Jack had no idea just how he and Ianto had been transformed into cats.
Well, he said cats, but that was only because they were the closest Earth equivalent that he could think of. Plus they were the only things even remotely close that humans could even conceive fully with their limited six senses, so that’s what they appeared as to normal human eyes. In reality, Jack knows they really have six slimy appendages and gills somewhere, never mind the dual tail that computed through the visual conversion human brains put the image through. He could still feel it, actually, and it was a bit off-putting to say the least, never mind the fact that every once and a while he would catch a flash of their true forms out of the corner of his eyes. But in short, he and Ianto were a pair of mismatched, two-tailed, oddly colored cats set free in the entirety of the Torchwood Hub.
Alone. Completely and utterly alone. As in, no one is around to help, and he’s pretty sure not even these creatures have opposable thumbs. Yeah, definitely no opposable thumbs...
Maybe he shouldn’t have sent the rest of the team home early after all.
They hadn’t been doing anything bad, per say, or even dirty -as far as Jack went, that was saying something- when the whole thing had happened. He’d actually been helping Ianto put up and file away the paperwork associated with their latest romp about Cardiff when Ianto had said some semi-scathing-semi-teasing taunt about the chain of command and distracted him. He’d then turned to say something equally ridiculous back at the young man (about his suit) when he’d caught his foot on something sticking out away from the neatly organized sides of the hallway they were walking down. That in turn caused him to stumble and almost-trip, which then lead to him crashing into the ancient shelves to his left, each piece of ancient wood rattling and groaning as his weight settled, until one of the bottom ones finally gave way. It then sent its entire contents crashing to the ground between then, alien tech and boxes of appropriate paper work going every which way, Ianto scrabbling after both Jack and the artifacts.
One artifact in particular hit hard, but did nothing more than let out a loud metallic clank as it struck the reinforced concrete floor, and after a long pause and jointly held breath, everything went still. Nothing happened, papers settled, and time resumed its normal progression through space. Everything continued as it had been, normal, and repercussion free. Strange, that, but nice.
“Well, I guess we got lucky there!” Jack said jovially, laughing a bit as he rubbed the back of his neck. “Its amazing, I can count on one hand how many times something like this has happened and ended in some form of alien tech outburst. You must be one lucky guy, Ianto Jones.”
“Only if you rub me just right, Sir.” Ianto challenged, a twinkle in his eye blatant, even though Jack could see his shoulders still un-tensing and his frame relaxing slowly. He was something special, Jack would give him that, an anomaly gift-wrapped in a beautiful suit. “But now you’ve made quite the mess. You’re helping me clean this up.”
That left no room for arguing, not that Jack would.
“That’s what I was trying to do in the first place!” Ianto gave him The Look, the one reserved for when Jack was being an outright idiot and Ianto could see right through it. Right through him. “Well, that was the basic idea, anyways.”
Jack needed a good retort, but how does one go about arguing with that? But in the next moment it hardly mattered, because it was then that a small pile of papers, just to the left of the large metallic device that had hit the hardest, began to shudder. Shudder is a good word, because it covers a lot of other types of movements in its blanket folds, because vibrate implies sound, and there was definitely no sound. Dance implied some type of hopping, and it too was thrown out the window. So it shuddered... And by the time Jack and Ianto noticed it, uncovered it from the pile of disheveled paperwork, and got a good look at it, it was too late. With a blinding light and a distinct humming noise, the world exploded into sparking colors and deafening sounds. Jack, confused and disoriented, reached for Ianto, but found nothing but empty space before he too was lost to the spinning blotches and loud noise.
When Jack came too, he was laying on the floor...really close to the floor. Like all up in his face, cold concrete stained with centuries worth of dirt, debris, and grime all up in his face and right next to his really sensitive nose. Which, despite his advanced biology and body mods, wasn’t something he was used too. Pheromone receptors were one thing, but a sense of smell this strong? Nope.
And not to mention, he had paws, and a tail. Wait, two tails. Yeah, definitely two tails back there, one of them laying against his brownish-green flank, another spread out and curled behind him, more towards the side, resting just barely against something else furry-slimy-furry. His brain was registering both sensations, and boy wasn’t that confusing and oh-so-not right?
