Characters: Jack, Ianto.
Word Count: 1711
Summary: It was only meant to be a spot of Weevil hunting, a welcome break from boring paperwork, but Jack and Ianto aren’t prepared for what they find…
Written For: alafaye’s prompt ‘A typical Weevil hunt at midnight turns up something a whole lot worse’ at torchwood_fest.
Beta: twinsarein, who generously volunteered her time at very short notice.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
“Ianto!” Jack called, as he strolled into the tourist office late one evening, the SUV’s keys dangling from one finger. “Nothing much going on right now; feel up to a spot of Weevil hunting?”
Ianto looked up from the magazine he had spread out on the counter in front of him. It was testimony to how bored he was that he was doing a quiz more suited to teenage girls. Still, it wouldn’t do for him to appear too eager; couldn’t let Jack get his own way all the time. That kind of thing went straight to his head, which was already big enough.
He arched one eyebrow. “I wasn’t aware that there’d been an alert.”
Jack shuffled his feet. “Well, no, there hasn’t been, but we haven’t cleared out the old church for a while and it’s not a good idea to let the Weevil congregation grow to unmanageable proportions.” He shrugged, trying to appear casual. “Besides, it’s a nice night and I’ve been cooped up in my office all day, all by myself, doing paperwork. I felt like a change of scene, and some company.”
“Did you finish it?”
“Well no, not quite,” Jack admitted, “but there’s only a handful of reports left to go over, I swear.” He put on his best puppy dog eyes. “I had to stop because I’m getting a headache; I could really do with some fresh air to blow the cobwebs away. So, how about it? I’ll make it worth your while…”
Ianto looked back at his magazine, cleverly disguised in a manila folder, and put on a show of reluctance, chewing on his bottom lip as he pretended to debate the relative merits of Weevil hunting over what he was currently doing. Finally, he sighed, scooping up the folder and closing it, before stowing it in his desk drawer and turning the key in the lock.
“Well, alright; I suppose I can finish that tomorrow. One condition, though.”
“Name it.” Jack was eager enough at this point to agree to almost anything; he did love a good Weevil hunt, in the right company.
“I get to drive.” Folding his arms over his chest, Ianto all but dared his lover to make some kind of protest, but Jack knew by now not to push his luck.
He sighed. “You drive a hard bargain.” Nevertheless, he held out the keys, and Ianto took them with a smug smirk.
“Don’t be a sore loser, Jack. Look on the bright side; if I’m driving, you can stick your head out the passenger side window and really blow those cobwebs away!”
Jack perked up, a bright smile lighting his face. “That’s true! C’mon, let’s get going!” Grabbing Ianto by the hand, he practically dragged him into the secret passage leading to the lift that would take them down to the Hub. Barely five minutes later, with Ianto behind the wheel, the SUV was pulling out of Torchwood’s underground garage.
The drive to their destination, a derelict church on the far side of Splott that was a known hang-out for Weevils, took about twenty minutes. Jack could’ve got them there in less than half the time, and to be honest, so could Ianto in an emergency, but he wasn’t in the mood to rush, and it was best not to annoy the Cardiff constabulary for no good reason. Even though any fines for speeding could easily be overturned since the SUV was classed as an official emergency response vehicle, it saved a lot of hassle if they avoided getting them in the first place, whenever possible.
Jack spent the whole journey with his head out the window like a dog, laughing as the wind tossed his hair about, leaving it sticking up in all directions. He wound up looking like he had a deranged hedgehog on his head, but Ianto made a point of not mentioning it; Jack could be a bit vain at times, so letting him wander around looking like that, even though nobody was likely to see him, was revenge for all the times he’d made them late on their rare nights out by spending too long preening in front of the mirror.
The church, despite its state of disrepair, remained quite an imposing building, set back from the road on a patch of land that had once been a neat churchyard, but was now badly overgrown and frequently used as a dumping ground. It was blocky and rectangular, and had never been what you’d call pretty, even when it had first been built from rough-hewn local stone. More than two centuries of wear and tear at the whim of the Welsh weather, followed by its decades-long abandonment, had left it looking grim and rather eerie, looming out of the darkness in the paltry light provided by the moon and the few streetlamps in the area that were still working.
