Characters: Owen, Tosh, Gwen, Ianto, Jack.
Summary: An alien substance has strange effects on Ianto and Jack.
Word Count: 1141
Written For: My own prompt ‘Any, Any, (818): They were lying down in the parking garage pretending to be speed bumps...’ at fic_promptly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC
It was the middle of a busy Torchwood workday, and both Jack and Ianto had gone missing. Ordinarily, such disappearances wouldn’t be considered cause for concern, especially when both men vanished at the same time; the team were used to their colleagues taking occasional ‘breaks’ together, it was perfectly normal and everyone knew better than to go looking for them. This time though…
Earlier in the day, during a routine Rift retrieval, an alien plant creature had sprayed the pair with a substance that was making them act a little odd, like they were drunk, or high. They didn’t seem to be a danger to anyone, except possibly themselves, and according to Owen’s analysis of the substance, it wasn’t toxic, addictive, or otherwise harmful, but he’d still decided it would be a good idea to keep a close eye on them, just to be sure. The Hub could be a dangerous place, and in their current condition they wouldn’t recognise danger if it bit them.
Only then there’d been another Rift alert, Owen had taken Gwen with him to check it out, leaving Tosh in charge, and when they’d got back, Jack and Ianto were nowhere to be found.
“I only took my eyes off them for a few minutes, I swear!” Tosh wailed. “They were sailing in their boat,” she pointed at the upturned coffee table by the sofa, “and I was updating the Hub’s security systems, but when I looked again, they were gone!”
“Not your fault, Tosh,” Owen assured her. “They’re just good at sneaking off without anybody noticing; they’ve had plenty of practice.”
“None of the internal sensors are picking them up, so they must have left the Hub, but I don’t know which way they went because I had the alarms turned off,” Tosh explained. “They haven’t been gone long though, so they can’t have got far.”
“Alright, suppose we’d better find them before they get themselves arrested for being drunk and disorderly. Tosh, you take the Invisible Lift and check the Plas. Gwen, check the Tourist Office entrance and Mermaid Quay. I’ll take the garage entrance. Keep in touch over the comms.”
The two girls nodded, slipping their bluetooth earpieces into place and hurrying to search their assigned areas, as Owen trudged back through Torchwood’s garage and out the concealed door into the Millennium Centre’s vast underground car park.
There was no sign of his missing colleagues on the upper level of the car park, so Owen went straight out through the nearest exit, reasoning that Jack and Ianto would have done the same. They wouldn’t have been in any hurry, especially since walking in a straight line was beyond them, so Owen kept to a jog as he searched the nearby streets, figuring he’d soon catch up with them if they’d come this way. Ten minutes later he came to the conclusion that they must have left the Hub by another route.
“Tosh, Gwen, any sign?”
“No, nothing. I don’t think they came this way,” Tosh reported. “I’m sure I’d have found them by now if they had.”
“Okay, head back to the Hub. Maybe you can pick them up on CCTV somewhere in the city. Gwen?”
“I haven’t found them, but if they used the Tourist Office entrance, they might have fallen into the bay,” Gwen said, sounding worried. “I’ll keep looking.”
“Yeah, thanks.” Owen headed back the way he’d come, and on his way down the ramp into the car park, decided to check the other levels. Maybe they’d gone down instead of up.
Sure enough, on the next level down, there they were. Owen stared at the pair; this was odd behaviour even taking their current state into account. They were lying flat on their backs and completely still between the rows of parked cars, spaced about three metres apart. He just had to ask. “What the fuck are you two doing?”
“Hi, Owen!” Jack grinned goofily and waggled his fingers at his side, but didn’t move apart from that. “We’re speed bumps, see?”
Owen facepalmed. Ask a silly question… “Right, of course you are. Look, you can’t stay here.”
“Why not?” Ianto asked.
“Because…” Owen frowned, thinking hard. What on earth could he say to make them go with him? Then inspiration struck. “Because I need a couple of speed bumps up in the Hub, and you two would be perfect for the job.”
Jack and Ianto looked at each other.
“We can do that,” they agreed, levering themselves up and staggering to their feet.
“Good. Come with me.” Herding them ahead of him, Owen tapped his bluetooth. “Found them! They were lying down in the parking garage, pretending to be speed bumps.”
The only reply from the girls was helpless giggling.
The rest of the afternoon, Jack and Ianto obligingly served as speed bumps around the Hub, meaning the other three had to watch where they were going to avoid tripping over their friends. From time to time, Owen made them move to another area so they didn’t stiffen up, and he regularly scanned them to see if the effects of whatever they’d been sprayed with were showing any sign of wearing off. Eventually, they fell asleep where they were lying, looking perfectly content.
When they woke up a couple of hours later, they were confused. Ianto sat up, rubbing his eyes, and looked around.
“Ah, good, you’re awake. I was starting to think I’d have to stay here all night to keep an eye on you.” Owen looked down at them, arms folded over his chest. “How d’you feel?”
“Fine. A bit stiff. Why am I on the floor?” Ianto stood up, dusting his suit off, as Jack scrambled to his feet, looking equally bewildered.
“Where is everyone?”
“I sent the girls home; it’s almost nine. As for what you were doing on the floor, that was your choice. The pair of you decided you were speed bumps; the only way I could get you out of the parking garage and back here was to tell you we needed a couple of speed bumps in the Hub.”
“Speed bumps.” Ianto wasn’t sure he’d heard that right.
“Yep! Happiest speed bumps I’ve ever seen,” Owen smirked. “You really seemed to be enjoying yourselves, and at least it kept you from wandering off again.”
“I don’t think I want to know any more,” Ianto decided, closing his eyes.
“Yeah, we should just go to bed,” Jack agreed. “Maybe when we wake up this will have just been a really weird dream.”
“Good idea.” Ianto trailed after Jack towards his bunker. The last thing Owen heard was Ianto muttering, “Speed bumps indeed. Why would anyone need speed bumps in the Hub?”
Pulling on his jacket to head home, Owen smirked to himself. Just wait until they saw the CCTV footage tomorrow.