“I am the world's greatest pervert. I will do anything to anything,” John Hart had once told Jack, back when they’d first met at the Time Agency and gone by different names. He’d soon proved to Jack that it wasn’t an idle boast; humans, aliens, animals, inanimate objects, Hart didn’t care. When it came to perversions, he was an equal opportunities offender, willing to go where no man had gone before, and where no one in their right mind would ever think of going. In fact, Jack thought Hart’s claim to be on the modest side; what he should have said was that he was the universe’s greatest pervert. To say that Hart was warped would have been a gross understatement.
When John Hart had shown up in Cardiff that first time, it had quickly become clear to Jack that his ex-partner hadn’t mellowed an inch in the time that had passed since their last meeting. No one on earth, and no poodle, to say nothing of other dog species, and indeed other animals, would ever be safe from the man’s appetites; lust was a lifestyle choice with him, and he’d take his satisfaction wherever he could find it, not always bothering to get consent. That had been just one of many reason why Jack had been relieved to get rid of him. Let the rest of the universe deal with him; earth wasn’t ready for someone so completely lacking in morals, inhibitions, and any sense of good judgment.
Then Hart had come back with Jack’s brother, the pair of them causing devastation to Cardiff, not to mention what they did, or attempted to do, to Jack’s team. It was a miracle they’d all come through it alive and more or less in one piece. Injuries healed, even if the memories lingered.
Hart had gone again after that, hopefully convinced at last that Jack didn’t want him around. Jack had thought he’d left earth, gone back to the Vegas Galaxies where anyone and anything could be had for a price, and he’d figured that was it; with any luck he’d never have to set eyes on the man again. He should probably have known he’d never be that lucky. Like a bad penny, Captain John Hart would always turn up again, usually at the worst possible time.
Kathy Swanson had long since learned to call on Jack and Torchwood whenever something strange was happening in and around Cardiff, but when she’d phoned to report the theft, over the course of two days, of every single standard poodle in the whole of Cardiff, Jack had simply groaned and dropped his forehead down onto his blotter with a thud. “He’s back.”
“Let’s just call him my nemesis, the biggest pervert in the known universe and beyond,” Jack said in a resigned tone.
“You think this nemesis of yours has taken to dognapping?” Kathy sounded dubious. “Why would he do that?”
“He has an unhealthy attraction to poodles.”
“You don’t mean…?” Kathy couldn’t bring herself the say the words.
“Exactly. He’s got the hots for them.”
“What? Illegal? Immoral? Perverted?”
“Yes, all that and probably a few other things as well.”
“John Hart would do anything with or to anything; he’s proud of his perversions. But don’t worry, I know how to find him.” One person with a wrist strap could always locate another.
“What about the dogs?”
“I’ll do my best to return the to their owners, but they might never be quite the same,” Jack said gloomily.
Using his vortex manipulator, Jack and the Torchwood team tracked the errant ex-Time Agent to an abandoned farm outside Cardiff, but what they found there was not at all what they expected to find. There was John, and there were all the poodles, carefully clipped and groomed, spotlessly clean, and each one wearing a smart collar. The girls all had bows in their topknots. John was busy with one, giving it a pedicure.
“Unhand that dog!” Jack snapped, a note of uncertainty in his voice.
“I haven’t harmed a hair on their perfect, beautiful bodies, I swear!” John raised his hands. “They’re just so pretty!” The dogs certainly showed no signs of trauma. They looked healthy, happy, and immaculate. “Jack, after all this time I think I’ve found my calling in life!”
“Poodle collector?” Ianto asked, raising an eyebrow.
“No; dog stylist. I was going to give them back, honest. Just have to put the finishing touches to a couple of them. Don’t they look magnificent?”
As much as Jack would have liked to, it was impossible to disagree.
“I suppose they do.”
The owners were overjoyed to be reunited with their pets, and when they saw how wonderfully the dogs had been treated, they all decided not to press charges. With a fire of passion in his eyes, John declared his intention to open a dog-grooming boutique, poodles a speciality, and the owners of the purloined poodles practically fell over each other to get their pooches signed up for regular clipping, styling, and pedicures.
John had made a fortune gambling in Las Vegas, so he was easily able to afford premises for his new business, and to everyone’s surprise, soon settled down with his new boyfriend. He and one of the poodle owners had become quite smitten with each other, and before long they added to their little family when John got two poodles of his own. He bought the abandoned farm too, because he and his boyfriend needed somewhere to live where there would be plenty of room for their dogs. Then it seemed only natural that they should start breeding poodles, both large and small. The year they won Best in Show at Crufts, John actually broke down in tears on live TV, thanking everyone who’d had faith in him, and most especially his partner, Jason.
From proud pervert to dedicated dog groomer and breeder, John was a changed man and Jack could only shake his head in amazement.
He’d never seen that coming!