Title: Treasures Untold
Word Count: 2319
Summary: Ianto thinks it's high time the SUV's glove compartment was given a good clear out. Of course, that means he has to do it himself, and some of the things he finds there defy explanation!
Warnings: Silliness bordering on crack.
Disclaimer: I don't own Torchwood or any of the characters. Which is sad.
The inside of the SUV's glove compartment was a law unto itself, Ianto thought to himself as he began the long-overdue task of clearing it out. As he started pulling things out, he wondered if Jack had somehow welded TARDIS technology to it in order to make it bigger on the inside.
Almost full box of tissues, torch, spare batteries for the torch, more spare batteries that wouldn't fit the torch… Ah, another torch. No, the other batteries wouldn't fit that one either.
Sweet wrappers, half a packet of polo mints, a pair of Owen's latex gloves (thankfully unused), one woollen mitten. Who did that belong to and where was the other one? Well, in their line of work, losing a single glove wasn't unusual. Still, Ianto made a mental note to ask Tosh and Gwen. If it belonged to one of them, they might still have its mate. A single glove always looked rather lonely.
So did a single sock, he thought as he pulled one of those out too. He had been going to save the polo mints, but if they'd been living with a stray sock for any length of time it would probably be safer to throw them away with the rest of the rubbish. The only way one sock could end up in the SUV was if it came off someone's foot. Though honestly, if you started off the day with two socks and ended it with only one, wouldn't you notice? Ianto was sure he would, if only because one foot would be cold. He looked at the sock again. Definitely not one of his.
An empty CD case: Abba's Greatest Hits. Huh. Where the hell was the CD that belonged in it? He couldn't remember the last time anyone had played Abba. Maybe it got lost. He eyed the glove compartment suspiciously. Or it could have been swallowed up in the uncharted depths. He reached in cautiously and after a bit more rummaging produced a CD… of Julio Iglesias. It was scratched to glory and probably wouldn't play, but Ianto stuck it in the empty Abba case anyway and set it to one side, deciding he'd better check all the CDs later and make sure they were in the right cases. What was so difficult about putting CDs back in the correct cases anyway?
Okay, why was there an 8-track tape in there when they didn't even have anything to play it on? The label was smudged and torn, but if he squinted he could just make out most of a name. Shirley Bassey. One of Jack's then; not many people knew it, but Jack was a big fan.
He'd found three notebooks so far, or rather, parts of three notebooks. One only had two pages left, one had no cover and the third was literally half a notebook. Looked like the bottom half had been burnt. He set them aside for later perusal in case they held anything of interest. Well, except for the one with two pages. The only thing written in that was a shopping list dated September 1st, 1974.
Reaching in again, he pulled out one chewed biro, which unsurprisingly didn't work, half a pencil (not the sharpened end, also well chewed), and a tape measure so worn most of the measurements were impossible to make out.
Another rummage yielded one lipstick, mostly used, in a truly horrifying shade of pink; two curlers that seemed to have been melted together and a box of Paracetomol. Way out of date of course. Pity about that, as he was beginning to get a headache.
Next came a rusty screwdriver and a role of duct tape. He put those with the torches and batteries then added a nail file and a small reel of copper wire.
The bag of fossilised jelly babies went in a bin bag with the rest of the rubbish.
Grabbing another handful he yelped and pulled his hand back. His thumb was bleeding but he refrained from sucking it. After all, he knew only too well where it had been lately. Reaching in again more cautiously, he pulled out a bundle of what seemed to be embroidery, with a needle still in it. Well, that explained his thumb! The fresh bloodstains on the fabric did nothing to improve its appearance, so that went in the bin bag too.
When he pulled out an ancient powder compact, Ianto started to wonder if he'd been wrong about TARDIS technology and if the glove compartment was in fact connected directly to the rift. The discovery of a love letter addressed to a Miss Gertrude Morgan and dated 1911 seemed to support that theory. So, for that matter, did the Escatonian nose horn.
The underwear definitely wasn't his. Or Jack's. Well, unless Jack had started wearing black lace thongs and he hadn't noticed. Which, when he thought about it, seemed extremely unlikely. Anyway, it was far too small. Possibly it had belonged to one of Owen's conquests. Or maybe even one of Jack's, since it looked like the glove compartment hadn't been emptied properly in years. He tried not to think about the possibility that it might belong to Gwen or Tosh.
The pile of random objects continued to grow. A comb with most of its teeth missing, a bunch of keys (again, how do you lose your keys without noticing?), two more pens – one of which actually worked – a piece from a jigsaw puzzle… Ianto frowned. How did that come to be in the SUV?
One earring, which he thought he remembered Tosh wearing. He put it in his breast pocket in case she still had the other one.
A teabag – thankfully not a used one, but still…
A small, greyish rock with pink flecks was next. Ianto wasn't sure whether it was alien or not, but thought he'd better err on the side of caution and have it scanned, just to be sure.
Two packets of seeds – carrots and lettuce, both unopened. Had someone been thinking of starting a vegetable garden at some point?
A paperback novel. Correction, half a paperback novel; looked like one of those romantic bodice-rippers, though why there was only the back cover and pages 119 to 224 was anybody's guess.
Four assorted seashells, a ping pong ball, two acorns and a walnut. By now Ianto was starting to think someone – probably Jack – was playing a joke on him. Of course, that was when he found the horseshoe. He closed his eyes for a moment and pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to ward off the rapidly approaching headache. If Jack was behind this he'd be drinking instant decaf for eternity!
