Chapter 10

Since that weird night two days ago, Ianto had found himself unable to concentrate. Now he stood in the lift on his way to Jack's office with a box of cupcakes he and Walter had made. God, I hope Jack likes chocolate.

As Ianto stepped forward to exit the lift, a huge dark dog pushed past him and a man ran towards them shouting urgently for Ianto to hold the doors.

Ianto could only stare at the huge beast as the floor slid shut on the muffled curse of the dog's pursuer.

"Hello there. Aren't you a beauty?" Ianto smiled down at the monster who stood waist high to Ianto. The huge head was square and solid. Eyes of liquid gold regarded its trapped audience.

The two officers squashed into one corner were trying to unclip their holsters, and Ianto frowned at them with confusion.

The doors opened again, and the handler stood panting with an equally excited Jack standing beside him.

"Jesus Ianto, get out of there. Look at the size of that bull mastiff!" Jack spluttered as he stared at the dog who took up most of the lift.

"The Cane Corso is a catch dog traditionally used with cattle and swine, and also in wild boar hunts. Cane Corso were used to guard property, livestock and families, and some continue to be used for this purpose today. Historically it has also been used by night watchmen, keepers, and, in the past, by carters as a drover. In the more distant past this breed was common all over Italy as an ample iconography and historiography testify. Obviously they are brilliant at capture and hold in an attacker situation," Ianto spouted like the encyclopedias he read so often, "I had a lovely brindle girl called Helga when I was growing up."

"What?" Jack was stunned by Ianto's excitement as he ran his hands over the dog's flanks.

"This is a blue Cane Corso with cropped ears. I bet you love eating bad guys, don't you Miss Big Scary Monster Girl?" Ianto had been reduced to baby talk that even Walter was not subjected to in front of Jack, and the dog responded with slobbery pants of pleasure.

"I don't believe it. She bloody likes you!" the handler gasped.

"Why wouldn't she? They are wonderful creatures, yes you are. Oh, my lovely fair lady, yes you are!" Ianto crooned, and the dog groaned with delight as Ianto's fingers kneaded her sharply-pointed ears.

"Myfanwy, that's her name. You want to try getting this leash on her?" The handler flicked a leash at him and the dog flinched.

Ianto looked up at the man and frowned. These dogs were not usually prone to flinching unless they were mishandled.

Another handler approached, and swore as he saw Myfanwy in the lift with Ianto.

"Who bloody well let that monster out of her holding pen?" the second handler demanded.

"Excuse me, who owns this lady?" Ianto asked as he straightened up.

"Her handler was killed in a shootout a few months ago and she won't respond to a new handler," he was told.

"Well, they do mourn quite strongly. Brilliant animals," Ianto enthused as he leant forward and kissed Jack lightly.

"Come!" Ianto slapped his thigh and walked from the lift entrance towards Jack's office. To everyone's surprise, the dog dutifully followed so closely that her head was barely a hair's breadth from Ianto's fingertips.

"Hello Jack, Walter and I made cupcakes." Ianto waved the box with a flourish then had an afterthought. "Sit!"

The beast sat.

"Shit! Want a dog?" the handler asked hopefully.

"What?" Ianto looked at the beast and considered. It would be safer than the gun Jack had confiscated with exaggerated care.

"Doesn't she need to go with a police officer?" Ianto asked as he frowned at Jack, who was pushing a whole cupcake into his mouth with moans of pleasure.

"What?" Jack choked at Ianto.

"Nothing, dear!" Ianto said with syrupy sweetness.

"She's not able to be rehomed as all our handlers have dogs and retired dogs usually go to their handlers. As hers is gone we will probably put her down." The handler shrugged as he eyed Ianto with supressed hope.

"Jack?" Ianto raised an eyebrow.

Jack was surprised that Ianto wanted his opinion, and felt a flush of pleasure.

"Well, she does like you, but what about Walt?" Jack asked.

"Nah! He'll love her. Been asking for a pony for ages!" Ianto deadpanned as the handler let out a sigh of relief.

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