Author: Milady Dragon
Pairing: Jack/Ianto; Gwen/Rhys
Warning: Crack (honestly, it's On-Verse, of course it's crack), Language, Singing Rodents, lots of silliness all around
Spoilers: None really, although there's a slight mention of what happened to Owen.
Disclaimer: I don't own Torchwood, I would have treated it better. I also don't own the Chipmunks, but I do have their Christmas CD which got a great deal of play time while writing this.
Author's Note: Belated Merry Christmas, everyone! I meant to have this up days ago, but real life conspired against me, so it's late. I wrote this for Jantocam Challenge #30, the photo for which can be found here. I also am using a Long Live Ianto Bingo Prompt for this, and it's Mistaken Identity.
This story takes place after "On Being the Lord of All You Survey".
Summary: The Rift drops a trio of musical Chipmunks in Cardiff for Christmas.
Ianto was often fond of comparing the Rift to a department store: steady throughout most of the year, and then slammed at Christmas with never enough people to help out when things went nuts.
Of course, London was worse. The last report he’d gotten from his favourite contact at the UNIT base just outside the city had complained that he wasn’t going to get to see his family this year due to the annual invasion, which this time seemed to coincide with a secondary invasion from a race of space giraffes who wanted to conquer Earth for its oak trees.
Space giraffes. Go figure.
It made Ianto realise just how lucky they were that the Doctor never showed up in Cardiff around the season. If he had, Ianto would have been sorely tempted to put the Hub on lockdown and hide until January 2nd no matter how excited Jack got whenever he heard the godawful noise the TARDIS made on materialisation.
As it was, the Rift was certainly keeping them busy. He and Jack were out on their third run of the day, and it was going on full dark by the time they arrived at Bute Park, which was a favourite drop-off point for whatever junk got sent through the Rift. He knew his partner was exhausted, as was he, but there was no rest for the wicked. Jack had promised that the team would get some downtime after the first of the year…if just to stop Gwen complaining about not seeing Rhys anymore outside the Hub, which had been setting Ianto’s teeth on edge. Rhys hadn’t exactly been pleased by it, either.
But then she’d been dancing when she’d realised she’d have an excuse not to go to the Williams home for Christmas this year, which caused a bit of a domestic between Gwen and Rhys right in front of the entire team.
Ianto had rolled his eyes at her. Honestly, Brenda Williams wasn’t all that bad. After all, she was one of his biggest fans and was a charter member of his website. Her photo manips were really good, too, although he tended to avoid the ones that weren’t safe for work if only to keep Jack from getting ideas.
It was cold and the stars were particularly sharp as he and Jack climbed out of the SUV. Jack took a deep breath, glancing upward, and his lover grinned. “You know,” Jack said as they headed off into the trees in search for the latest delivery of Rift debris, “we didn’t have Christmas at home.”
“What did you have instead?” Ianto asked curiously even as he aimed his PDA in the general direction that the Rift alert had come from.
“It was a winter solstice festival, and it never got as cold as this. Do you think it’ll snow overnight?” Jack’s voice was almost childlike with glee.
“I doubt it. I don’t think it’s supposed to get that cold.” Ianto hated to burst his bubble, but he knew damned well that Jack would, at some point after a snowfall, at least try to stuff a snowball down Ianto’s shirt.
“Too bad.” Disappointment coloured his words, and Ianto didn’t need to see the pout to know it was there. “Let’s get this show on the road, shall we?”
Together they tramped into the park, Ianto scanning as they went. He tried not to let himself be distracted by the near-continuous worry that Jack wasn’t going to like the present that he’d gotten him this year, and Ianto really wanted to plan a quick escape to find something else, even at this late date…
And then the PDA beeped. Ianto stopped, trying to get the correct bearing. “There’s an energy reading over in that direction.” He waved the device toward a small knot of trees about one hundred feet ahead.
“Are you getting anything to tell us if it’s organic or not?” Jack asked quietly.
“Looks like it might be organic. Can’t tell yet if it’s alive or not though.” Organic could have meant anything, and Ianto hated to be imprecise like that. After all, he took great pride in his work.
“Let’s go slowly just in case it’s something that could jump out and bite us.”
