Title: Having Kittens
Rating: G
Genre: Crack/fluff
Summary: Ianto has kittens. In the tourist's office.
Notes: [livejournal.com profile] una__sola issued me a writing challenge: one character hallucinates kittens, another character (a stranger to the first) is on a road trip. It's supposed to be crack, but I sort of want to write a serious fic either about the tourists (cookies if you guess who they are) or about Torchwood dealing with this.

Ianto adjusted his tie and rearranged the "Backpackers' Guide to Wales" brochures for the third time that morning. Tosh had advised him to stay out of the lower levels of the Hub until lunch, saying only that some alien tech was loose and affecting them. He could feel the beginning of a caffeine headache on the edge of his consciousness, but Tosh had all but forbidden him to come downstairs for another hour yet. She wasn't the sort of person he wanted to cross if he didn't have to.

The door to the tourist office opened and Ianto blinked, sure that he heard a meow. He shook his head slightly. He had periodic tinnitus ever since the Battle of Canary Warf; sometimes he misheard things, especially if the noise was low or there was background noise.

There was no reason for a meow in the tourist office. Even the local strays avoided Torchwood. Tosh guessed that they could smell the weevils and pterodon and wanted nothing to do with them. Ianto told her it was just as well, as he was violently allergic and he would, no doubt, end up being the one taking care of them.

"Do you have any decent city maps?" The man had an American accent, but it was rough around the edges and nothing like Jack's.

"If you look over there, we have a wide selection," Ianto told the stranger. "If you tell me what sort of trip you have planned, perhaps I could be of more service."

The man eyed Ianto for a long moment and then began to flip through the brochures in front of him with dexterous fingers. He had long hair, but he moved like the field agents at Torchwood One had, or like the UNIT soldiers, ready for an attack even in civilian clothes. Ianto blinked again and shook his head. There was no reason for him to be hearing a cat. There certainly wouldn't be a cat meowing from behind the secret door. Jack could be bellowing obscenities on the other side of the hidden door and Ianto and the American wouldn't be able to hear him.

"You okay?" he asked roughly.

"I'm fine." Ianto slipped on the bland, pleasant smile he reserved for tourists and visiting UNIT representatives. "Why don't you let me help you plan your trip? I know the countryside quite well."

"It's just a quick road trip around the country," the American explained. "Taking an extended sabbatical from work. I've got a car and all, but I don't know Wales."

"Have you ever been to the UK before?" Ianto asked, stepped out from behind the counter. "Or will you be interested in England or Scotland as well?"

"I've been to London," the man said, his tone indicating he had no interest in going back. "But we figured we'd just stick to Wales. Something about castles and fairy tale nonesense, I don't really know."


"I'm with friends," the man allowed. "They're off having tea with the queen or whatever the hell it is they do when I'm not around. Rob banks, maybe. But if we're going to actually get out of the hotel, we're going to need a map."

Ianto reached up to adjust his tie again, a nervous gesture. He could swear he could hear a kitten from within the cramped office. But he wasn't sneezing and the American didn't seem to notice anything, so it couldn't be. When the tourist left, Ianto decided, he would go to the Starbucks across the Plass, burned coffee be damned.

"So what'd you got around here? Got any kayaking or anything?"

"Well, the Welsh coast is popular for that sort of thing," Ianto told him, handing him a brochure. "If you're interested in a hiking experience to go with it, Carmarthen is a bit further inland and they have a number of small towns and bed-and-breakfasts you and your friends might be interested in."

"Oh yeah, he'd love this," the man said, flipping through a booklet on nature hikes and wild flowers. "And then we can go skipping through the flowers, holding hands and singing."

"If you're not-" Ianto cut himself off and dropped the road atlas of southern Wales on his foot. There was a kitten sitting in front of him, resting on the tourist's shoe and meowing plaintively.

"You okay?" the man asked, his blue eyes sharp.

"Fine, fine," Ianto assured him picking up the atlas. While he was down there, he saw two more cats prowling by the counter. "We just don't allow pets in here. Have to stay outside."

"Yeah, we got those rules stateside, too," the American said. "Allergies and hygene and all of that."

"Then why...." Ianto trailed off, looking up at the man. There was a kitten resting on the man's shoulder, nestled under his hair and another tucked into the crook of his arm. "You like cats, do you?"

"I like them fine. Better'n dogs, more independent." He paused, watching Ianto suspiciously. "You got anything else to do in this country other than skip through fields and, what'd she call it? Coasteering?"

"We've got... kittens," Ianto told him dazedly. He reached out and stroked the kitten resting on the man's shoulder. The kitten, fur soft as swan down, leaned into Ianto's fingers and purred like a tiny motor. "So many kittens."

The American started when Ianto began to pet the kitten, but not violently enough to dislodge it. He watched Ianto closely for a moment and then rested one hand on the side of his face, as if to get a better look at Ianto's eyes. "You know, I don't know what you do here for fun, but I really think -"

Before the man could finish what he was saying, Jack said, "Ianto, Owen needs to see you."

Ianto turned around, still resting a hand delicately on the kitten by the tourist's ear. "Did you see the kittens, Jack?"

"Kittens?" Jack asked, sounding a little worried.

"They're all over," Ianto explained, feeling a little dazed. "But I'm not sneezing. If I'm not allergic, do you think we could get a kitten?" He turned back to the tourist. "Would you give us one of your kittens? I don't think they'd let you take all of those kittens back to America with you."

"Ianto," Jack said in the gentle tone he usually reserved for the long-term residents of Flat Holm. "Why don't you go see Owen? You can tell Gwen all about the kittens and maybe you can get her to tell you all about the snakes she rescued this morning."

"Snakes?" Ianto asked. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he knew that something was wrong, something was off. Something in his mind was shouting that there shouldn't be kittens in the tourist office and that Gwen thought snakes were distinctly frightening, but it was overwhelming with the feelings of soothing comfort and delight.

"Oh yes, snakes. She tried to put them in Myfanwy's nest to keep them safe until Owen and I found a box for them." Jack paused a long moment. "If you go see Owen right now, I'll see about getting a box for your kittens."

Ianto nodded and made his way beyond the beaded curtain, taking the long way down into the Hub. He paused for a moment to pick up his coffee mug and pet the delicate head of the kitten that had found its way into his shirt pocket.

"Kittens?" He heard the tourist ask in a scornful voice. "What was that guy on?"

"Sorry about that." Jack's voice was significantly colder than it had been when he was talking to Ianto. "We've been working on some new ways to get through phobias. I just hadn't realised quite how potent is was."

Ianto didn't hear the tourist's response. He let the kitten climb into the palm of his hand and cooed to it. "Let's go see Owen, cath fach. Then we can meet Gwen's little snakes and find you a saucer of milk."
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