The next item thankfully turned out to be a £2 coin. Ianto made a quick mental calculation; that made £38.71 in coins so far, plus part of a £10 note. He was still hoping he'd find the rest of that so he could stick it back together. Looked like the team would be getting the good biscuits for a while. Usually most of them were too cheap to contribute more than their odd coppers to the cookie jar, as Ianto termed the pot they were supposed to put money in for their snacks. The fund was about to get a much needed boost.
Right, what else? Ianto stared in disbelief at the item dangling from his hand. Who in their right mind keeps a bicycle lock in a car? Unless Jack was in the habit of chaining captured Weevils to lampposts so they didn't wander off while he fetched the SUV. You never knew with Jack.
Both he and Jack were almost certainly responsible for the half used tube of lube. Ianto made a mental note to make sure that got put back in the glove compartment once all the junk had been cleared out. He and Jack would no doubt be needing it again at some point. In the meantime, he put it in his pocket, just in case any of the team wandered into the garage and started snooping. There were some things Ianto would rather not have to explain.
Those were, however, vastly outnumbered by the things he was finding it impossible to explain. For instance, why was there a bottle of shampoo in the car? He could have understood its presence if it had been full, it's easy enough to accidentally leave an item of shopping in a car after all, but this one was almost empty. As far as he knew, none of the team was in the habit of washing their hair while driving. The stray teaspoon was a bit of a mystery too. Maybe it belonged to whoever owned the teabag.
He recognised the broken necklace as Gwen's, probably shoved in the glove compartment after falling off and then forgotten about. Didn't look like it would take much to fix it, so he tucked it in a pocket to deal with later. He was sure she'd be pleased to get it back.
He peered into the depths – didn't look like there was much left in there now, thank goodness.
Ah, there in the corner, that looked like it might be… Yes, the rest of the £10 note, screwed up but in one piece. Ianto smiled in satisfaction. It would be the work of a moment to stick the two pieces together again. Maybe he'd be extravagant and buy the team Chocolate Hobnobs this week. Everybody loved those, though he only bought them as an occasional treat.
He reached in and scooped the remaining bits and pieces into his hand. Three hairgrips, five assorted buttons, something that looked like it might have been a peanut at one time, another 17p in change… Oh, that's where his missing cufflink had got to. Ianto smiled to himself. That had been one hell of a Weevil hunt; the cufflink must have fallen off while he and Jack were… celebrating afterwards. Someone probably found it later and dropped it in the glove compartment with all the other lost or stray items. Dropping it in his pocket, he went back to examining the remaining items. Two Retcon pills, low dose ones. Not that they'd be any good now, there was no knowing how long they'd been in there. Still, they would have to be properly disposed off. All that left was an assortment of dust bunnies, crumbs, two perished rubber bands, a drawing pin, a piece of chalk and a dead spider. Poor thing. Ianto wondered how long it had been trapped in there before it finally perished.
He was still standing there, gloomily contemplating the spider's last days, when a pair of arms slipped around him from behind. He wasn't really that surprised; it was difficult for Jack to sneak up on anyone with a working nose as his pheromones tended to get everywhere ahead of him.
"What ya doing?"
"Contemplating the sad fate of this spider."
Jack let go and quickly took a couple of steps back.
"It's dead, Jack. Found it at the back of the glove compartment when I was emptying it. Lord knows how long it had been in there, looked like no one had cleaned it out in years. You should see some of the junk I found."
Jack peered over his shoulder into the SUV.
"Find anything interesting?"
"Depends on your definition of interesting."
He glanced back at Jack, who waggled his eyebrows and grinned lasciviously.
"I should have guessed what you'd find interesting," Ianto smirked, "and to answer your question, no. I found half a tube of lube, but nothing resembling a sex toy."
"Oh well, a guy can hope."
"Why? Is the SUV's glove compartment in the habit of spontaneously producing sex toys?" Ianto thought for a moment. "Actually, after what I've been pulling out of it, I don't think I'd be all that surprised if it was."
"Come on, you've done more than enough work for one day. It's past eight o'clock; everyone else has gone home. I though we could order takeaway and then you can regale me with tales of the treasures you've found while exploring the farthest reaches of the SUV."
"Sounds like a plan! Here." Ianto tied the top of the bin bag after depositing the dead spider and the last bits of rubbish into it and handed it to Jack. "You can run this down to the incinerator while I phone our order through. Do you want your usual?"
"Please. And extra noodles."
He reached for the bag then hesitated.
"Is the spider in there?"
Ianto rolled his eyes.
"Yes, Jack, the spider is in there. It's also completely dead. How can you still be scared of spiders after all you've seen?"
"I'm not scared of them, I just don't like them."
"Then the sooner it's in the incinerator the better, right?"
Taking the bag gingerly between the tips of his fingers and holding it at arm's length, Jack hurried towards the stairs leading to the boiler room, where the incinerator was housed. Ianto made a mental note to save the CCTV footage. It never hurt to have blackmail material. He quickly dusted the inside of the glove compartment with a clean rag then dropped the useful items back inside, shutting it with a snap. Scooping all of his remaining finds into a cardboard box, he tucked it under one arm and headed towards the door leading to the main Hub, glad to have crossed another item off his ever growing to-do list.
Glancing in his box of goodies, he smirked. It was going to be fun questioning Jack about the presence of certain rather esoteric items in their official vehicle, he couldn't wait to find out what outlandish explanations his lover would come up with. It was starting to look like the rest of his evening would be highly entertaining!