Ianto didn’t answer, but he did roll his eyes at Jack’s comment. Instead he kept moving forward, ignoring the fact that Jack was obviously staring at his arse as he crept toward the trees. Really, he expected Jack to ogle him by now, and would have been very worried indeed if his lover didn’t do exactly that. Hell, that was how they’d caught that one shape-shifter who had tried to infiltrate the Hub not that long ago…
What sounded like a conversation came from up ahead…and it was as if whoever it was had inhaled an entire balloonful of helium. Ianto thought there might be three of them, but he couldn’t be certain; he pulled his stun gun quietly, communicating with Jack using a simple, elegant raised eyebrow, asking what the plan was.
Jack drew his own gun, and with a single gesture that Ianto interpreted as ‘circle round, I’ll go straight in’ the captain started toward the copse.
Trust Jack to want to play the hero in this particular situation.
Ianto did as Jack had indicated. It wasn’t that he was irritated by his lover basically taking point and risking getting various important bits blown off his body…okay, yes he was. Now that Ianto himself was immortal, he’d gained a perspective on Jack that no one else had, and he knew precisely how much it fucking hurt to die and come back. As many times as Jack threw himself in the way of danger, Ianto had to wonder if his lover was more of a masochist than he’d already shown himself to be.
He made his way around to the side, and then into the trees, stun gun at the ready. The conversation – more like an argument – kept going on, which meant whoever it was hadn’t heard or seen either him or Jack yet. Good. They’d get the drop on their newest ‘visitors’ and perhaps Jack wouldn’t have to die tonight. Because Ianto was just tired of that shit.
Then he wondered if he could withhold sex as a punishment for Jack putting his life in needless danger…no, that would punish him as well as his lover.
“– not my fault,” one of the voices protested.
“You’re the one who pushed the button on my Dimensional Transference Platform,” a second exclaimed.
“I didn’t know what it was!” the first argued vociferously.
“I had a sign on it!”
“Can’t we just figure out where we are?” a third asked timidly. “I don’t like this place. It’s scary and I want to go home.”
“It’s not scary,” the first voice denied, although it didn’t sound very convinced of that. “It’s just a forest or something.”
“But…but we were in the house,” the timid one pointed out. “How did we get into a big…dark…scary…” Ianto could hear them swallow audibly, “forest?”
“Alvin played around with something he shouldn’t have,” the second snorted.
One of the alien’s names was Alvin? Ianto felt sorry for him.
“I did not!” the first exclaimed.
“You did too!”
Ianto rolled his eyes. Whoever these three were, they sounded more like squabbling children than any sort of viable threat. They and Jack should get along famously.
“I want Dave,” the third whimpered.
“Dave’s not here,” the first answered fiercely. “We can look after ourselves, we don’t need Dave.”
Yes, Ianto was even more convinced they were some form of children without having even seen them yet.
He slipped his stun gun back into his holster, giving up trying to be quiet. Ianto made his way through the trees, stopping just before he broke into the small clearing. He dug his torch out of his pocket and would have scanned the area if Jack hadn’t appeared out of the darkness with his own. He’d also put his weapon away, the better to use the torchlight to illuminate the open space.
Ianto’s jaw didn’t drop at what he saw, but it was a close thing.
It wasn’t three alien kids who were standing in the middle of the clearing…
It was three, bipedal chipmunks in colourful roll-neck sweaters.
Who proceeded to freak out at Jack’s sudden appearance.
Ianto watched as one of them – a short, chunky little creature in a green sweater – let out a startled squeak and then darted behind the other two, its large, liquid eyes staring up at Jack. Another, this one with a red sweater with a large, yellow letter ‘A’ on it and a matching baseball cap, glared at the much taller man as if he could kill Jack with his brain. The third, in blue with large framed glasses perched on its nose, looked curiously.
They were, indeed, three bi-pedal chipmunks. Just when Ianto didn’t think the universe could surprise him, it went and did something like this.
“It’s all right,” Jack soothed, holding his hands out peacefully. “I don’t want to hurt you.” He went down on his knees, apparently to get closer so that he could see them better. “My name is Jack. Who are you?”
The three little creatures glanced at one another, and Ianto could tell they weren’t really sure of Jack yet. That actually showed good sense on their part.
Ianto took the chance to walk into the clearing himself. “It’s going to be fine,” he said, putting his torch away since Jack’s gave more than enough light. He didn’t want to appear threatening in any way.
As one, the little creatures turned toward him, and also as one they squealed, “Dave!”
Ianto found himself with an armful of three dimensionally-displaced chipmunks with no clue as to why.
It seemed that the three little visitors thought that he was someone named Dave.
