Cardiff is caught in a heatwave, and for once it’s not a by-product of something alien; it’s entirely natural. Across the city, air conditioning in shops and offices is labouring to keep the city’s workers from melting at their desks and cash registers. Wilting shoppers duck into any premises they pass that might offer a few minutes of slightly cooler temperatures, even if the place doesn’t stock anything they want to buy. Supermarket frozen foods sections are the most popular places in town, with throngs of people just standing by the freezers, eyes half closed, basking in the chill radiating from them, grateful for air they can breathe.
The Torchwood team count themselves more fortunate that the rest of Cardiff; the Hub is below ground, so it’s a little cooler there. Nevertheless, the team have all shed any unnecessary clothing. Even Jack is down to t-shirt and trousers, braces hanging loose, while Ianto has abandoned his suit entirely, trading it in for cargo shorts and a sleeveless tee.
Surprisingly, it’s Ianto’s choice of hot-weather outfit rather than the heat itself that’s making the team unable to concentrate on their work. He drifts among their workstations, delivering iced drinks and collecting completed paperwork, somehow managing to look cool, calm and efficient despite everything. Jack has a glazed look in his eyes, which are fixed unwaveringly on his lover’s arse, while Gwen and Tosh keep surreptitiously checking out the long, leanly muscled arms and legs that are for once exposed to their greedy gazes. Owen’s going out of his way to avoid looking at the team’s youngest member, his eyes glued to his computer screen, but he hasn’t moved in ten minutes. Productivity has dropped to almost nothing.
When Ianto announces he’s going out to fetch lunch and asks what everyone wants, it takes several minutes for his words to register and several more to get their brains in gear enough to think. Orders for salads and ice cream taken, he grabs his wallet and a battered canvas shopping bag, puts on sunglasses and heads for the invisible lift. That’s too much for Jack to bear.
“Hold up, I’ll go with.”
“You just want to stare at my arse some more.”
Jack doesn’t even try to deny it. “Well yeah, it’s not every day you wear shorts.”
“Come on then.” Ianto makes room on the paving slab; Jack hops up beside him. “I expect the rest of you to have your reports finished by the time I get back,” Ianto adds, smirking.
Tosh and Gwen groan. Busted!