Characters: Ianto, Jack, Owen, Tosh, Gwen.
Summary: Ianto only went out for a short while, but when he got back things definitely weren’t as he’d left them…
Word Count: 1085
Written For: My own prompt ‘Torchwood, Ianto + Team, “If someone doesn't tell the truth about what happened in the next two minutes, I'll...”,’ at fic_promptly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
Ianto looked at the scene before him and rolled his eyes. There were days he got the distinct feeling that he worked with a bunch of pre-school children, and this was definitely one of them. His four colleagues stood before him, three of them half-dressed in each other’s clothes, with what looked like feathers in their hair and stripes of lipstick on their faces; warpaint, he presumed. Jack, perhaps unsurprisingly, was naked; being the biggest of them, nobody else’s clothes would fit him, although he did appear to have a pair of panties on his head and a matching bra in one hand, which he’d been wielding like a slingshot a few minutes earlier.
The Hub looked like a tornado had passed through it, with paperwork and other items scattered across the floor. From where he was standing, Ianto could see a broken mug, several pens and pencils, the contents of the rubbish bin, a couple of his chocolate-covered coffee beans, and several cookies that looked like they’d been trampled underfoot. There also seemed to be quite a bit of loose change, which had probably fallen out of Owen and Jack’s trouser pockets.
“I was only gone for half an hour!” Ianto exclaimed in an aggrieved tone. “What did you do?”
There was a deafening hush as the four miscreants shifted from foot to foot, glancing at each other, all of them waiting for one of the others to speak first. Owen raised his hand, but as Ianto turned to look at him, he saw that the team’s medic was just taking a bite out of a doughnut he had rather perilously impaled on one of his scalpels. Ianto strode towards him, snatched it off him, confiscated the scalpel, for safety’s sake, and returned the doughnut. Owen pouted, but took another bite anyway.
Setting the scalpel down on the nearest workstation, which happened to be Gwen’s, Ianto folded him arms across his chest. “Well?” Further silence ensued. “If someone doesn't tell me the truth about what happened in the next two minutes, I'll...” He faltered; just what would constitute an effective punishment in this case? “I’ll lock the lot of you in the cells overnight without dinner. In the dark.”
“You wouldn’t…” Gwen paled and she bit her lip, voice quavering slightly.
He glared back at her. “Try me.”
“We were playing Indians and Indians,” Jack said quickly. At Ianto’s raised eyebrow, he shrugged and explained. “Nobody wanted to be a cowboy. I’m the Indian chief. See?” He pointed at his head. “I have a headdress. We were battling aliens.” The others nodded agreement.
Aliens. Well, at least that much was business as usual.
“And before you decided to swap clothes and play at being Indians, what were you all doing? Because as I recall, when I left to pick up the dry cleaning, Owen was writing up his latest autopsy report, Gwen was on the phone to Rhys to tell him she’d be a bit late tonight, Jack, you and Tosh were examining the artefact we picked up this morning…”
Ianto trailed off, looking around for said object, which resembled a purple onion, studded with a series of small buttons on one side and with three short legs underneath for it to stand on. It was lying on its side on Tosh’s desk, a small tool protruding from a slot that ran along below the buttons. Crossing the intervening distance in a few quick strides, Ianto snatched the thing up and yanked the tool free. The artefact gave a muted click and a hum, then went quiet again. Ianto glanced back at the team.
Owen was staring at the half a doughnut clutched in his hand as if he’d never seen it before and couldn’t work out where it had come from. Gwen and Tosh were blushing furiously, trying not to look at Jack while searching for their clothes, a futile task since Owen had on Tosh’s skirt and Gwen’s t-shirt, while Jack had Gwen’s undies.
Jack seemed completely unfazed by being naked, grinning at Ianto and asking, “Back so soon? You only just left!”
“I’ve been gone half an hour,” Ianto corrected.
“You have? Doesn’t seem that long.”
“Go and put some clothes on,” Ianto said with a sigh. “Preferably your own. And give Gwen her underwear back.”
“On your head.”
“Oh.” Jack reached up with his empty hand and tugged the garment off his head. “Ooooh, nice colour!”
Gwen, barefoot and wearing Jack’s trousers, stomped across and snatched the panties and matching bra from Jack’s fingers, before following Tosh, who’d made a dash for the stairs to the locker room, clad only in her bra and Owen’s boxers.
Owen followed the girls with his eyes, frowning in confusion, then looked down at himself, eyes going wide as he realised he was wearing a skirt. “Fuck!” Snatching his shirt from where it was hanging over one of Tosh’s monitors, he scuttled after the girls, yelling, “Who’s got my trousers?”
“Watch where you put your feet,” Ianto called after him. “You don’t want to cut yourself.” He turned back to Jack, who’d barely moved. “Jack? Weren’t you going to get dressed?”
“Do I have to?”
“Yes. And wash your face while you’re at it.” As Jack shambled off to do as he was told, Ianto muttered to himself, “Not sure I want to know where they got all the feathers. Probably a bald pigeon somewhere about.”
He set the weird object back down on Tosh’s desk; it was either some sort of hypnosis device, or it had regressed the team back to childhood. Could even be both. Whatever; it was going in the secure archives as soon as possible, but first he’d better sweep up a bit before someone cut themselves on the broken crockery, and then collect the paperwork; that was going to take a bit of sorting, and some of it would probably have to be re-done. He also wanted to find out whether any of his chocolate-covered coffee beans had survived; he’d thought they were well hidden, but apparently not. He’d have to find a better hiding place for his decadent treats.
At least the rest of the team seemed to be more or less back to normal. That was Torchwood for you though; turn your back for a few minutes and anything could happen. He just hoped the CCTV had caught it all; from what he’d seen on his return, the preceding events should make for very entertaining viewing.