“The Rift’s laughing at us again,” Ianto said gloomily.
“What makes you say that?” Jack gestured around them. “Look where we are! A lovely stretch of deserted beach, on a warm, sunny spring day! Doesn’t this beat digging through trash in a back alley looking for the latest unexpected delivery? Smell that air!”
“Yes. Very nice.” Ianto still somehow managed to sound unenthusiastic. “I should, however, point out that the tide’s coming in and the coordinates for the point of arrival mean that whatever it is, it’s already beyond the tideline and probably submerged. That is, if it isn’t buoyant enough to have been swept away.”
“Oh.” Jack frowned. “Does that mean we have to go paddling?”
“At the rate the tide comes in along this stretch of coast, wading seems more likely, and possibly swimming if we don’t hurry up.” Ianto shrugged out of his jacket, folding it and placing it carefully on a rock before removing his shoes and socks, and rolling his suit trousers up above his knees.
Belatedly getting his brain in gear, Jack pulled his coat off, tossing it carelessly onto another rock, and yanked his boots off, then hopped his way across the sand in Ianto’s wake, trying to roll his own trousers up.
By now, Ianto was at the water’s edge, shirt sleeves pushed up above his elbows, and a scanner in one hand, homing in on the coordinates Tosh had provided. He walked several yards along the wet sand, wavelets lapping over his bare feet, then stopped. Jack stumbled up to him, wrestling with his second trouser leg, which didn’t seem to want to stay up.
“I should’ve just taken them off.”
“You might still have to.” Ianto pointed. “According to my scanner, what we’re looking for should be about four yards that way.”
Jack blinked as a bigger wave swept in. “How deep is the water?”
“Right now, twelve to eighteen inches; the beach slopes quite steeply. Of course, the longer we stand here looking at it, the deeper it’s going to get. The high tide mark’s only a few feet short of the rocks where we left our coats.”
Glancing back over his shoulder, Jack grimaced. “Better start looking then.” Gritting his teeth, he waded out into deeper water; it was considerably colder than it looked.
Ianto followed. By the time they were nearing the arrival coordinates, the water was lapping around their knees.
“Here goes nothing!” Jack bent over and started fumbling around beneath the water as Ianto directed him, eyes locked on his scanner.
“To your left, maybe six inches. Okay, now forward three inches. To your right, just a smidge…”