Ianto wasn’t sure how to take that.
The look on Jack’s face was going to get his lover decaf for at least a month.
He managed to get the three rather hyper chipmunks calmed down and into the SUV, but they insisted on sitting on his lap for the trip to the Hub. Ianto tried to convince them that he wasn’t this Dave person, and it was finally the one in the glasses – Simon – who figured it out. Apparently their Dave didn’t have a Welsh accent, but besides that Ianto gathered that the resemblance was pretty scary.
“We’re supposed to be at a concert tonight,” the chipmunk in red – the aforementioned Alvin – said as he practically cuddled up into the crook of Ianto’s left arm. Simon was on the right, while Theodore, the pudgy little guy, was quite content to curl up on Ianto’s lap, one of Ianto’s hands bracing him from slipping off.
It was a good thing Ianto had that lint brush back at the Hub. Chipmunk fur didn’t quite match the dark grey wool of his coat.
“Concert?” Ianto inquired. He couldn’t help but be curious about them, as they were talking chipmunks and they actually had a human caretaker, if he could assume that of their Dave.
Theodore nodded so hard he almost ended up in the floorboard. “We always do a Christmas concert at our local hospital. For the kids who can’t go home.”
“We’re famous!” Alvin exclaimed proudly. “We have CD’s and everything!”
“We’re not going to be able to make it, unless we can get home,” Simon said, glaring at Alvin. “And that’s because someone couldn’t keep their paws off my invention –“
“Then don’t leave your inventions out where anyone can touch them!” Alvin shot back, his fur bristling.
It really was like watching two brothers squabble, Ianto thought. The pair of chipmunks slinging insults back and forth reminded him of himself and Owen, and he felt a pang of sadness that the medic wasn’t around any longer.
“We’ll try to get you back home again,” Ianto said, cutting across what seemed to be growing into a massive blow-out. “Until then, can we stop the argument?”
Simon nodded, although he didn’t look very happy. Alvin pouted, and Ianto would have been convinced that the little creature had taken lessons from Jack if it weren’t for the fact that they’d just met.
Ianto glanced over at his lover, and he was taken aback by the expression on Jack’s face. Then he wanted to laugh.
Jack looked jealous.
Jealous of a trio of anthropomorphic chipmunks.
Ianto grinned. Oh, this was far too good…
Needless to say, Andy and the chipmunks got along famously.
Ianto knew it had to be because Andy could relate to fuzzy little mammals. And yes, Ianto wasn’t above snorting at Jack’s comments about rabbits and chipmunks.
Andy threatened to bite him, which Jack simply shrugged off. After all, the were-rabbit curse would only last until the next time Jack died. Ianto though didn’t want another attack of a horny Jack-rabbit since it was going to be difficult enough getting chipmunk fur off of his suit; he didn’t need rabbit fur adding to the mess.
Alvin flirted mercilessly with Martha, who was absolutely charmed by the little rodent. Ianto had to admit, he was good, but not as good as Jack.
No one could out-flirt Jack Harkness. Not even an intensely cute chipmunk in a red, cable-knit sweater.
Gwen’s reaction though was priceless, and Ianto would make certain he saved the CCTV footage of it for posterity.
Honestly, he’d never seen her move that fast, or literally jump onto the top of her desk from the floor in one leap.
The squeal was very entertaining, as well.
“Really Gwen,” Rhys rolled his eyes, “they’re only chipmunks.”
Gwen hyperventilated in reply.
“As much fun as this is,” Jack said, trying and failing to hide the huge grin from his face as he watched Gwen dance on her desktop and make pitiful wheezing sounds in lieu of speaking, “we need to find a way to get these little guys home.”
“We can’t disappoint the kids in the hospital,” Theodore said, batting his large cute eyes up at Gwen, who made another incoherent noise of sheer terror and hopped from foot to fashionable foot.
Ianto realised then that at least one of their guests wasn’t above using their sheer cuteness as a weapon.
“I can attempt to reconstruct my Dimensional Transference Platform,” Simon mused, pushing his glasses back up on his furry nose.
“How long would it take you?” Andy asked.
Simon considered. “About a month I expect. That also depends on if you have the parts I’ll need.”
“But I want to go home!” Theodore wailed, so upset that Ianto couldn’t help but cuddle him a little.
Yep…cuteness as a weapon. Works every time, even on jaded immortals who had daily doses of Jack Harkness as a vaccine.
