Jack couldn’t believe their date had gone so wrong. Sometimes he wondered if they were jinxed, or if the universe just really hated him personally. He didn’t think this sort of thing ever happened when Ianto went out alone, or if it did Ianto had never mentioned it. Not that Ianto was saying much of anything right now; he was too busy shivering.
Jack put his head in his hands and groaned. The whole evening had been a complete disaster and now here they were, in the back of a police car, arrested for indecent exposure when they hadn’t even been doing anything!
Okay, yes, they’d been found stark naked near the train station, but if the police truly believed they’d been up to something kinky then they were insane! It was bloody freezing out! Ianto, huddled beside him wrapped in a blanket, still looked rather blue; it wasn’t a good shade on him. His teeth were chattering too.
Jack wrapped his arm around his lover, hoping to warm him up a little.
“Oi! No funny business back there!”
“I should be so lucky!” Jack shot back. “In case you haven’t noticed, my friend is half frozen; you should be taking us to the hospital, not the police station!”
“The two of you were naked in public, that’s indecent exposure.”
“We weren’t naked on purpose!” Which, strange as it sounded, was for once the literal truth. “It’s not like we suddenly thought, ‘Oh, let’s take all our clothes off in public on the coldest night of the year and see how long it takes us to freeze to death’!”
“He has a point, Sarge,” the young constable in the driver’s seat put in. “It really is cold out tonight. It would be a bloody silly thing to do.”
“If I want your opinion, Constable Evans, I’ll ask for it!” the sergeant snapped. “Shut up and drive. I’ve ‘ad trouble with these two before.”
‘Damn!’ Jack thought. ‘Why did it have to be the one who arrested us a few weeks ago for breaking and exiting?’ On the other hand, that might just work in their favour.
“Yes, and if you recall, you were the one who ended up in trouble for wasting police time when we proved we’d been tied up and locked inside that warehouse while investigating a drug smuggling operation.”
The sergeant twisted around in his seat and glared at them. “So what’s your excuse this time?” he sneered.
Ianto lifted his head and stared stonily back at Cardiff’s finest. He looked quite impressive, despite his chattering teeth.
“We had to remove our clothes after we were doused in corrosive liquid.”
It was the truth. Neither of them knew what the creature they’d been tracking was, but they’d discovered pretty quickly that it spat some sort of acid. Their clothes had started dissolving almost immediately and the stuff burned like hell. Jack had never been so glad not to be wearing his greatcoat, although he bitterly regretted the loss of the fine woollen coat Ianto had given him at Christmas.
“Like I’m going to believe that.”
“Well, this isn’t frostbite,” Ianto said calmly, holding out one raw and blistered hand as evidence. “And in case you’re wondering, yes, it’s as painful as it looks, and it seems to be getting worse.”
The sergeant recoiled, looking disgusted. PC Evans glanced in the rear view mirror, muttered ‘ouch’, turned on the sirens and made a u-turn.
“Evans, what d’you think you’re doin’?”
“Re-routing to the hospital, Sarge.”
“I don’t recall tellin’ you to do that!”
“No, Sarge, you didn’t, but I’m doing it anyway. That poor man needs medical attention.”
Jack could have applauded the constable.
“You disobeyin’ a direct order, Evans?”
“No, Sarge. You never told me not to drive to the hospital.”
There was no answer to that, and scowling, the older man wisely kept quiet until they pulled up outside Accident and Emergency, where PC Evans trotted inside to fetch help.
“You two got lucky this time, but you’d best watch your backs, because next time I’ll find a charge that sticks! I’m tired of bloody Torchwood ridin’ roughshod over decent people; the lot of you should be behind bars!”
“Believe it or not, Sergeant Black,” Ianto said calmly, because being Ianto he knew every police officer in Cardiff by sight, “we are on the same side. Protecting the people of Cardiff is as much Torchwood’s responsibility as it is yours and we take what we do every bit as seriously as you do. Thank you for your assistance,” and he stepped from the car with surprising dignity, considering that he was naked and clutching a blanket around him with blistered hands.
Before he followed, Jack turned to their unwilling rescuer with a smirk. “Yes, thank you sergeant. I’ll be sure to give you a glowing report next time I speak to Her Majesty. I’m sure she’ll be most impressed.” Turning to PC Evans, who’d just returned with a nurse and two orderlies, bearing blankets and hospital scrubs, Jack held out his hand. Evans took it, looking slightly confused. “You ever feel like a change of career, Constable Evans, give me a call. I’d give you one of my business cards, but I appear to be fresh out of them.”
“Thank you, sir, I might well do that. I have a feeling I’m not exactly in Sergeant Black’s good graces right now. If I ever was.”
Jack shook his hand firmly. “Good man.” Without a backward glance, he strode into the hospital, following Ianto, who was already being hustled towards a treatment room. “Does anyone have any change? I need to make a phone call. I’ll pay you back!” He needed to call Owen and get him out here. First priority was to get Ianto’s acid burns treated, then they’d need to track the creature and deal with it. As date nights went, this hadn’t been one of the best, but maybe it wasn’t a complete loss. They’d pissed off their police nemesis and found a potential new recruit.
All in all, he reflected, it wasn’t a bad night’s work!