Locals kept away from the place, aware that going near it could be hazardous to their health, even if they didn’t know precisely why. Vandals, addicts, and courting couples looking for privacy gave it a wide berth, and the city’s homeless avoided it like the plague; the people who used it for fly tipping came from further afield, and most of them didn’t come back a second time, no doubt creeped out by the brooding atmosphere of the place, and the weird noises emanating from within.
Parking the SUV on one of the poorly lit side streets that bordered the churchyard, Jack and Ianto armed themselves, checking their handguns, cans of Weevil spray, and Ianto’s stun gun. They stowed several thin cloth hoods in their coat pockets, along with Weevil clamps, and Jack prepared a couple of doses of sedative in case they needed to take any of the Weevils captive. Their main aim was to drive the toothy aliens back into the sewers; there was access through a manhole in the church grounds. Most of the time the Weevils tended to be reasonably cooperative, but once in a while they would come across a rambunctious male that had decided to make the dark, damp building its territory and wasn’t about to give it up without a fight. A cooling off period in the Torchwood cells usually made such individuals much more reasonable.
Ianto followed Jack to a gap in the surrounding stone wall where the side gate used to be. Picking their way gingerly by the light of their torches through rusted metal junk, rubble, long grass, and tangles of brambles covered in vicious thorns, they took the most direct route they could to the front of the church where the heavy wooden double doors hung half off their hinges.
Squeezing through a gap into the pitch-black interior, they turned their torches on full, flashing the beams around in a manner that should dazzle any Weevils present and make them easier to handle; their eyes weren’t adapted to bright light, which was why they spent most of their time below ground.
Jack and Ianto had expected to see baleful, sunken eyes glaring back at them, and to hear wary growls and snarls coming from the assembled aliens, but there was nothing. Not a single Weevil was present, and from the smell of the place, none had been there for quite a while, possibly not since the last time they’d been persuaded to seek alternate accommodations, several weeks earlier.
“I don’t like this,” Ianto muttered, glancing around the place nervously, his eyes straining to pierce the shadows beyond the range of his torch beam. “Why aren’t there any Weevils? No matter how many times we drive them off, they always come back within a couple of weeks.”
Close beside him, Jack was tense and alert too. “A better question might be, ‘what’s so awful that Weevils would avoid this place like the plague?’ Because something is here, and if it’s not Weevils, then what is it?”
Jack was right, Ianto could sense it too; there was a definite presence here. He was experiencing that crawling sensation you get when you know someone, or something, is watching you, even though you can’t actually see anything. It wasn’t a pleasant experience.
“I feel it too.” He kept his voice low, just a shade above a whisper, and shifted so that he and Jack were back-to-back, pulling his gun from its holster and removing the safety at the same time. He heard the muted click as Jack followed suit with his Webley. “Any idea where it is? Or what?”
“What, I have no idea, at least not yet. As for where, I’m leaning towards the sacristy.”
Ianto smirked faintly in the darkness. “Careful you don’t topple over.”
“Never mind, bad joke.”
“Oh.” Jack chuckled. “I get it. Leaning. Funny!”
Tucking his torch under one arm and pulling a small scanner from his pocket, Ianto switched it on, holding it out in front of him and shuffling slowly around in a circle, with Jack doing likewise so they continued to face in opposite directions. They were so used to working together they didn’t have to consciously think about keeping each other covered so nothing could sneak up behind either one of them. After he’d done a complete 360-degree scan, Ianto glanced at the results on the scanner’s screen.
“Looks like you were right; life-signs registering in the direction of the sacristy, but I’m not picking up anything elsewhere.”
“What does it look like?”
“One heat signature, showing up as hotter than either a Weevil or a human and not moving, positioned in the rear upper left corner of the room, and a second heat signature, cooler, in the middle of the room. That one’s moving, but not much, just sort of twitching occasionally.” Ianto shifted around to face the sacristy again, satisfied that the only potential threat was there, and Jack moved to stand beside him. Tucking the scanner back in his pocket, Ianto raised torch and gun together, nodded briefly to Jack, and they slowly, cautiously began to advance towards the sacristy, making as little noise as they could. Best not to alert whatever was lurking in there to their approach if it could be avoided; with any luck they might catch it sleeping.