Ianto was upstairs, manning the Tourist Office, just on the off chance an actual tourist might happen to wander in. It did happen on occasion, and he liked to provide good service to anyone who managed to find the place, tucked away as it was almost out of sight. He was of the firm belief that if something was used as a cover for something else, then it should serve its purpose in every respect, like Del Floria’s tailor’s shop did in The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
So, there he was, organising leaflets, postcards, and souvenirs, when his phone rang. Answering it, he wasn’t at all surprised to hear Jack’s voice.
“Ianto! Where are you?”
“Up in the Tourist Office. What can I do for you? As if I even need to ask.”
For once though, Jack was after neither Ianto’s body, nor another cup of coffee. He wasn’t even demanding food. He got straight to the point, after a fashion.
“There’s a… thing in the archives!”
Ianto rolled his eyes; trust Jack to state the obvious.
“Yes, Jack, there are a lot of things in the archives. That’s why we have archives, so we have somewhere to put things.”
“No, you don’t understand; I’m not talking about those kinds of things, I mean a specific… thing. I came down here looking for… well, you, but you weren’t at your desk, and I could hear something, so I followed the noise. I thought I’d sneak up on you wherever you were working, and… I thought it was you at first, but if you’re up there, and the thing is down here, then it can’t be you, can it?”
“Clearly not,” Ianto replied, bemused. “Exactly what sort of thing are we talking about?”
“If I knew that, I wouldn’t be calling it a thing, would I? Anyway, it’s here, and I’m pretty sure it shouldn’t be. I don’t like it.”
“What’s it doing?” By now Ianto was in the lift, descending to the main Hub and wishing that he and Jack weren’t the only two people there. Everyone else was out on a retrieval.
“It’s just sort of sitting there between the shelves. I don’t like the way it’s looking at me.”
“Are you armed?”
“No, didn’t think I’d need to defend myself.”
“I’m on my way; don’t let this thing out of your sight.”
“Believe me, I won’t!”
Already armed, Ianto grabbed Jack’s gun and headed for the archives, where he found Jack staring fixedly at the thing, which was staring right back at him. It was a green lump, with no obvious limbs, two round eyes, and a wide slit of a mouth.
Ianto sighed. “Jack, why’d you insist on dragging me down here for nothing?”
“What d’you mean, nothing? Don’t you see it?”
“Of course I do, it’s just the Coddleflop. It’s a very handy Flanimal, it slurdles around down here, absorbing stains and puddles. How do you not know that?”
Jack pouted. “Unlike you, I don’t know everything.”