nosy. Of course, it’ll probably end up completely confused and suffer an identity crisis…”
Jack brightened, “So you don’t mind if I call it Fluffy?”
“Not at all, as long as you don’t expect the rest of us to,” Ianto smiled.
Jack beamed and leaned forward to kiss him. “Thank you!“ Owen covered his eyes.
“Break it up, you two, dinner’s getting cold!” Mickey retrieved the bags from where he’d left them and carried them into the kitchen area. Owen followed, digging through the bags while Mickey got plates and cutlery for everyone.
“Fish and chips?”
“The Chinese place had queues a mile long. You complaining? ‘Cause if you want something else, you can get it yourself.”
“Nah, I’ll eat it.”
Jack slid Ianto’s injured leg (complete with cushion and ice packs) off his lap and stood up, stretching, before wandering into the kitchen to fetch salt and a big bottle of vinegar. He set both on the coffee table where Ianto could reach them, then collected plates of fish and chips for them both, handing one to Ianto and settling himself on the floor, leaning against the couch, to eat his own.
Owen took a plate for himself and one for Tosh - who was half under the coffee table again, still trying to coax Nosy out of hiding - putting hers on the table above her and taking a moment to appreciate the view.
“Better eat while it’s still hot, Tosh.”
“What? Oh, thanks Owen.” She smiled brightly up at him and patted the ground beside her, “Sit with me?”
“Why not? I‘ve already spent most of this evening crawling around on the floor.”
Once everyone was settled and eating (Mickey had dragged a chair over from the workstations while Andy had joined Owen and Tosh on the floor), Jack launched into the full tale of how he and Ianto had found and captured an alien that, for once, turned out to be harmless and friendly instead of the ravening beast they’d been led to expect.
The beast in question seemed to have more or less recovered from its fright, though it remained half under the table, perhaps just to be close to everyone, and lay quietly.
When Jack finished his story, he turned to Mickey and Andy.
“So, what about you two? Tosh said you went out on a rift alert, find anything?”
“Um, yeah, nothing important though,” Mickey replied, looking a bit uncomfortable.
“So what was it?” Jack prompted.
“Seventeen odd socks, three bent teaspoons and a size 22 shocking pink cowboy boot, left foot,” Andy listed calmly. “Who has feet that big? Anyway, it took us a while to collect everything, it was scattered across a school playing field in Splott.”
“Ah, one of those,” Jack said, nodding.
“What do you mean, ‘One of those’?” Mickey asked with a frown.
“Sometimes the rift seems to have a sense of humour and drops a whole bunch of random objects on us, no idea why.”
“Last time, it was 92 fluorescent orange ping pong balls, a brass door knocker and a cabbage,” Ianto chuckled, “Took us nearly four hours to get all the ping pong balls, most of them landed in a lake. Jack fell in three times trying to fish them out! We have a section in the archives devoted to what we term Rift Gifts. Everything is filed by date, but there‘s no pattern - the events occur anything between two months and a year apart. The last one was just under eight months ago.”
“You filed a cabbage?” Andy asked incredulously.
“Ah, no, that went in the incinerator, it’s generally not a good idea to file perishables.”
“I should think not,” Andy agreed, pulling a face at the thought.