The Cod Are Spawning

Jack's face pixelated on the widescreen monitor then reformed. It wore a concerned expression. "How are things up north? Enjoy the Hogmanay celebrations?"

"Everything's fine, sir." Ianto said beaming so tightly from ear to ear his cheekbones looked like pink billiard balls. "It's just one massive rave."

"Are you drunk Ianto?"

"Completely bladdered, Sir." He raised a glass of odd-coloured liquid to the camera. "Whisky and cassis. I believe the locals refer to it as a Purple Heather."

Jack wasn't convinced but he let it pass. "And how's Owen?"

"Fell over in George Square after the bells, rat-arsed. He told Maarta he'd been mugged so ever since then he's been tucked up in bed being fussed over."

"I didn't think the two of them would get on."

Ianto laughed midway through a sip and had to wipe the sticky purple liquid off his chin. "It's Gone with the Wind on mescaline. Maarta's Vivien Leigh and somehow Owen's been cast as Clark Gable."

"He does know doesn't he?" The lines making up Jack's face danced for a moment as the reception faded.

The Welshman let the question pass unanswered.

"Ianto. You are going to tell him?" The Captain's voice had a pleading tone to it.

"Happy New Year," Ianto said merrily, ending the transmission.


"Oh my land, where are my manners, honey." Maarta leaned forward and rearranged Owen's pillows. Despite a dark bar of bruising over his nose and brow the doctor seemed in good spirits. She brushed the hair away from his forehead and studied him. "Another day or two of Maarta's care and you'll be as right as rain." He murmured appreciatively as her cleavage bounced around in front of his face.  "You can smell Maarta's sweet thang, can't you hon? I think the Lady may need to tie you down."

She tucked in the sheets at side of the bed and stood back smoothing the wrinkles from her clothes. "Maarta's got to go out for a few victuals. That young gentleman you travelled with is drinking the Lady out of house and home."

Owen's lip curled. "He can be a bit of a parasite at times." A hand absent-mindedly scratched at his chest.

"That's a vicious word," Maarta replied dark eyes blazing briefly like coals.  She slapped him hard on the shoulder.

"Ouch!" He looked sulky. "You have a strong arm."

"Maritimes' Toboggan Champion three years running." She looked wistfully at a pair of photographs on the wall of the bedroom. "I sure loved those dogs." A glint appeared in an eye. "Did you really think they'd put Blanche Dubois in charge of Torchwood Two? It's a tough job, but honey, Maarta's no wall flower: the Lady is not for messing with."

A pair of deep red stilettos was retrieved from beneath the bed. "Anyways, Maarta's got to skedaddle." She turned to the cupboard allowing Owen's eyes to follow the curve of her dress on her back and buttocks.

"You'll break your ankle on the cobbles on those things. It's icy out there."

"Thank you honey. I'm just fine." Something small and cylindrical was shaken momentarily then secreted away in the hollow between her breasts. She shivered slightly and giggled. "There. That will keep Maarta toasty." Owen looked askance at her. "Provisioned from the local camping shop, sweet pea." A matching hat with short black veil finished the ensemble.

"You look stunning."

"I'm charmed now.  That almost makes up for your bad language earlier." She blew him a final kiss and left him alone to his dreams.


"Maarta should have found some boxing gloves for you, honey."

Embarrassed Owen quickly folded his arms outside the sheets. "Sorry, I got bored." Under his steady gaze she removed a grey capsule from the front of her dress and replaced it on the shelf. The hat was also returned to its holding place. Once free of restraint she shook her hair back into the semblance of order.

"You have quite a wardrobe."

"Thank you mister charming. The Lady doesn't get the same budget your Captain does but Maarta likes to make do. And every item of my apparel cutting edge technology." High heels were slipped off and kicked out of sight under Owen's bed. "Take those little ruby footsies. There's a micro grenade in one heel and a gamma source detector in the other."

Owen grinned. "I like your style."

"I always said to that harridan Yvonne at Canary Wharf, 'Honey, if you feel the need to wear a man's suit to work you've obviously got more balls than I have.'"

There was an ugly sound at the door as Ianto fell to his knees making a noise part way between a chimpanzees' laugh and rhino's bellow.

"For chrissake. Can't you just go and puree your liver elsewhere?" Just as Owen made to pull back the covers and get out of bed Ianto's cheeks quivered alarmingly and his eyes bulged. Before he could make any further movement the Welshman crawled off at a surprising speed.

"Look at that man go."

"Ignore him." Owen tugged at her hand to pull her down onto the bed beside him.

"Leave me be." She made for the doorway. "That carpet's an Axminster and doesn't take well to internal fluids."


"The Lady's in mourning and I haven't received so much as a single rose to show for it." Maarta dabbed her eyes with an embroidered handkerchief. Despite her grief she managed to give Owen's bare flesh an appreciative once-over.

"Hey beautiful. Don't cry. I'll make sure Torchwood Three gets you a nice replacement rug. One to match your eyes."

The handkerchief stopped moving. "You promise the Lady?"

"Anything for my pretty nurse."

She stood up, smoothing the wrinkles off her deep lilac skirt and giving a theatrical sniff that wouldn't be out of place on Broadway. "I suppose I could be consoled." Matching lilac fingernails straightened out a framed toboggan award.

"What brought you to the UK?"

The light glinted off the blackness of her pupils. "The Lady had a little accounting snafu with the Society funds. They wanted to invest in artworks and as Maarta has an eye for framing things the President decided yours truly would be the best judge of what would look good in the boardroom."


"Those decimal points are dang devilish things. And auctions are so much fun. Maarta had to retire at haste before Chief Moon was out."

"Chief Moon was the President?"

She giggled. "Chief Moon is the Micmac word for December. Kiskewikús.

"That's a lovely word. What's February? That's my birthday."

"Apunknajit. It means the sun is powerful."

"It's music on your lips."

"And you're full of flattery too." But she'd obviously cheered up. "You're after Maarta's March are you?" She gyrated her hips provocatively.

He stretched out his arms to invite her back to him. "So what's March? Breasts are rising?"

"Maple sugar. Siwkewikús. Sweet and brown like the Lady." A musical laugh. "All that bed rest is turning you into a very active gentleman." She pushed his hands away. "Maarta's not sure what to do with you."

"I know what to do with Maarta." He stuck his tongue out at her and grinned. "Talk to me more. It makes my spine tingle when you speak that language."

"Penamuikús… etquljuikús… nipnikús… keptekewikús… punamujuikús…"

He groaned suggestively after each word. "What was that last one?

"Punamujuikús. January. The cod are spawning."

The top sheet of the bed started to rise. "I'll bet they always do when you're around." Firmly but insistently Owen pulled her closer and kissed her slowly on the mouth. After a moment she broke away, a slight smear of dark lipstick left on his lips.

"You're a fine gentleman but Maarta needs to tell you something."

Owen shook his head, carefully reaching for the zipper on the side of her skirt. "I'm a doctor remember. There's nothing you need to say."