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Back Lot Rivalry

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Ianto wheeled a filing cabinet into one of the cubicles they had improvised in the faded blue steel building behind Harwood's Haulage. The front third was a trio of bare bones workstations, with a small medical and autopsy space curtained off just adjacent along the front wall. Across from that was Jack's workspace, with slightly taller cubicle walls. Beyond it Ianto had claimed much of the back third of the building a temporary archive and was busy arranging cabinets in as near an approximation to Torchwood's actual filing system as he could.

It was going precisely as well as he could have expected, which was to say it was going to be a long six weeks while the Adrax nerve gas that had flooded the Hub became inert. Still, he was grateful for Rhys both for the space, and his mysterious ability to source second-hand office supplies. "I suppose it's just as well she didn't give him the Retcon," he said and turned to face Jack, who stood watch a few yards away.

Jack chuckled. "Don't let Toshiko hear you say that. She's been trying to get the network up to spec for half an hour now. She keeps going on about how Orange's broadband service is substandard. I think she's just waiting for me to give the order for her to rewire the whole block."

"You say that like it's a bad thing."

"Well, I'm sure Ruth would appreciate it." Jack tilted his head to the side. "Though the real trick would be explaining to UNIT why there's a corner of Cardiff running on an essentially alien telecom system."

"Just tell them that it's part of a green initiative and blame it on the University." He gave his space a last brief looking-over. It was far too tidy and well-lit. Still, it would have to do for now. "Ruth seems quite taken with you. You must have made quite the impression the last time you visited."

Jack raised his eyebrows. "Jealous?"

"She brought you a pasty."

"And?" Jack said, indignant. "It was going spare."

"She also winked at you and said something about undercarriages." Ianto tried not to acknowledge that his hands had found their way to his hips. "And anyway, Rhys won't be best pleased if you distract his dispatcher. Harwood's is a business. A proper one with health and safety standards and revolting drip coffee."

"Actually, it's not that bad," Jack said. "And it's not like we have running water in here."

"Not yet," Ianto said through gritted teeth. Yes, it was going to be a very long six weeks indeed.