Characters: Ianto, Jack, Carol & Bikky
Spoilers: Not really.
Summary: One minute Ianto is in his office in the Torchwood archives, and then he’s not.
Word Count: 1900
Written For: My own prompt ‘Any, any, Realising they have no idea where they are or how they got there,’ at fic_promptly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
One minute Ianto was in the archives, sorting through yet another box of miscellaneous Rift junk and the next minute he… wasn’t. It was weird. There hadn’t been any bright flash of light, or a sense of being torn apart and reassembled elsewhere the way there had been that one time Jack’s Vortex Manipulator had worked. The Hub just seemed to wink out, like the universe had blinked for a split second, and then he’d been… here, wherever ‘here’ happened to be.
Someone bumped into him and snapped something about how he should watch where he was going, which Ianto thought was a bit unfair considering that he’d been standing still when the other guy had collided with him. Then again, he had probably just appeared out of nowhere so maybe his accuser had a point. With that in mind, Ianto stepped to the side, up against the display window of a shop, so he wouldn’t block the pavement while he attempted to reorient himself.
The first thing that occurred to him was that wherever he was, the people were at least human and spoke English, which was a good start. From what he could see, he seemed to be in the shopping district of what was apparently a large city, and it was daytime. Crowds of people were bustling past him purposefully. At least they seemed to know where they were and where they were going, but he was reluctant to stop any of them to ask where he was. A lot of them were talking on mobile phones so they probably wouldn’t be too pleased if he cut into their conversations.
“You okay mister?” a voice beside him asked and he turned to see a teenage girl and a slightly younger boy looking at him curiously.
“Um, yes, I’m fine, just a bit lost.” He smiled apologetically at them.
“Oooh, cool accent,” the girl grinned at him. “British tourist, huh? We went to England on vacation a few years back. It rained a lot.”
“I’m Welsh actually.” Ianto belatedly realised that everyone around him was speaking with an American accent.
“Wales is part of Britain though, right?” the boy asked, looking at Ianto, his eyes startlingly blue against his coffee-coloured skin, which in turn contrasted strikingly with his yellow-blond hair.
“Yes, that’s right.”
“Yay! I got something right!” A wide smile spread across the boy’s face. “We didn’t get to see Wales when we were there though, and we’ll probably never go back to England again because of what happened. What’s Wales like?”
Ianto quirked a smile. “It rains a lot.”
“So, where are you trying to get to?” the girl asked.
“Not really sure,” Ianto admitted. “I haven’t been here long; you two look like you know your way around though; where do you suggest I should visit?”
“There are lots of amazing museums and galleries…” the girl said enthusiastically.
“Museums are boring,” the boy cut in. “They’re full of old stuff. You should go to the Central Park Zoo, that’s really cool, or the funfair out at Coney Island. Ryo took us there at Easter.”
Ianto blinked as realisation hit him. ‘I’m in New York?’ He tried not to betray his surprise, instead asking an unrelated question. “Who’s Ryo?”
“He’s sort of my dad. He’s a cop. He took me in after my real dad was killed.”
“Oh.” There didn’t seem much else he could say to that, and before anyone could say anything else, Ianto’s phone started to ring. “Excuse me a moment.” He pulled the phone from his pocket and checked caller id. It was Jack, and Ianto found himself smiling. He might have unexpectedly been transported halfway around the world, but thanks to Tosh’s electronics wizardry, he was still in contact with home. Torchwood’s ultra-enhanced phones could now connect to each other just about anywhere on the planet that could get cell reception, and even some places that couldn’t. “Jack!”
“Ianto, where are you? All the systems in the Hub went haywire a few minutes ago.”
“Really? That’s weird. Must’ve happened right around the time I… um… left.”
“Well, I need you back here pronto to help figure out what caused it. Tosh is looking into it and she says the epicentre was somewhere in your archives.”
“That makes sense, I was sorting through one of the boxes of miscellany so whatever happened was likely caused by something in there. The box is on my workbench, just be careful about handling the contents.”
“What’re you talking about? Aren’t you going to help?”
“That could be a bit tricky since I’m in New York at the moment.”
“What’re you doing over there?”
“No idea whatsoever.”
There was silence on the other end of the phone; Ianto could just picture Jack’s puzzled frown as he tried to figure things out. “Wait a minute, how is that even possible? I saw you here in the Hub less than half an hour ago, so how can you be in New York?”
“I’d love to know the answer to that myself,” Ianto admitted. “I don’t have much with me.” He hoped Jack would understand what he meant by that. He was having to be somewhat cryptic because of his young audience, who seemed to be listening to his side of the conversation avidly.
“You’re saying something in the box on your workbench sent you to another continent?”
“It would appear so.”
“So you’re in America with no passport, no money, and only the clothes on your back?”
“That’s a fair assessment of the situation, yes.”
“Are you alone?”
“Actually, I’ve met a couple of quite charming young people, they were just suggesting a few places I might like to visit while I’m here when you phoned.”
