It was the middle of June but the weather had suddenly turned freezing with the arrival of a rogue weather system, much to the team’s disgust.
It wouldn’t have been so bad except that as it was technically summer now, at least according to the calendar, the Hub’s heating had automatically switched itself off two weeks earlier. Ianto had told them it could be manually re-started, but that it would take at least a week for the Hub to warm up again, which wouldn’t do anything to help them today.
The lack of heating might not even have mattered if they’d been busy; running around all day dealing with Rift alerts certainly kept a body warm. It was just their luck that the cold spell coincided with a lull in Rift activity, leaving them with nothing to do. Even their outstanding paperwork had all been completed the previous day.
So here they were, shivering, breath making clouds in the cold air, cradling steaming coffee mugs between frozen hands, and cursing Jack for sending all the Hub’s winter bedding to the dry cleaners at the start of the week. That meant there wasn’t even a thick blanket or cosy duvet available to wrap themselves in; all they had were the clothes they’d been wearing this morning before the weather had turned, and whatever they’d had in their lockers, which wasn’t much.
It was alright for Myfanwy, she still had her duvet and was snuggled under it up in her aerie, flatly refusing to let anyone share it. The unexpected cold weather and rapidly approaching storm front had put her in a bad mood because she couldn’t go out flying, so she was taking her temper out on everybody and wouldn’t even be bribed with chocolate. Ianto knew; he’d already tried.
“We’re all going to freeze to death if we stay here,” grumbled Owen. “We’d be better off at home.”
“Feel free to leave,” snapped Ianto, “but I don’t fancy anyone’s chances out there today. The last forecast I was able to get said the storm would hit land within the next hour; wind speeds are already at eighty miles per hour and expected to reach over a hundred. We’re in for a battering over the next twelve hours or so, with torrential rain and lightning as well as the gales. Head for home if you like, but if you don’t get swept out to sea and drowned, you stand a good chance of being hit by lightning, falling masonry, branches, maybe even flying sheep if you’re really unlucky.”
“Ha ha, very funny, Tea Boy. Okay, so going home is out, turning the heating back on is pointless… What are we going to do?”
“We should all cuddle to conserve body heat,” said Andy. “That’s what we were always told on the force anyway.”
Owen sighed and drained his coffee mug.
“Much as I hate to admit it, he’s actually right. If we all cuddle up together, wrapped in whatever blankets our idiot boss didn’t send to the cleaners…”
“Hey! I resent that! I was just doing the same thing we do every year. How was I supposed to know we’d need them? This storm took even the meteorologists by surprise, it was supposed to miss Britain completely.”
“Weather forecasters always get it wrong,” grumbled Gwen. “They tell you that you don’t need a brolly, so you leave it at home and get drenched. Are we sure this weather doesn’t have anything to do with the Rift?”
“Quite sure,” Tosh replied. “I already checked and it’s completely natural. Two weather systems collided, which sent this one off its predicted course. It happens sometimes.”
“Right, I’ll fetch what blankets and sheets are available,” Ianto decided. “You lot push the sofas together so there’s room for all of us. There are a couple of dozen thermos flasks in the kitchen cupboards; we’ll fill half with soup and half with hot drinks. We’ll be fine.”
Everyone scurried off to do what they could to help.
Once preparations were completed, they all crawled into their makeshift nest, cuddling each other in an attempt to get warm.
“Hot water bottles would have been nice,” sighed Tosh.
Mickey looked sheepish.
“Not your fault,” Jack told him. “That was a stroke of genius, using them as booby-traps to stop the invasion last week. Worked like a charm.”
“I ordered replacements, they just haven’t arrived yet,” Ianto added.
Even down in the Hub, they could hear the wind howling outside. It made them feel even colder.
“This isn’t working,” Gwen said through chattering teeth. “We’re all so cold we don’t have any body heat to share.”
Before anyone could reply, there was a soft slithering sound and a querulous hum. Two fluffy heads, one green and one mostly purple, appeared, peering at the team in puzzlement.
“We’re freezing our arses off, if that’s what you want to know,” Owen informed Torchwood’s resident Fluffs. “Feel free to join us if you’re cold, but I guarantee it won’t help you. Frostbite is imminent.”
Nosy and Dizzy hummed to each other for a moment then slithered up to join their friends, wrapping thick, furry coils around everyone in the biggest and fluffiest cuddle they could manage.
“They’re so warm!” Tosh exclaimed in astonishment, burying her hands in Dizzy’s thick fur. The others all copied her, marvelling at the heat radiating from the friendly aliens.
“Saved by the Fluff!” Ianto smiled. “It’s like being cuddled by an electric blanket that loves you.” Everybody laughed and Nosy hummed happily.
The rest of the day was spent cuddled together warm and cosy, wrapped in their living blanket, cracking jokes, singing songs and telling stories. Somehow the cold weather and the storm raging outside didn’t seem nearly as bad after all.