Alvin rolled his eyes. “You don’t have to be so dramatic, Theodore.”
“Sure I do!”
Well, if Ianto had believed that Gwen had the Doe Eyes of Doom™ down, that was nothing on the Chipmunk Eyes of Despair™ that Theodore had just trucked out.
“We’ll consider that, Simon,” Jack answered. “Ianto, maybe we have something in the Archives that’ll help get these little guys home?”
Ianto thought about that. He knew the Archives like he knew the back of his hand, and nothing seemed to be coming to mind.
“It’s a shame they can’t get them home in time for their concert,” Andy commiserated. “And with it being Christmas and all…”
And then it hit Ianto like a ten-ton Acme anvil.
He turned to Jack. “Do we still have that sub-ether network transmitter we took off that hitchhiker a couple of months ago?”
His lover looked surprised, and then a grin bloomed across his face. “Why, Mr. Jones…I like the way you think.”
An eyebrow went up on cue. “I’m hoping that’s not the only thing you like about me.”
A high-pitched gagging noise came from the desktop, and they both glanced down at the sound. Alvin was standing there, making that hacking-up-a-hairball sound…which, as he was a chipmunk, Ianto wouldn’t have put it past him. “Are you two always that gross?” he whined.
“I think it’s cute,” Theodore affirmed, looking up at Ianto with those large, liquid eyes that made the younger immortal want to sigh and cuddle the chipmunk even closer.
Damn, Ianto couldn’t wait until they were gone. Theodore alone was seriously ruining his image.
Of course, it was almost worth it to see Gwen standing on her desk like that and making distressed noises Ianto had never heard come from a human being before.
“Would someone mind telling me again why we’re standing on the roof of the Millennium Centre?” Rhys groused, his hands thrust deeply into his coat pockets. “It’s fu…I mean, it’s really cold up here.”
Ianto smirked at the attempted self-censorship. It seemed as if the language around the Hub had cleaned up with the presence of their three guests, and it was really pretty damned funny.
“We need the roof as a landing zone,” Jack answered absently. He was busily fiddling with the sub-ether network transmitter. Ianto left him at it, since he was well aware that his lover knew that sort of technology inside and out…well, at least he hadn’t claimed this was a sex toy, not like some other things…
“A landing zone for what, actually?” Martha asked. She was shivering as well, but she was also tough enough not to complain about it.
“Once a year,” Ianto explained, “there’s an alien who dimension-hops throughout the multi-verse, bringing gifts to certain people –“
“You mean you’re gonna bloo…I mean, you’re gonna summon Santa Claus?” Andy asked incredulously.
Ianto shrugged, secretly pleased by the surprise on his teammates’ faces. “The legends came from somewhere.”
“We’re gonna get to ride in Santa’s sleigh?” Theodore was practically vibrating in sheer happiness.
Ianto had to tighten his grip on the little chipmunk from where he was cuddled up in the crook of Ianto’s elbow, not wanting him to slide out of his arms. “We’re pretty sure that Santa can get you back home,” he answered.
Simon, who had tucked himself into one of the pockets of Jack’s greatcoat, looked just as excited. “Wait’ll we tell Dave!” he exclaimed.
“It’s just Santa,” Alvin said, trying very desperately to sound cool but failing miserably. He’d gotten into Jack’s other coat pocket, and wasn’t quite tall enough to peer over the flap; Ianto could only see the brim of his little red baseball cap.
“Don’t even pretend you’re not excited,” Simon accused, shaking his finger at his brother even though Ianto knew Alvin wouldn’t be able to see the gesture.
“I never got my Hula Hoop,” Alvin groused. “Santa’s no big deal.”
“And that attitude is why you only get coal in your stocking anymore,” Theodore chided mildly.
Ianto could barely hold in his laughter.
“Got it,” Jack crowed. The small, lipstick-sized device in his hand started bleeping, and a blue light flashed from one end. “It shouldn’t take too long to get Santa’s attention.”
Ianto would have tested that theory with his stopwatch, but they hadn’t replaced the last one yet after it had suffered from once again being used as a sex aid.
Soon enough, the sound of jingling bells echoed over the Plass, and Ianto searched until he saw the source: a red sleigh, with nine reindeer harnessed to it. It defied gravity, arcing over the stones of the Plass and aiming toward the Millennium Centre roof.
The cursing wasn’t censored in that moment.
“What does ‘buggering’ mean?” Theodore asked innocently.
