When Ianto woke up naked with no idea where he was or how he’d got there, he wasn’t particularly surprised; it wasn’t the first time that had happened, and probably wouldn’t be the last. When you not only worked for Torchwood but were also involved with Jack Harkness, such awakenings were pretty much business as usual.
On the plus side, at least this time he could move; that was a good sign, as was the fact that he wasn’t in pain and appeared to be unhurt. Could be worse!
Sitting up carefully, he looked around; he was in a small clearing surrounded by trees and bushes, which meant either one of Cardiff’s larger parks, or the countryside beyond the city limits. Okay, still not too bad, although getting back to the Hub could pose a problem, what with the whole naked thing. Nude hitchhiking didn’t appeal.
Closing his eyes, he cast his mind back to the last thing he remembered. Something had come through the Rift. Jack had been busy on the phone with the Prime Minister, and Owen had been up to his elbows in an autopsy subject, with Tosh assisting, so Ianto and Gwen had gone to retrieve the mystery object. How long ago had that been? They’d left the Hub around ten-thirty that morning, but judging by the position of the sun, it was now late afternoon; a good five hours had passed. What exactly had happened?
Ianto remembered arriving at the coordinates of the Rift spike. He and Gwen had parked the SUV and made their way down to the railway embankment, where they’d found what they were looking for; a small device wedged in the branches of a scraggly thorn tree. It hadn’t been climbable, so they’d found sticks and used them to poke at the object, trying to dislodge it from its resting place. Eventually they’d succeeded, it had fallen, Ianto had dropped his stick and made a wild grab… He vaguely remembered catching the device, and then… nothing. Had whatever he’d caught teleported him to somewhere else? But if that was the case, why was he naked?
He was still sitting there on the grass, trying to come up with a logical explanation, when he heard something, a distant voice, calling his name.
That was Jack!
After ten minutes or so of shouting back and forth, Jack appeared, pushing his way through the bushes. “There you are!”
“Here I am!” Ianto agreed. “I just don’t know where here is or how I got here.”
“About fifteen miles outside Cardiff, and you flew.”
“Yep! Gwen says the moment you touched the device, you turned into a bird and flew off, leaving your clothes behind. Tosh couldn’t pick up your tracking chip at first. Must’ve been inoperable until you turned back into yourself. Good thing you did.” Jack removed his backpack and handed Ianto some clothes. “D’you have any idea how difficult it is to locate one particular crow among hundreds?”