Andy was finding working for Torchwood a bit of an adjustment. It wasn’t just because of the longer hours, or even the lack of regular hours, set shifts, or scheduled days off, although that was certainly taking some getting used to. It was more due to the general whacked out weirdness of the place.
Forget for the moment that he now worked in a secret underground base, in the employ of an immortal man from three thousand years in the future, who regularly got killed and came back to life again, and had a Pteranodon for a pet. That was certainly out of the ordinary, but still relatively easy to accept.
Forget too that he was now in the business of protecting Cardiff, and by extension the earth, from marauding aliens. For that matter, his job also involved protecting aliens from the marauding people of earth. Not all non-terrestrial beings were hostile; that was one of the first things he’d learned after signing the Official Secrets Act. The general public, having watched countless science fiction movie extravaganzas, didn’t seem able, or indeed willing, to make such distinctions. To them, all aliens were a threat.
You could even set aside the startling discovery that he’d lived his entire life on a Rift through Time and Space without knowing it existed, and the even more alarming notion that razor-toothed aliens with a taste for rather unsavoury things not only lived but thrived in Cardiff’s sewers. Even after a month, Andy was still giving manholes a wide berth, just in case a lurking Weevil should happen to jump out at him.
No, what was really weird about Torchwood was the way everyone else took the totally bizarre in their stride, as if it wasn’t even worth batting an eyelid over. At first he’d thought the lot of them must have a weird sense of humour and were just having him on. He’d soon realised that wasn’t the case; it was simply that they’d learned to believe everything, no matter how outlandish or impossible it sounded, because in this place logic just flew straight out the window and the everyday rules of science they’d been taught in school did not necessarily apply. It was disconcerting to realise that natural laws weren’t as immutable as he’d been told.
Take today, for example. Ianto and Tosh had gone on a Rift retrieval all the way to the outskirts of the city. They’d called in to say they’d arrived at the coordinates of the Rift spike they’d gone to investigate and were about to begin their search, but then nothing else was heard from them for almost an hour and a half, until they came back in via the cog door instead of through the garage entrance.
Andy had been up in Jack’s office at the time, going over a report, so he’d seen Tosh heading to her desk carrying a containment box while Ianto made his way up to the glass-walled office to check in with his other half. That the immortal Captain was dating Torchwood’s archivist was known to everyone and was possibly the most normal thing about the place.
Jack turned away from Andy to greet his lover. “Finally!” He leapt to his feet, welcoming Ianto back with an enthusiastic snog that made Andy blush. “What took you so long? You’ve been gone for hours! I was getting worried; much longer and I would’ve sent out a search party.”
Andy wouldn’t have put that past his new boss.
“Sorry, we had to walk most of the way back, until we could get a bus to the Plas.”
“But you left here in the SUV, didn’t you? What happened to it?”
“Ah, about that; there was a slight mishap and it got turned into an onion. Tosh is going to work on fixing that, but it might take a while.” Ianto dug in his pocket, pulled out a large, glossy onion and plunked said onion in the middle of Jack's desk.
Jack looked at it warily. “Uh Ianto, don’t you think you’d better put that in the garage just in case it turns back spontaneously? I don’t want to suddenly have a two and a half ton SUV on my desk. It would probably collapse under the weight.”
“Good point, I should have thought of that.” Ianto frowned, picking the onion up and looking at it thoughtfully. “I’ve had this in my coat pocket for the last forty-five minutes. That could’ve been nasty. I’ll go and put it in its parking space. You two both want coffee when I’ve done that?”
“D’you really have to ask?” Jack leered at Ianto.
“Probably not; I think you’re constitutionally unable to say no to coffee.”
“Only when it comes to your coffee; I’ve been thoroughly spoiled.”
“Sweet talker. Andy? Coffee?”
“Um, yes, please. If it’s no trouble.”
“I live to serve coffee,” Ianto said dryly. “It’s what gives my life meaning.”
Not knowing quite how to react to that, Andy just stared at Ianto with a vaguely worried expression on his face.
“Relax, Andy, it’s no trouble at all. Making coffee is an art and a pleasure; I’d be making it for myself even if nobody else wanted any.” Onion SUV in hand, Ianto left the office, heading for the underground garage to park it, just as a precaution.
Andy sat down heavily. Luckily there was a chair behind him; otherwise he would’ve wound up in a heap on the floor. “This place is weird.”
“You’re only just noticing that?” Jack asked incredulously, eyebrows raised. “You’ve been here a month!”
“Oh, no, I noticed before, can’t help noticing really, it’s just, some days it hits me all over again, a bit like a sledgehammer to the head, and my brain starts trying to hide in the darkest corner of my skull out of self-preservation.”
“Believe it or not, you will get used to it, just like the rest of us have.” Andy knew Jack meant that to be reassuring, but…
“I know.” Andy gave a wry smile. “That’s what I’m afraid of.”