“Ask Dave when you get home,” Ianto advised. “I’m sure he’ll be glad to explain it to you.”
“Okay,” the little guy agreed.
“Ho Ho Ho!”
The shout sounded over the bells as the sleigh made a perfect landing on the slick metal of the roof although Andy had to dodge out of the way in order to avoid getting run over and almost went off the side of the building.
Ianto winced at that. The last thing they needed to do was find another teammate, especially one who could be such a good source for rabbit jokes.
“Captain Harkness!” the jolly-looking fellow in the sleigh cried, with an enormous smile under the fluffy white beard. “I would ask if you’ve been a good boy, but I know better than that!”
Jack winked. “You know me too well.” He turned and introduced his team – minus Gwen, who’d stayed down in the Hub, able to climb down from her desk once they’d left with their three small guests. “I was wondering if you could do me a little favour,” he said once he was done.
“I’ll be glad to! As long as it’s not something that’s overly embarrassing!”
Santa seemed unable to speak in anything less than a friendly bellow.
“Not at all,” Ianto assured him. He explained about their other-dimensional visitors, all of whom had gone quiet, although Theodore was wriggling in Ianto’s grasp with all the excitement of an infant needing a nappy change.
“That’s no problem, young Ianto,” Santa answered heartily. “As long as they don’t mind a couple of stops along the way.”
“We’ll make sure you have the dimensional readings we managed to get at the scene,” Jack offered. “That’ll narrow down the coordinates for you.”
“Yes it will. Thank you, Jack!”
“Not a problem,” Jack replied. “You’re doing these young chipmunks a good deed.”
“Let’s get your guests into the sleigh and we’ll be ready to head out!”
Ianto was actually a bit sorry to see the chipmunks go. He gave Theodore a hug, and the little guy hugged him back. “Bye, Ianto,” the chipmunk sniffled.
He handed Theodore over to Santa, and Ianto got the full force of the Chipmunk Eyes of Despair™ from him. “You be good for your Dave, all right?” the young immortal said, and he would deny to the end of whatever time he had in the Universe that he was choked up at the farewell.
Jack followed with Simon, but when he reached into his other pocket for Alvin, it seemed as if the chipmunk had done a runner.
Ianto sighed. It couldn’t be easy. “Alvin!” he called out.
“Alvin!” Ianto called again, this time louder.
Still no response.
“Alvin!” he finally shouted.
“Okay!” the last of the chipmunks answered, sounding put out about it. A red cap peeked out from behind Martha’s legs, and the pout he was wearing rivaled Jack at his best.
Martha leaned down and retrieved him, walking over to the sleigh. “There you go,” she said, settling Alvin down onto the seat next to his brothers.
“Alvin,” Santa chided, “you wonder why you get coal in your stocking anymore…”
The pout vanished, and Alvin turned on the pleading eyes. “But Santa, I’m only bad because you never gave me a Hula Hoop! If I got one, I’d be good all the time!”
Santa chuckled. “We’ll see about that.”
With one white-gloved finger, the dimensional-hopping alien who was the basis for Santa Claus punched in the readings that Jack gave him into his very high-tech control panel at the front of the sleigh, and with a jaunty wave he flicked the reins. The reindeer shook their antlers in a decidedly put upon manner, then began clattering across the roof of the Millennium Centre.
Just as it looked as if the sleigh wasn’t going to make it, the reindeer gained lift and the entire contraption began to fly away.
And, as the sleigh disappeared, the harmonious sounds of three chipmunks singing floated down to them.
No, Ianto didn’t wipe a tear away.
“Bloody hell,” Rhys swore, “that was freaking Santa Claus!”
“As I said,” Jack answered, deactivating the sub-ether device, “the legends were based on something.”
“I hope they get home safely,” Martha said, a sad smile on her face.
“They will.” Jack slung his arm around Ianto’s shoulders. “You all right?”
“Of course,” Ianto scoffed. “Now I don’t have to worry about getting chipmunk fur all over my suits.”
Jack rolled his eyes. “If you say so.” He tugged Ianto forward. “Let’s get back down to the Hub and let Gwen know the coast is clear.”
“Big bad alien hunter afraid of talking rodents,” Andy snorted as they all trooped down from the roof.
As they all headed into the stairwell, Ianto could swear he heard a familiar grinding, roaring sound coming from the Plass below.
The Doctor. Of course it was the Doctor.
That was it. The Hub was going on lockdown and no one was coming out until after the first of the year.