Characters: Owen, Ianto, Jack, Tosh, Gwen.
Word Count: 1455
Summary: Pizza has been Torchwood’s meal of choice for a long time, and that’s never going to change. Right?
Content Notes: A bit of yuckiness.
Written For: Challenge 218: Slice at fan_flashworks.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
“Pizza is a well-balanced, nutritious meal,” Owen declared, helping himself to a slice. “Think about it; you have your carbohydrates in the base for energy, cheese for dairy, lots of bone-strengthening calcium there, pepperoni for meat protein to build muscle…”
“That’s debatable,” Ianto cut in.
“Shut up, Teaboy. Where was I? Oh yeah, it even has vegetables.” Owen prodded a thin sliver of tomato.
“Technically, tomatoes are fruit,” Ianto informed him.
“Fruit, vegetable, whatever. Same difference.”
Ianto rolled his eyes. “This from a qualified medical professional.”
“Shut it!” Owen glared at his colleague. “All I’m sayin’ is that we shouldn’t worry about eating so much pizza because it’s packed with everything we need to fuel us in our work.” Smiling, he crammed the rest of his slice into his mouth, chewing with gusto as he reached for a second slice.
“Your table manners are as bad as Jack’s,” Ianto observed, taking small bites of his own slice and chewing them thoroughly. “It’s a miracle the pair of you don’t have permanent indigestion.”
“Have to eat when you get the chance around here, just like during a war,” Jack said, speaking with his mouth overfull and spraying bits of pizza everywhere. “’Cause you never know when you’ll get another chance. See?” he added as the Rift alert chose that moment to start blaring. “What did I tell you? Duty calls.” He grabbed another slice as he stood up and followed Tosh to her computers, leaning over her shoulder to see her screens as she pulled up the relevant data on the Rift spike. “What’ve we got?” he asked between mouthfuls.
“Not sure, but whatever it is, it’s alive,” Tosh reported. “I can’t get a visual though, the CCTV camera on that corner’s been vandalised again. The churchyard there is a popular make-out spot for people leaving the clubs and bars late at night and most of them prefer not to be watched.”
“Ah yes,” Jack sighed dreamily. “I remember it well. Okay, kids! Gear up and let’s go see what we’ve got!”
The team scattered, grabbing their coats and kits, but halfway to the underground garage, Owen stopped and turned back. “Hang on a minute!”
“What now?” Jack asked, halting mid-step.
“We’re forgetting something.” Detouring to the coffee table, Owen closed the half-empty pizza box and picked it up to take with them. “No sense leavin’ it here to get cold,” he said, rejoining the others and following them out to the SUV. “We need to keep our strength up. You said it yourself; eat whenever you get the chance, like soldiers do.”
“Soldiers don’t eat in the middle of a battle,” Jack pointed out.
Owen shrugged. “Whatever. Not exactly marchin’ into battle, are we?”
“In this job, you can never be sure,” Ianto joked. “Could be a vicious, man eating alien horde out there.”
“You’ll be alright then.” Owen smirked at his colleague.
“Hey! I’ll have you know Ianto is all man!” Jack scowled at the medic, taking offence on his lover’s behalf.
“Whatever it is, if we don’t hurry it’ll be gone before we get there,” Tosh reminded them.
“Right,” Jack agreed. “Vicious alien horde or not, we can’t leave it wandering the streets.”
It wasn’t a long trip out to the coordinates of the Rift spike, but by the time they got there, as Tosh had suspected, the alien had already departed. It was rare that anything living stayed where the Rift dropped it off. Dumped in a strange place, it was only natural that any creature, sentient or not, would immediately seek shelter and hole up while it got its bearings. Thankfully, anything passing through the Rift was guaranteed to be saturated with Rift energy, which Torchwood’s scanners were calibrated to detect, so the team soon picked up the creature’s trail; it was headed towards Adam Street and the Central Link, which was bad. Those were very busy roads.
While the rest of the team set out after it on foot, Ianto took the SUV, hoping to get ahead of the creature and cut it off before it could reach any of the major highways. He succeeded, but sadly it didn’t do any good.