“Can you lose them?”
“Jack! Behave yourself!”
“It was just an idea. Look, hang tight, Tosh and I will take a look in that box and see if whatever sent you there can bring you back, but you’d better stay where you are for the moment. I’ll phone you again in fifteen minutes.”
“So no time for sightseeing?”
“Not right now, no.”
“Damn. I was looking forward to visiting some museums and the zoo.”
“It’ll have to wait.”
“Fine, but don’t take long, I have no intention of standing around here all day.”
“Fifteen minutes, I promise, whether we’ve figured it out or not. If we haven’t by then I’ll contact UNIT in New York and have them send someone to pick you up and provide transportation home.”
Ianto sighed heavily. “You do realise this is my first trip to New York, somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit, and now you’re telling me I can’t even stay long enough to see the Statue of Liberty?”
“Sorry.” Jack sounded contrite. “Look, I’ll sort something out, just stay put for a quarter of an hour.” With that, he hung up.
Ianto scowled at his phone and jammed it back in his pocket. “Well, that’s mucked things up.”
“Boyfriend?” the girl asked him.
“No, it was his boss,” the boy said.
“You’re both right.” Ianto sighed heavily and ran his hand through his hair. “Never date your boss; it just complicates everything. There’s a problem at work, and if he can’t fix it without me, I might have to leave rather abruptly.”
“That sucks.” The boy scowled, then stuck out his hand. “I’m Bikky, by the way. This is my girlfriend, Carol.”
“Ianto Jones.” Ianto shook hands with the two teenagers.
“Weird name,” Bikky stated.
“And Bikky isn’t?”
“It’s my nickname,” the boy explained. “I hate my real name so I never use it.”
“What are you going to do now?” Carol asked.
“According to Jack, I have to stay right here until he calls me back.”
“Why right here?” Bikky was frowning.
“He’s calling long distance and couldn’t reach me until I stopped here. Must be a reception thing. He might not be able to get through again if I move.”
“If he can’t reach you though, he can’t tell you to come home…” Bikky said.
“Tempting though that is, it’s better if I stay put. I don’t want to get in trouble.”
“Yeah, I suppose.” Bikky shoved his hands in his jeans pockets. “Seems like being an adult is overrated.”
Carol quickly changed the subject. “You said this is your first trip to New York?”
“Yes, and I haven’t really seen anything yet.” Not long ago, Ianto had been rather upset about abruptly being dumped in a strange place, but now he was disappointed that he might have to leave one of the places he’d long dreamed of visiting as precipitously as he’d arrived.
The three continued to chat about New York and its places of interest, and how it compared to Cardiff, while Ianto waited for Jack to call back, which he did just over ten minutes later.
“Ianto? Tosh is pretty sure she’s figured out what was responsible for your unplanned trip, so she’s going to try to bring you back.”
“Tell her to hold off for a minute or two, Jack.”
“What for?” Jack got no reply, because Ianto had already taken the phone away from his ear, but he could still hear his lover talking in the background.
“Looks like I’ll have to go home after all; I’m being picked up shortly. I just wanted to say thank you, and if I ever get back to New York I’ll be sure to visit all the places you suggested.” Ianto shook hands with the kids once more. “It was a pleasure to meet you both. Maybe we’ll meet again someday. If you’re ever in Cardiff, look me up.”
“We will,” Carol said with a smile. “It was nice meeting you too. Goodbye.”
Ianto put the phone back to his ear and stepped out amid the mid-morning throngs of pedestrians. “Okay, Jack, I’m right back where I started…” The last few words were spoken as his familiar archive room in the Hub seemed to wink into existence around him. Ianto looked around, blinking in the sudden dimness. “Well, that was interesting.” He clicked off his phone and put it back in his pocket. “Did you miss…? Mpf.” Before he could even finish the question, Jack was snogging him enthusiastically. Ianto happily returned the kiss with equal enthusiasm as Tosh, smiling to herself, slipped away to give them some privacy.
Back on a street in New York, two young teenagers stared at each other in confusion. “What just happened?” Bikky asked.
“I don’t know.” Carol gestured to the sidewalk in front of them. “He was right there, talking on his phone and them he was just… gone. I’m sure I didn’t blink.”
“Me neither. Weird. D’you think he was an alien?” Bikky’s eyes were wide with excitement.
Carol shrugged. “Could’ve been, I guess, but he looked human to me. Maybe he’s a time traveller or something.”
“Yeah, maybe.” Bikky nodded. “Or, y’know, maybe he’s got some sort of superpower thing. Teleportation like in the X-Men.”
“Oooh, yes! That would be so cool!”
Together they walked off down the street, talking about all the places they’d go if they could teleport like that.
“Maybe if we ever see Ianto Jones again he’d take us with him,” Carol mused. “Despite the rain, I think I’d quite like to visit Wales someday. Seems like it might be an interesting place…”