Characters: Ianto, Jack, Eleventh Doctor.
Summary: Why do supposedly relaxing trips with the Doctor always turn out like this?
Word Count: 1106
Written For: Challenge 154: Run at beattheblackdog.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
“Run!” the Doctor yelled as he hurtled past Jack and Ianto in the opposite direction as if all the hounds of Hell were right on his heels. Knowing the Doctor, they very well might be.
“It always comes down to this, doesn’t it?” Ianto said mildly, turning to follow the Time Lord with his eyes. “Every time we let him talk us into going somewhere with him for a nice, restful break from the pressures of running Torchwood. He shows up, promises us a relaxing, stress free holiday, and we wind up running for our lives.”
“Not every time,” Jack protested in defence of his oldest friend. “Last time--”
Ianto cut him off. “Last time we wound up running for our lives because the Supreme Emperor of Binglesnurf thought you were flirting with his two favourite wives.”
“That was hardly my fault!” Jack said indignantly. “You told me I should be polite! All I did was say Hello!”
“With you, that’s usually all it takes. The point remains that he took offence and set the palace guards on us. As I recall, he wanted them to remove certain parts of your anatomy as punishment, and I happen to be rather fond of those parts.
“So am I,” Jack said distractedly.
“I mean, I know they would’ve grown back but that’s hardly the point, is it?”
“Look, we can talk about this later if we really have to, but right now, don’t you think we should maybe follow the Doctor?”
“I suppose so,” Ianto agreed reluctantly. He’d been thoroughly enjoying their leisurely stroll through the forest; out here in the middle of nowhere surely even Jack couldn’t land himself in trouble. The Doctor, on the other hand, seemed to find trouble no matter where he went. “I thought he said this planet was uninhabited, nothing but trees and flowers and some wildlife. What’s he found to run from this time anyway?”
“Um… those, maybe?” Jack suggested pointing in the direction the Doctor had been coming from.
Ianto looked where Jack was pointing, his eyebrows slowly creeping up his forehead as if hoping to seek refuge in his hairline. Coming towards them at a rapid pace across the forest floor was a horde of vaguely insect-like scuttling things the size of sheep. They had multicoloured carapaces, an awful lot of legs, and even more awful sets of powerful pincers on the ends of long, flexible forelimbs, snicking away at the empty air as the creatures swarmed towards them. From the way the light was catching the pincers, they looked to be sharp as razors, and easily capable of lopping off a few human limbs.
“Ah, right. Running it is then.” Turning in the direction the Doctor had been heading the last time they saw him, Ianto broke into a sprint with Jack barely a step behind. “What do you think they are?” Ianto asked chancing a quick glance back over his shoulder to make sure the swarm wasn’t gaining on them.
“Bugs,” Jack replied succinctly. “Big, nasty alien bugs!”
“Well yes, that rather goes without saying, but are they sentient beings or just oversized insects? Are they native to this planet or some sort of invasion or colonisation force? Are they chasing us, did the Doctor do something to upset them, or are they just randomly swarming in our direction?”
Drawing level with his lover, Jack shot Ianto a disbelieving look. “Do you have to ask questions now? Shouldn’t you be saving your breath for running?”
“Well, I just thought if they’re not actually intent on killing and eating us then maybe we don’t need to be running away from them at all,” Ianto pointed out.
“Would you like to be the one to stop and ask the big, nasty bugs what their intentions are?”
Ianto flicked another quick glance behind him, almost positive the creatures were closer now than they had been the last time he checked, their pincers clacking eagerly. “Uh, maybe not, running is good. Do you think they can climb trees?”
“I have no idea. They’re insects; for all we know, they might have wings!”
“Good point; probably best if we make for the TARDIS then.” Ianto changed direction fractionally, remembering the Doctor had parked in a clearing just the other side of the river they could hear burbling nearby. They’d used the trunk of a fallen tree as a makeshift bridge to get to this side.
Between the widely spaced trees, they could just see the glint of light on water a couple of hundred metres ahead and both men put on an extra burst of speed, making straight for it. Ianto adjusted direction again, Jack keeping right with him; there was the fallen tree spanning the river, and there was the TARDIS maybe fifty metres beyond it, looking incongruous but welcoming.
Slowing down to negotiate the precariously balanced tree trunk allowed the swarm to halve the distance between them, but as soon as Jack and Ianto reached the other bank they pushed themselves as fast as they could go, slamming into the side of the TARDIS, tearing the door open and plunging inside, where they collapsed against the wall, exhausted and panting, their legs trembling from exertion. The door slammed itself shut behind them.
“What kept you?” the Doctor asked from where he stood by the console. “I thought you’d be right behind me!”
“You said this planet was uninhabited!” Ianto glared across at the Time Lord. “A nice, peaceful place, you called it, a perfect vacation spot. Not once did you mention the swarms of giant bugs with sharp pincers! I would’ve remembered if you had. That’s not the sort of detail most people would overlook!”
“Yes, sorry, my mistake,” the Doctor said airily. “I brought you to Zilmip Minor instead of Zilmip Major; I get those two mixed up all the time. No harm done though; I’ll get it right this time.” The Doctor danced around the console, pushing buttons, pumping handles, flicking switches and pulling levers. “Off we go!”
Ianto slid down the wall to sit on the floor, closing his eyes. “At this rate I’m going to need a holiday to recover from our relaxing break.”
Jack sank down beside him. “Look on the bright side; we’re in a time machine, which means we can do whatever we want for as long as we want, and still get home right on schedule.”
“How do you always manage to talk me into these trips?”
“Because I’m irresistible?”
Ianto looked at his lover for a moment before closing his eyes again, a resigned expression on his face.