Title: Normal Is Relative
Characters: Ianto, Jack, Owen, Tosh, Gwen
Summary: A normal day at Torchwood is nothing like a normal day elsewhere. It’s surprising what you can get used to.
Word Count: 725
Written For: My own prompt ‘Torchwood, Team, Strange and Unusual means a normal day at Torchwood,’ at fic_promptly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
A/N: Posting this one for thepeachymonkey, because I mentioned it in passing and she wanted to read it.
Ianto sighed. It said a lot about life with Torchwood that today was just a normal day for him. Anywhere else, a day like this would have the average person either seeking out the nearest psychiatrist for help, or hiding under the bed.
“No, Jack, put Owen down. He’s not a chew toy! Bad Jack!”
Jack, who’d been wagging his tail moments before, dropped the small, floppy rag-Owen on the floor, head and tail drooping at Ianto’s tone. He whined apologetically.
“I know, you can’t help it, it’s just your current body’s natural instincts taking over,” Ianto said with another heartfelt sigh, patting Jack briefly. He picked rag-Owen up off the floor, wiped the drool off him as well as he could, and set him out of Jack’s considerable reach on a high shelf. “Sorry, Owen, but you’re safer up there for now. Try not to fall off.”
Owen flopped himself against the wall. “Not your fault. When you ‘ave a minute though, I think Jack’s teeth might’ve pulled a couple of my stitches.” Although he still looked more or less like himself, Owen was now a rag doll, which was a bit disconcerting.
Ianto nodded. “I’ll get my sewing kit as soon as I’ve sorted the rest of them out.” He was interrupted by a hiss and a yowl, and shook his head tiredly. “Oi! Jack! No chasing Tosh!” There was a pained yelp, a scrabbling of claws, and then Jack’s bulk came barrelling into his office, nearly knocking Ianto off his feet in an effort to hide behind him. Jack’s wet, black nose was bleeding from several deep scratches. Thankfully, his healing abilities remained intact and the wounds were already closing. “Let that be a lesson! You need to be more careful; her claws are a lot sharper than yours.”
The Siamese cat that had once been Torchwood’s computer wizard crept into the office, managing to look embarrassed and contrite over scratching her Newfoundland dog boss. She still thought like Tosh, just as Jack was still thinking like himself, mostly, but their animal instincts kept taking over. Butting her head against Jack’s big black leg, Tosh purred, and Jack licked the top of her head; apology made and accepted.
Ianto picked Tosh up, stroking her, and carried her out to her workstation, setting her down beside her keyboard. Jack trailed after him, his tail wagging once more. Nothing got him down for long.
“Tosh, keep working on the problem, okay?”
“Jack,” Ianto looked down at the dog, “think hard. What did you do with Gwen?”
“Woof!” Jack turned and trotted up to the hothouse, pushing the door open with his nose.
Ianto followed, and stared at the patch of freshly turned earth. “I distinctly remember telling you not to keep burying her!” He scraped away the loose soil from the trough and pulled out Barbie-Gwen, her clothes grubby and her hair all mussed. “You okay?”
“It’s a good thing I don’t need to breathe,” Gwen replied in a high-pitched, slightly squeaky voice. “I must look a sight.”
“Look on the bright side, mud is supposed to be good for the skin.” Gwen just looked at him, her plastic features incapable of expression. “I could rinse you off under the tap if you’d like.”
“Not much point, Jack will just bury me again.”
“I’ll put you on the shelf with Owen then, just until Tosh and I figure out how to fix this.”
“I’m not all that keen on heights.”
“It’s a wide shelf, just keep to the back.” In her plastic form, Gwen’s legs and arms, while they moved at hip and shoulder, were otherwise un-jointed. She could walk stiffly and turn her head, but that was all. Ianto put her legs into a sitting position and set her beside Owen. “There you go.”
“Thanks. Hi, Owen.”
“Hey, Gwen. Jack buried you again?”
“Yeah. My hair’s ruined and I only got it styled last week.”
Ianto left his teammates chatting and went to help Tosh, bending over her desk. Jack, who was still following him, started sniffing his arse. “Jack, stop that. I told you before, not until you’re back in your proper shape! I’m open-minded, but I have to draw the line somewhere.”
Jack whined, disappointed, and Ianto sighed again, wondering when days like this had started to seem perfectly normal.