Title: Runaway Jack
Characters: Ianto, Jack
Word Count: 768
Summary: Jack’s out of control; this can only end in disaster.
Content Notes: Don’t try this at home…
Written For: Challenge #136: Hit The Wall at fan_flashworks. Also fits Challenge #102: Disaster and Challenge # 108: Fast-Forward.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
Ianto had spent most of the day working busily down in the archives. He’d been out in the field so much recently that his routine tasks, such as filing reports and cataloguing alien artefacts, had been left unattended. As a result, the work, not to mention the files, had piled up on his desk. A lull in Rift activity had finally given him the opportunity to start catching up with the backlog, so he was taking full advantage of it while he could. Who knew when all hell would break loose again?
Wandering along one of the deep corridors, carrying a box of small items to be stored in the ‘Earth Origin – Pre-1900’ section of the archives, he was deep in thought when an odd, indistinct rumbling sound broke through his musings. It seemed to be coming from somewhere behind him, up the long, winding passageway he was following, although due to the echoes that abounded in this part of the Hub, it was hard to be certain.
He paused, looking back over his shoulder in the dim light of the bare bulbs strung along the rough-hewn rock of the ceiling, but nothing was visible. The room he wanted was just around the next corner; should he carry on and finish what he was doing or go back and check out the noise? Torn by indecision, he hesitated. Was the noise getting louder? Maybe he’d better check it out, just to be on the safe side. Strange noises were something Torchwood agents learned early not to ignore; they often preceded trouble of one kind or another.
As he took a couple of steps back up the slight incline, intending to investigate, the distant rumble morphed into an increasingly noisy rattling clatter, sounding suspiciously like small wheels on uneven concrete, and before he could get any further, around the bend at the top of the sloping passage came an extraordinary sight.
Startled, Ianto’s eyebrows shot up into his hairline. “Jack?”
“Iantooooooo! Heeeeeeeeeelp! I can’t stop!”
Ianto blinked, eyes widening and jaw dropping in astonishment as Jack, coat flying out behind him like a cape and arms windmilling frantically, bore down on him at a truly frightening pace. At almost the last moment, Ianto leapt out of Jack’s path to avoid being mown down by the runaway, whirling on his heel as Torchwood Three’s leader zoomed past him with a despairing wail of “Help meeeeee!”
Frozen to the spot, Ianto could only stare in horror as, failing to make the sharp right turn at the bottom of the slope, Jack hit the solid wall of rock that blocked his path with an audible splat. He winced in sympathy at the sight of his lover, spread-eagled against the pitted surface of the bedrock into which Torchwood’s lower levels had been cut over a century ago. Jack remained poised immobile for several moments, arms outstretched, before sliding almost gracefully down the wall and slumping in a heap at the bottom, like a character from a cartoon. Ianto half expected him to leave an impression of his body behind.
Dumping the box he was carrying at the side of the corridor, he hurried to the fallen man, who was groaning pitifully.
“Jack? Are you alright?”
“I don’t know.” He twitched feebly. “I feel a bit flattened. Ow!” he added, rather belatedly. “Ianto? I was shouting for help. Why didn’t you stop me?”
“Self preservation,” Ianto replied. “I didn’t fancy being mashed between you and the wall.”
“Oh. Yes, that would’ve been bad.”
“If you don’t mind me asking, what the hell did you think you were doing?”
Jack looked up at him sheepishly.
“You’d been down here a long time, so I thought I’d just pop down to make sure you were okay, but it was a long walk and then I found these.” He pointed vaguely in the general direction of his feet. “I thought they’d help me get to where you were a lot faster, but it might not have been one of my better ideas. I don’t think I’m very good at roller-skating,” he admitted.
“You seemed to have the rolling part down well enough. You might want to work on your steering and stopping though.”
Jack shook his head carefully, as it worried that it might fall off having already been loosened by his impact with the wall. “No thanks. I think my roller-skating days are over. It’s too scary.”
Ianto hid a smile as he sighed and shook his head. “Well, it could’ve been worse. I suppose I should just be thankful you didn’t find the pogo stick.”