The moment Ianto’s mobile rang he just knew he shouldn’t have let Jack go on a retrieval outside Cardiff alone. Unfortunately it was unavoidable; Gwen was off sick, Owen and Tosh were already out dealing with an infestation of little blue bugs, and Ianto himself was on desk duty with a broken ankle. Only the fact that his chair had wheels made it possible for him to work at all, even though he was restricted to one level of the Hub because wheels and stairs don’t mix.
“Jack? What’s up?” There was a note of trepidation in Ianto’s voice, he wasn’t at all sure he wanted to know why Jack was phoning him when he’d insisted collecting the artefact would be a piece of cake.
“Um, well… Don't ask me how, but I have a squirrel in my backpack and I don't know what to do with it.”
Ianto closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. Just like that, he was getting a headache. “A squirrel? What kind of squirrel?”
“What do you mean what kind? It’s a squirrel!”
“An alien squirrel or an earth squirrel?” Only in Torchwood would that be a logical question to ask. “And is it grey or red?”
“Earth squirrel definitely. I think. Sort of greyish?”
“In your backpack?”
“How should I know? I didn’t ask it!”
“Well, can’t you just tip it out?”
“But it has teeth!”
“Yes, they generally do.”
“What if it bites me?”
“As long as it’s not a rabid squirrel you’ll be fine.”
“How would I know?”
“Is it foaming at the mouth?”
“No, just shedding crumbs.”
“It’s eating the cookies I brought with me. I thought I might get hungry, so I packed a snack.”
“Pick up your backpack, tip the squirrel out, and let it have the cookies. Then find what you went out there for and come home.”
“Oh, I already found that. It’s in my pocket.”
“Oh. Good. As long as it’s not another squirrel,” Ianto muttered.
“What did you say?”
“Never mind, just get back here, without the squirrel.”
“Well, if you’re sure it’s safe.”
“A lot safer than bringing it home with you would be.”
“Alright. I’ll see you in a bit.”
“Goodbye, Jack.” Ianto hung up and buried his head in his hands. Moments like this made him wonder whether common sense had been bred out of the human race by the 51st century.