Words: Just under 1000
No spoilers. Unbetaed in case the insanity is catching.
Summary: Some bars have a very special type of regular customer.
A Few Quiet Drinks: Myfanwy and Fish
This pub was one of the few in Cardiff where Ianto's smart three-piece suit and neat tie didn't get him stared at. A few heads turned towards him as he walked in, but that was more out of idle curiosity than open hostility. The fact that he didn't run away screaming as they did so told them all they needed to know.
He took a stool at the bar, nodding to the barman. The silent exchange was one of the reasons Ianto liked this place – you never needed to actually order a drink. Apparently, his subconscious felt that what he really needed right now was a double scotch on the rocks. Who was he to argue?
"Bad day?" The voice came from the drinker at the next stool, tinged with a sympathetic understanding.
Ianto nodded. "Aren't they all?"
"Oh, I don't know," the speaker mused. "There were a few dayth last week when thingth actually started to work."
Choosing to ignore the intermittent lisp, Ianto took a grateful swig of his drink. "What went wrong?" he asked.
"Some of the fish got out."
"Doesn't sound so bad."
"Dependth on the fish."
They drank in silence for a while, until Ianto could see the bottom of his glass. Somewhere in the depths of his brain, the part that needed alcohol decided it could manage for the moment and the next drink that appeared in front of him was a coke. With lime, he noticed as he took a sip. His subconscious had better taste than he did.
"What about you?" his companion asked.
"The pterodactyl escaped again," Ianto said. "My boss was furious."
"Ith it still doing the thing with the sheep?"
"It's moved onto cows."
His companion considered this. "Ithn't it a bit-"
"Yes," Ianto said, swirling his drink just to see it foam. "It sees a field of them and- well, it just swoops.”
It took Ianto a moment to translate the word, during which he reached out automatically for a napkin and wiped the bar down.
"Very messy," he agreed at last. "Not least because I had to retcon a whole village who'd seen it land. Jack told me to retcon the cows too, but I think he was joking."
"How angry wath he?"
"On a scale of one to ten? Well, considering he caught Tosh on AIM to a Uvil alien in Uxbridge, Gwen trying to sneak out with a bottle of alien pheremone to liven things up a bit with Rhys and Owen downloading alien porn again, I think it's fair to say he was having a bad day. So when I forgot to shut the roof…" Ianto finished his drink, another neat scotch taking its place almost before he could put the glass down. His brain seemed to have no intention of letting him stay sober this evening, filing or no filing. It probably knew best. He drained half the drink, before asking, "What happened with the fish?"
"Just carelethneth," his companion said sadly. Even his stitches seemed to be drooping. "I neglected to thecure the lid of the tank. They shredded the library and ate the cat before I could catch them."
"What kind of fish were they?"
"Thpecial fish." Igor sighed. "I had high hopeth for them at next year'th family reunion. It'th not easy, having a cousin like Igor. He alwayth gets the best jobs. He thent me a postcard last week from Hungary. Hungary! Do you know what they can do with sharks over there?"
Ianto considered. "Isn't Hungary landlocked?"
"Don't sharks live in the sea?"
"Yeth." Igor sighed again. "Hith master has vithion."
"Has a thquint." Igor's next drink was something blue and steaming, with a small paper umbrella perched at a jaunty angle. Ianto decided it was best not to ask as Igor continued, "You know, after the whole fish fiathco, he actually told me to stay out of the laboratory! Banning me from my own laboratory. Imagine that!"
"Jack told me he was going to revoke employee privileges," Ianto said gloomily, finishing his scotch and accepting the next one from the barman.
"And frustrating," Ianto agreed. "He's also put me on double filing shifts." He looked at his watch. "I should probably get back to it."
"Me too," Igor said, smiling just a little, which was more than enough to disconcert anyone who wasn't used to it. "The Master bcomes rather tetchy if I'm not there on the thtroke of thundown."
"I'll get these," Ianto said, dropping a few notes onto the bar. "Are you off on Saturday?"
"No, Couthin Igor ith coming acroth with thome new frog thpecimins. We've high hopeth for the crothbreeds. They're showing definite signs of muthicality."
"Thee you next week."
Ianto took a deep breath as he stepped out into the Cardiff night. The walk should clear his head, although he'd found that on occasions, Jack's approach to the archives made more sense when he'd had a couple of drinks. The Captain was the only man he knew who catalogued aliens by number of appendages. He also made a mental note to ask Igor about the fish next week. The Hub's shredder had finally broken down the week before and Jack was holding back on buying a new one. And it wasn't like the pool wasn't big enough for them. They might even keep Myfanwy away from Tosh's desk for once.
A slight spring in his step, Ianto smiled to himself and headed back to the Hub.
Part 2: Hex