Title: The Meaning Of Life

Rating: K

Disclaimer: All appropriate credits to the BBC, Monty Python for a quote (from Tosh see if you can spot it) and Douglas Adams.

Setting: Between S1 and S2 but no spoilers.

Authors Note: Inspired by Meaning of Life, the song by Monty Python which cropped up on my MP3 player. Its short as I wrote it in a car park waiting for my other half to finish work. There may be some more song related fics in the offing but for now I hope you like this one.

The team sat around the conference table despondently sipping at their coffee. Ianto was surrounded by his laptop, a calculator and a pile of papers, battling valiantly with the annual reports which were rapidly approaching their submission deadline.

Ostensibly the others were helping him find the figures he needed to input, not that it was particularly helpful as he could probably have found them faster himself, but he appreciated the gesture and didn't have the heart to shoo them away so he could work in peace.

Gwen sighed.

"What's the point?" she asked glumly, her voice shot through with melancholy.

"To accounts? I dunno, torturing Teaboy?" Owen suggested with a grin.

"No, I mean to all this."

"What, Torchwood?" asked Toshiko, her brow furrowed in confusion.

"No!" Gwen, irritably exclaimed, "all this! Life, the Universe..."

"Everything?" Ianto supplied for her, not even looking up from the screen.

"Exactly!"

"Hmm," Tosh appeared to consider the question, "You mean do we serve some higher purpose? Is there some plan?"

Gwen nodded.

"Well it would be nice," Tosh mused, "I suppose. We'd feel like we were achieving something worthwhile – but honestly I think we are just spirals of self replicating DNA, searching for some purpose, to attribute some sense of worth to our transient existence." She sighed, as if her own thoughts filled her with gloom.

"Cheery," Ianto commented, tapping angrily at his spreadsheet, "If that's the case, why am I even bothering with the accounts?"

Owen looked thoughtful.

"You really want to know?" he asked Gwen seriously, "the answer to life, the universe and everything?"

"Yes!"

"Oh, that's easy!" he remarked with a grin, "The answer..."

"Yes?"

"The ultimate answer?" Owen was clearly enjoying himself.

"Yes!"

"Is..."

"OWEN!"

He held the pause until Gwen appeared ready to beat him to death with her chair.

"Forty two!" he finally shouted triumphantly.

"What?" shouted Gwen as Tosh and Ianto dissolved into laughter, "Forty two? Owen that doesn't even make sense?"

"Haven't you read Douglas Adams Gwen?" asked Tosh, when her giggles finally subsided.

"Douglas who?"

"Adams, wrote The Hitchiker's Guide To The Galaxy for the radio in 1977," Ianto once again proved himself a mine of useless information, "In which they find the answer, to be forty two."

"Isn't that the one where mice run the planet?" Gwen queried, "I think Rhys has it on DVD, bloody weird it was, not sure it qualifies as a philosophical source though."

"Depends on your philosophy," Owen pointed out, laconically.

"Did you know that it should actually be fifty one?" Ianto asked.

"Fifty one?" Owen and Tosh repeated, confused.

"Well, that was in the seventies," Ianto pointed out, "I've adjusted for inflation."

All three looked at him askance.

"Teaboy... are you telling me you think the answer to life, the universe and everything, has to be adjusted for inflation?" asked Owen, incredulously.

Ianto gestured irritably to the figures in front of him, "Everything else is!"

" Right, that's it!" Owen exclaimed, "Tosh, route the rift alarm to the PDA, it's time for the pub – for the sake of Ianto's sanity – Medic's Orders!"

Gwen nodded in assent, and five minutes later they made their way, arms linked, across the Plass making it ring with their shared laughter.