The alien, it turned out, wasn’t all that speedy. Following the one-way system along Sandon Street, the team had just spotted their quarry moving ponderously along the road when a car came around the bend and…
“Ugh!” Gwen shuddered and looked away.
The driver must have known he’d hit something, but he never even slowed down; his taillights were already out of sight when the team reached the unfortunate hit and run victim.
“Poor thing,” Tosh said, staring sadly at the squashed remains.
Gwen nodded. “At least it was a quick death; probably never even felt anything.”
“Not exactly a warm welcome to earth; flattened before it got to see the sights,” Jack sympathised. “One minute it’s just walking along the road, minding its own business, the next… Splat.”
Owen pulled a face. “You know what? Suddenly I’ve gone right off pizza.”
“Me too,” Gwen agreed.
“And me,” Tosh decided.
Jack clicked his Bluetooth earpiece. “Ianto? Come around the one-way system, we’re near the end of Sandon Street.”
“Did you get it?”
“No, someone in a car did, squished it flat as the proverbial pancake. There’s not much left of it; chances are we’ll never know what it was.”
“So it’s a cleanup job then?”
“I’d say so. Probably best not to leave squashed alien on the road.”
“Wonderful.” Ianto’s sarcasm was clear even over the comm. system. “Just what I needed to make my day complete.”
“Sorry. We just didn’t get to it quickly enough.”
“We might have if Owen hadn’t decided the pizza was more important than assisting a displaced alien.”
“Yeah, well, how was I supposed to know it would be stupid enough to wander down the middle of the road and get itself run over?” Owen asked indignantly.
“It’s an alien, or it was. Most of them don’t have much knowledge of earth, never mind the laws pertaining to road safety. I’m sure it would have kept to the pavement otherwise, rather than jaywalking. I don’t imagine it was expecting to get killed.”
Ten minutes later, Ianto pulled up beside the rest of the team, leaving the hazard warning lights flashing on the SUV. A car honked behind him, then swung out and around, cutting back into the lane the SUV was blocking almost immediately, and narrowly missing the dead alien in the process. It was getting dark and visibility was already poor. Ianto popped the SUV’s boot and dug out more hazard lights, which Jack spaced out to block off the area in front of the SUV so Ianto wouldn’t be in danger during the clean-up process.
Armed with a shovel, a heavy-duty trash bag, and a spray of an alien cleaning product that would remove all traces of organic substances without affecting the road surface, Ianto set about dealing with their unfortunate visitor, scooping the remains into the bag for disposal back at the Hub, then giving the spot where it had met its fate a few good squirts from his spray. Foam bubbled up on the tarmac, but quickly subsided as it completed its job.
“Okay, all done.” He reached for the bag to tie it closed, but Owen stopped him.
“Just a mo.” Fetching the pizza box from the SUV, he tipped the uneaten slices of pizza into the bag, then shrugged and stuffed the box in too. “You can tie it up now.
Ianto raised an eyebrow. “Thought you wanted that.”
“Suit yourself.” Tying the bag, he put it in a containment unit in the boot while Jack gathered the lights and stowed them away. One last quick check in the deepening dusk and the two men joined their colleagues in the SUV. Ianto started the engine, signalled, checked his mirror, and pulled out into the flow of traffic, heading back to the Hub, turning out onto Adam Street for the second time that afternoon, then onto Bute Terrace.
As they approached the entrance to the garage, Jack finally broke the silence. “How about sandwiches from the new Deli across the Plas for lunch tomorrow?”
“Great choice,” Owen agreed. “Sandwiches are very nutritious; carbohydrates in the bread, and a choice of fillings to give you all the protein and vegetables a healthy body needs. They’re packed with all sorts of good stuff, unlike stodgy pizza. We really need to eat more healthily; do you lot know how much fat and salt is in a single pizza slice?” Owen kept on, extolling the virtues of sandwiches over pizza. Ianto just rolled his eyes this time and kept quiet.