Characters: Jack, Ianto, Owen, Tosh, Gwen.
Summary: After a busy and very hot day, Ianto knows the best way to cool off and relax…
Word Count: 1413
Written For: mahmfic’s prompt ‘Dangling feet off of a dock,’ at torchwood_fest.
Beta: My lovely friend milady_dragon. Thanks so much for being my beta again!
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
The Torchwood team had been run ragged all day, thanks to the Rift having what Tosh termed a hiccup attack and spitting out random objects everywhere from Tremorfa to Llandaff. By the time it finally calmed down, it was getting on for five in the afternoon and all anyone felt like doing was flopping onto the sofa, or anything else that could be sat on, and taking the weight off their poor aching feet.
“Why’d the Rift decide to send us on a scavenger hunt today of all days?” Owen wanted to know. “The hottest day of the year so far, and we’re running around like a bunch of headless chickens collecting a load of junk! Did any of us find anything even remotely useful?” He looked questioningly at the others as Ianto handed out tall glasses of iced fruit juice.
“Depends what you consider useful, doesn’t it?” Gwen said with a tired grin. “I thought the silver teaspoons I found were nice.”
“Yeah, because who doesn’t need forty-seven identical teaspoons?” Owen grumbled.
“There’s the pool cue I picked up this morning,” Tosh said. “It’s even in a case.”
Owen inclined his head. “Yeah, that was nice, I’ll grant you. Anyone else?”
“Don’t look at me; last things I found were a pair of coconuts and the left stabiliser from a Romellon one-man hopper,” Jack said, speaking around the ice-cube he’d just shoved in his mouth and was busily crunching up, setting everyone else’s teeth on edge in the process.
“Romulan? Don’t tell me they’re real!” Owen sat up a bit straighter.
“Romellon, Owen. Romulans are science fiction characters.” Jack swallowed the rest of his ice cube and looked around. “Ianto? Is there any more ice?” There was no reply, and Jack frowned, trying again. “Ianto?” When there was still no answer, he turned to the rest of the team. “Anyone know where Ianto went?”
“Search me; you should keep better track of your boy toy if you don’t want him wandering off,” Owen joked. “Probably snuck off to the archives to file something; you know what a workaholic he is.”
“I think he said something about hot feet…” Tosh trailed off with a sheepish smile. “I wasn’t really paying attention.”
“I hope he’s alright,” Gwen said, a worried expression on her face. “He did look awfully flushed when he dragged that thing in.” She pointed to the last item Ianto had retrieved, which he’d left by Tosh’s workstation to be examined and identified, if possible. It looked a bit like the bellows of an accordion had been welded to an antique shoe scraper and a collection of assorted hubcaps, and then painted a really boring shade of beige.
Owen peered at it over his shoulder, pulling a face. “That gets the award for today’s ugliest and least useful find. What the fuck is it?”
“No idea, and right now I don’t care,” Jack said distractedly, digging his Bluetooth earpiece out of his pocket and cramming it in his ear. He clicked it on. “Ianto?”
Immediately the dulcet tones of Torchwood’s archivist came through loud and clear. “Yes, Jack?”
“Where are you?”
“I’m right where I said I’d be, of course.” There was a pause, then a sigh. “Sometimes I think I must be inaudible to you lot as well as invisible. I talk and nobody listens.”
“What d’you mean? Of course we listen. I know I do!”
“Really? Could’ve fooled me. Were you listening while I was handing out the drinks? When I said I was going to cool my hot feet and asked if anyone cared to join me?”
“Ummm…. Tosh heard you say something about hot feet…”
A small, annoyed huff sounded in Jack’s ear. “Just as I thought; you didn’t hear a word I said.”
“In our defence, we were hot and tired, and more interested in the cold drinks you were serving. Sorry. So, where was it you said you were going?”
“Why don’t you work that out for yourself, and when you do, you can come and find me.” Before Jack could respond, Ianto clicked off his comms.
Pouting, Jack pulled his earpiece off, glared at it, and shoved it back in his trouser pocket.
“Wouldn’t tell you, huh?” Owen smirked.
“Said we should figure it out for ourselves. Tosh? Would you check the CCTV? Pretty please?” Putting his hands together as if in prayer, Jack batted his eyelashes at his tech expert. “I’ll let you keep the pool cue. Assuming it doesn’t turn out to be alien.”
“Hmmm, a tempting offer… Well, alright, but only because you’re bribing me and you asked so nicely.” Pushing herself to her aching feet, Tosh hobbled over to her workstation, pulling up the CCTV footage from twenty minutes earlier on her screens and tracking Ianto as he served their drinks then crossed the Hub carrying something and exited through the cog door.
Jack leaned over her shoulder. “He left the Hub? How did we not notice the alarms going off?”
“We’ve grown too used to them,” Tosh replied. “We don’t even look up when they go off these days.”
“Fat lot of good it is having alarms if nobody pays them any mind.” Owen could never resist a dig at his colleagues, but unsurprisingly, everyone ignored him.
Tosh flicked through the feeds from several cameras, picking Ianto up again as he came out of the secret passage into the Tourist Office, then following him out the door. Switching to the cameras on Mermaid Quay, it wasn’t difficult to find their missing team member; there he was, minus his jacket and tie, shirt sleeves and trouser legs rolled up, sitting on the sun-warmed boards of the jetty with his feet dangling in the water. Beside him was the bulky shape of a cooler, and he was sipping an iced drink, looking like he didn’t have a care in the world.
Tosh sighed wistfully. “I bet the water feels wonderful.” Abandoning her computer, she picked up her empty glass and headed for the cog door. “Think I’ll join him.”
“Me too!” Jack was practically on her heels, walking as fast as he could manage, and that was all it took for Gwen to scramble to her aching feet and follow.
Owen shrugged. “What the hell? If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” Grabbing his drink, plus a couple of multi-packs of crisps from the kitchen, Owen followed the other three, arriving on Mermaid Quay to find the rest of the team already arrayed along the edge like a row of garden gnomes; all they were missing were the pointy hats and fishing rods. Ianto was busily distributing fruit juice and ice from his cooler.
Plunking himself down beside Tosh, Owen pulled off his trainers and socks, rolled the legs of his jeans to his knees, and swung his legs over the edge, giving a gasp as the cool water met his hot feet. Tearing open one of the big bags he’d brought with him, he plucked out a packet of cheese and onion crisps and nudged Tosh, handing her the rest of the multi-pack.
“Pass these out, would ya?”
Tosh turned towards him. “What? Ooooh, crisps! Thanks, Owen!” Taking the bag, she fished inside for a packet of roast chicken flavour, then nudged Ianto, passing the big bag to him, and on it went down the line, everyone taking their favourite flavour crisps. Silence fell, save for the rustle of crisp packets, the crunching of crisps, and in Jack’s case, ice, and quiet slurping sounds, with occasional splashing as they kicked their feet in the water.
“Great idea, this,” Jack said, setting his empty glass aside and flopping onto his back, feet still in the water and hands behind his head as he squinted up at the sky through half-closed eyes.
“I thought so,” Ianto agreed. “And just think, if you’d actually been listening to me earlier, you could’ve been up here soaking your feet that much sooner.”
“Is that your way of saying ‘I told you so’?” Jack asked, flashing his teeth in one of his famous smiles.
“Yep!” Ianto smirked, glancing down at Jack. “It’s about time you lot learned to listen to me. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I know everything, and I’m always right.”
“Yes you are,” Jack agreed. “Remind me to send out a memo to that effect.” He yawned and closed his eyes. “But not today; I think tomorrow will be soon enough.”