Ianto was minding his own business one day, just going about his many and varied tasks around the Hub, when from the corner of his eye, he caught sight of something twinkling. He blinked and turned his head, but there was nothing there. Frowning, he looked around, but everything seemed perfectly normal, so after a moment he simply shrugged and continued on his way to the kitchen with the empty mugs and plates to be washed.
When the washing up was done and everything put neatly away, he left the kitchen area intending to collect up anything that was ready for filing and go down to the archives, but as he approached the nearest workstation, Gwen’s, he once again caught sight of something off to his right, glittering in the Hub’s lights as it drifted along. He turned to follow it with his eyes, but just like before, it had vanished. Clearly this was a mystery that required investigation.
Gwen and Owen were out, doing a health check on some of Cardiff’s resident aliens. Tosh was completely engrossed in her computers, and both Andy and Mickey were in Torchwood’s underground garage, doing some work on Mickey’s van. Jack, Ianto assumed, was probably up in his office, getting on with the pile of paperwork he’d been putting off. Ianto decided it would be best not to bother his lover until he had something more definite to report than a couple of brief glimpses of something twinkly. Instead he stayed where he was, pretending to read the file in his hands but really watching his surroundings covertly from beneath his eyelashes.
Sure enough, after only a few minutes, he spotted another of the curious sparkles, drifting slowly across the Hub, buoyed up by air currents from the ventilation system. This time he got a good look at it before it vanished, and he immediately set off, backtracking along its probable route, seeking the source. Now that he knew what he was looking for, it wasn’t very hard to find.
Mounting the stairs to the catwalk outside Jack’s office, he stopped with his hands on his hips and a frown creasing his forehead at the sight that met his eyes. “Just as I thought. Aren’t you supposed to be doing that pile of paperwork I left for you?”
Jack looked up guiltily from where he was sitting with his back against the wall, Nosy coiled beside him. “I was, but Nosy was bored so I thought I’d take a bit of a break.” Briefly dipping the little wand he was holding in the container on his lap, he held it in front of the Fluff. “Blow!”
Obediently, Nosy blew and a stream of little bubbles took flight. Most of them burst almost immediately on the catwalk railings and the wall, but a couple drifted high enough to clear all obstacles and floated lazily across the Hub, only to pop out of existence as they reached the end of their brief lives.
Another dip of the wand, and this time it was Jack’s turn. He blew much more slowly than Nosy had, and produced a single large bubble, which the Fluff watched with wide eyes as it expanded, bigger and bigger, before detaching itself from the wand. For the space of a heartbeat, it hovered, wobbling like a jelly in midair, then it burst wetly, spraying a fine mist of moisture over the three of them.
Ianto shook his head in resignation. “I don’t know which of you is the bigger kid. Give that to me.”
Reluctantly, Jack handed over the bubble maker.
“The mistake you’re making is blowing bubbles in such a confined area,” Ianto told his lover and their pet. “There are far too many things for them to get caught on.” Dipping the wand into the bubble mixture, he leant on the railing and blew steadily, a host of medium-sized bubbles pouring forth, immediately getting caught by an updraft from a nearby ventilation grille and soaring giddily upwards, causing Myfanwy to swoop over to investigate. “See? That’s how you want to do it.” He winked at Jack. “Champion bubble-blower on the estate when I was a kid.” Handing the bubble stuff back, he picked up the file he’d set aside and started towards the steps. “Fifteen minutes and then you’d better get back to your paperwork, Jack,” he called back over his shoulder. “Make the most of it.”
Jack scrambled to his feet and leant on the railing the way Ianto had, Nosy sticking its head between the bars beside him. He offered it the wand. “Blow.”
Walking across the Hub, gathering files as he went, Ianto looked up and smiled at the sparkling bubbles drifting by far overhead, and at Myfanwy swooping about trying to catch them. Sometimes the simplest pleasures were the best.