What the Hell had happened here?
Jack opened his mouth to ask just that...ask anyone!
And instead got some horrible yowling noise.
Whatever was furry-slimy-furry and laying towards his back immediately bolted up, reeled about towards his still prostrate form, and banked for the desk off to the back corner of the room. Well, that’s what Jack supposed it did, because he only barely caught the flash of something purplish move fast towards the old wooden monster Ianto used as a desk... Ianto. Ianto’s desk. The alien artifact that had been knocked to the ground. Ianto there with him, trying to stop it...
The noise that came out of Jack’s mouth this time couldn’t even be described by any English words he knew, or Welsh, or even a few basic common languages he’d used when he had still been a Time Agent. It was horrid really, like nails on a chalk-board muffled by the slick slide of viscera along the oiled surface of sewage, and nothing even remotely understandable as communication. Well, that took care of the “what-ifs” that had been floating about his head, rescue plans that involved the team and or the arrival of someone who knew what Ianto’s filing system actually meant. And just because he was coherent and sentient, that didn’t mean Ianto was. Poor Ianto who had just bolted in fear at his horrid sounding questions. Jack cringed and climbed to his feet, the dual tails swishing behind him.
Hopefully, he could get Ianto to come out of the dark depths of the desk sometime soon.
Because somewhere in the back of his animalistic brain, he realized that Ianto would look very good with some sort of purple fur.
The next morning found the team arriving slowly, bleary eyes and sloppy dress expecting to be soothed over by a combination Ianto’s coffee and Jack’s inevitable-but-familiar harassing jokes. Instead, upon descending from a really dark tourist office into an equally dim Hub, they found the entirety of the office level ransacked, up-turned, and looted. Bins were knocked over, chairs were askew, clothing missing out of lockers, office supplies scattered everywhere across the floor, and more than one plant in the hot house chewed up or knocked over. It looked like a tornado had ripped through the Hub, and knowing full well what a Rift Spike was capable of, the team began to panic. Because neither Jack nor Ianto were present, and the lights to Jack’s office were on, the door half-opened, random items in the door jam.
If it had been an alien their boss and coworker could be hurt, or dead...especially dead. It was a logical fear, really, in their line of work, to fear for the mortality of their tight knit team. Even for Jack, who they knew couldn’t die and stay dead, the fear lingered due mainly to the absence of his boisterous and unmistakable personality. It in turn, sparked the search that lead them up the stairs to Jack’s darkened office.
Once inside, the mess seemed to come to a head, all manner of things drug bellow the wooden desk in the center of the room, and over-turned lamp shaded by the heavy wood so that the light was sheltered from prying eyes. Blankets, sheets, blouses, and all manner of linens were wrapped around one another in the space between the heavy drawers of the desk, creating a nest-like niche that was illuminated by the lamp but protected by the enclosed wood. Jack’s coat was notably at the top of the pile, towards the back of the mass, and it fluttered gently as something breathed in the recesses of the folds it created when drug under the desk. The team had all founds guns, had trained them on whatever it was hiding from them in the mess it had created, and were fully prepared to shoot whatever it was down there.
They weren’t prepared for the two sleeping cat-things curled together beneath the coat, content to ignore the world and indulge in one another’s combined body heat and the massed amount of scents of the different linens. Tosh noticed one of her sweaters and blouses, Gwen a jacket left for bad weather, and Owen a few pair of trousers that would replace the ones he’d eventually dirty during an autopsy or medical exam. Then a replacement suit of Ianto’s, Jack’s bed sheets and a pillow from the camp bed down below, and a stop watch given a place of honor between the layers of it all nearest the beasts. Home, the nest screamed, comfort, familiarity, safety, family.
From there it wasn’t so hard to piece together what had happened with the footage from the security cameras that most of the archives were covered in, and just who the two odd cat creatures really were. Both of which were still content to lay in their hole with one another, sleeping... Dead to the world.
Later, both Ianto and Jack would deny everything.
But even they couldn’t help but smile when someone dropped a piece of clothing into a heap on the floor.