Characters: Team Torchwood, Aliens
Spoilers: Nada. Well, tiny one for KKBB
Summary: Jack’s a little too late to save the day this time.
Word Count: 1466
Written For: oneill’s prompt ‘Any, Any, "Anything that stands can fall",’ at fic_promptly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
Team Torchwood were in big trouble; not that it was an unusual situation for them. The harmless alien they were after had turned out to be nothing of the sort. For one thing, there were three of them, and for another, all three were armed and extremely aggressive.
Jack had managed to take the first one out before getting gunned down himself. That had left two hostile aliens and four Torchwood agents, which was slightly better odds, but still far from ideal considering the aliens’ superior firepower. The team was forced to retreat and regroup, leaving Jack’s very dead body behind, much to Ianto’s distress. He hated having to leave his lover to wake up alone, but he and his colleagues needed to buy themselves some time to reload and come up with a new strategy since the one they’d started out with had turned out to be useless.
They ran for a nearby abandoned warehouse, ducking inside the cavernous place and looking frantically around for a good place to take cover. The aliens didn’t seem to be in much of a hurry, probably figuring that since they were running away they wouldn’t put up much of a fight. The team split up to cover the warehouse entrance from every angle, opening fire from four directions when one of the tall, thin figures appeared in the open doorway, silhouetted against the light from outside. It went down hard, still alive but critically wounded, its weapon skittering away across the floor into the shadows, and for a brief moment they felt a sense of victory; there was only one alien left and still four of them, the odds were surely in their favour now.
Then Tosh screamed.
The third alien must have found another way into the warehouse and now it had her by the throat, holding her easily with one hand, using her as a shield to protect itself as it advanced into the open, its weapon, a lethal laser, pressed to her temple.
“You will surrender and throw down your weapons or I will kill this one. You cannot prevail,” it intoned in a sibilant hiss.
“I don’t know, we’ve done pretty well up until now,” Owen called out. “Two down, one to go.”
“You have defeated only one; my podmate lives, he will heal and you will pay for what you have done to our third.”
Owen, Gwen, and Ianto advanced out of cover, guns aimed even though they couldn’t get a clear shot because of Tosh being held in the way. It was the Blowfish incident from a few months ago all over again; they couldn’t shoot the alien without risking the life of its hostage, their friend, but it could easily take them out if it chose to. Ianto had a feeling it wouldn’t want them to die quickly though. He wondered where Jack was. If they could just stall long enough for Torchwood Three’s leader to revive and perform a heroic last minute rescue, that would be good.
“Not goin’ to happen, baldy.” Like the other two, Owen kept his gun aimed as they all moved closer. It was a stalemate. The alien couldn’t kill Tosh because then there’d be nothing to stop the team from opening fire on it, and if it turned its weapon on one of them it could be shot by the other two.
It turned to Owen. “You are the leader.” It was a statement rather than a question.
“Yeah, you could say that,” Owen replied.
“Tell your podmates to relinquish their weapons.”
“Why would I do that? You’ll kill us anyway. Way I see it, we have nothin’ to lose.”
“You are a stupid race of beings, you will be easily defeated. When I conquer your world I will kill all who oppose me. You will serve as an example!”
“Still not seein’ any reason to surrender.”
The alien was growing angrier by the minute at their refusal to accept the inevitable. “You have no choice!” It moved its weapon away from Tosh’s head, pointing it at Owen, turning fractionally towards him and away from Ianto. It wasn’t much, but it was enough.
“Say goodnight, Gracie.” Ianto’s bullet hit it right in the ear hole, blowing out the opposite side of its head in a spectacular spray of blood and gore. It didn’t make a sound as it crumpled except for the muffled thud as its dead body hit the floor, raising a cloud of dust.
As the alien released its grip on her, Tosh staggered and nearly fell, just catching herself with one hand against the floor before stumbling forward a few steps in Owen’s direction, rubbing her throat.
Owen was staring at Ianto as if he couldn’t believe what he’d just seen. “Shit! That was some shot, teaboy; you been practicing?”
“Of course,” Ianto replied, lowering his gun to his side and raising an elegant eyebrow. “Two hours a week. Don’t you?” He turned his attention to his best friend. “You okay, Tosh?”
“I think so. Thanks Ianto, nice shooting. What about the other one?”
“I can’t find a pulse, I think it’s dead.” Gwen’s voice echoed oddly in the empty building as she called to the others from where she was crouched beside the second alien.
“It’s an alien, Gwen,” Owen said patiently. “It doesn’t necessarily have a pulse, or if it does, you might not be able to feel it in the same place as you would on a human.” He strode across and put a bullet through its head. “There; now it’s definitely dead.”
Gwen looked shocked. “You’re a doctor, aren’t you supposed to heal?”
“It and its buddies just tried to kill us all and invade earth. Besides, if it wasn’t already dead then it was dying. I just put it out of its misery, that’s all.”
“He has a point,” Ianto said calmly.
“I suppose,” Gwen agreed reluctantly.
A sound from the doorway made them all spin around, raising their guns, but it was just Jack, Webley in hand, scanning the warehouse interior with a bemused expression.
“Sorry, Jack,” Owen smirked, “you’re a little too late to save the day this time, but I’m sure teaboy will make it up to you later if you ask nicely.”
“Tell you later, once we’ve got the bodies back to the Hub,” Ianto said. “Tosh needs some medical attention.”
“I’m fine,” Tosh insisted, going over to pick up her gun from where she’d dropped it when she was grabbed. “Just a few bruises, nothing serious.”
“I should check you over anyway, just to be sure,” Owen told her, tucking his gun in the back of his belt.
“I’ll fetch the SUV.” Gwen disappeared out the door.
“So, are we sure this is all of them?” Ianto asked.
“I think so.” Tosh bent to study the alien who had held her captive. “They were disguising their biometric signals somehow, probably something to do with one of these gadgets they’re all wearing. By keeping close together they read as one harmless entity, I’ll have to find a way for my scanners to see through that kind of disguise in future so we don’t get caught out again. I’m not picking up any other signals though.”
Leaning against the warehouse wall, Jack watched his team, feeling completely surplus to requirements; it was a bit unsettling. He was glad that his team could handle dangerous situations so efficiently without his help, but it made him wonder if they really needed him at all anymore.
“You can’t always be the hero you know.”
He started, so deep in thought that he hadn’t heard Ianto approach. “I know, it’s just… You turned into a proper team while I was gone; I’m not sure that would’ve happened if I’d been here. Do I even still have a place?”
Ianto snorted softy. “Of course you do, you’re our leader, and besides, you know more about alien races than any of us do.”
“I didn’t know about these.”
“Doesn’t matter; we stopped them, and we’ll know more if they ever show up again. It’s a big universe; even a time-travelling immortal can’t know everything that’s out there. I bet the Doctor still gets surprised from time to time and he’s been at it a lot longer than you. Come on, I’ll grab a body bag and we’ll get the one from outside while the others clean up in here.”
“What did happen in there, Ianto?” Jack asked as he followed his lover over to the SUV that had just pulled up outside.
“You can read it all in my report later. Suffice to say, despite all your attempts at distracting me, it looks like the time we spend on the firing range is finally paying off.”