Characters: Ianto, Jack, Owen, Tosh, Gwen, OCs.
Summary: Getting injured is par for the course when you work for Torchwood, but it can be damned inconvenient.
Word Count: 1678
Written For: Challenge 55: Pain at beattheblackdog.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
Ianto sucks in a breath of air, wincing at the pain that follows, sharp and sudden, but not entirely unexpected after the way he was just clobbered. He bites back a groan. Of all the stupid things to happen in the middle of a fight. There’s nothing that can be done about it though, not right now. Sometimes pain has to be pushed aside and put on hold in favour of staying alive and preventing the people of earth from being enslaved by a bunch of very unpleasant characters. The Torchwood Team are up against a band of man-sized bugs with an attitude problem; intergalactic slave traders, known as the Procurers according to Jack. Ianto’s always known there has to be a reason he’s not too fond of bugs; looks like he just found it. They’re nasty things at any size, but the bigger they are, the nastier they seem to get.
Well, if these big bugs enjoy clobbering people so much, let’s see how they like getting clobbered in return. Seems to Ianto that retaliation might be in order after getting knocked unceremoniously on his arse. Untangling himself from the stack of cardboard boxes that broke his fall, ears still ringing from the blow that sent him flying, and the coppery taste of blood in his mouth from biting his tongue, Ianto wavers his way back onto his feet. At least he’s not seeing double or anything, even if his balance is a bit off, and to his senses, ‘up’ now appears to be at a distinct angle from the vertical. Wonderful; possible mild concussion to add to his other woes. He could do without that complicating his situation, but thankfully it doesn’t seem bad enough to incapacitate him. Could be worse, he thinks, trying to remain optimistic.
It isn’t a particularly comforting thought.
Okay, if he’s going to retaliate, he needs a weapon of some kind; shouldn’t be too difficult to find something suitable in a place like this. Fumbling around and snatching up a nearby two-by-four, he sets off in pursuit of his attacker. It hasn’t got very far, so despite some slight problems with balance, he catches up quickly, whacking the bug across the back of its head with his new toy as hard as he can. His aim’s a little off, due to him listing a bit to the right, and he hits it on the neck instead, but it doesn’t prevent the blow from being highly effective. Bug boy faceplants into the concrete of the warehouse floor with a resounding smack, and lies still. Yellowish ichor leaks our from under him. Or her. Or it. Ianto realises he has no idea of how to tell what gender the Procurers are, or even if they have males and females. They could be hermaphrodites for all he knows. Earth rules don’t necessarily apply to aliens. That’s one of the first things you learn working for Torchwood, and one of the most important.
Suddenly realising he’s been staring at his dead or injured opponent for longer than is strictly advisable under the circumstances, Ianto gives himself a shake, mentally rather than physically because he doesn’t want to make himself any dizzier than he already is, and drags his attention back to the matter at hand. Boy alien or girl alien doesn’t matter. Dead alien would be better, but their tough chitin makes shooting the Procurers hazardous because of ricochets, and largely ineffective. Striking hard at vulnerable parts of their anatomy is a much better method of attack, judging by the condition of the one he just hit.
He takes another deep breath, gathering himself to continue the fight, and yelps at the sudden, sharp pain. Damn, he’d forgotten about that. He’s pretty sure he’s forgetting something else too, but he can’t for the life of him remember what that might be. Most likely because he’s forgotten, he decides. Gradually he realises his knees hurt. Kneeling on the cold concrete probably isn’t a good idea, which is funny because he doesn’t remember kneeling down either. Also, his head aches. Mild concussion, he reminds himself, taking a tighter grip on his two-by-four, using it to lever himself to his feet again, before bringing the end of it down hard on the back of the Procurer’s neck, administering what he hopes will be the killing blow if it’s not already dead. He almost decapitates it. If it’s not dead now then it should be. He smiles in satisfaction. Right, so that worked! He wonders if the rest of the team know about this method of attack.
Oh yeah, that must be what he forgot. It’s like a light bulb going on in his head, or maybe that’s just the concussion. Reaching up, Ianto taps his bluetooth earpiece. “Jack?”
“Ianto? You okay?”
“I think so. Sorta. Mostly. Listen, I got one! The Procurers. I killed it. Grab yourself a piece of pipe or a plank and hit ‘em on the back of the neck. Vulnerable spot. Works like a charm. Might have to hit ‘em a couple of times. Knock ‘em down, then take their heads off.”
“Got it. Be careful, okay?”
“Careful as I can be. You too. Tell the others.” Ianto is quite proud of himself for sounding so lucid. It’s not easy; his thoughts keep taking detours. Keeping his back to whatever protection he can find, he goes in search of more of the Procurers. There were eight to start with, that means with the one he just took out, there are now only… well, less than eight, which is good, right? Right. One down and several more to go. Stealthily, he stalks his prey, like a tiger in the jungle. He grins to himself. Tigerpants on the prowl. Maybe he’ll stalk Jack later, just without the big stick and the hitting.
Thanks to Ianto’s helpful discovery, four more Procurers are soon dealt with and the remaining three don’t stick around to suffer the same fate, scuttling into their transport pod and heading for their cloaked ship, somewhere in orbit, without a single slave to show for their efforts. If they’d thought earth would be an easy target because of it being such a backward and primitive world, they’ve been proven sadly mistaken. It’s unlikely they’ll come back, but if they do, at least now Torchwood knows how to deal with them. Primitive weapons can be surprisingly effective against supposedly advanced species.
Back at the Hub, Owen patches up the team’s injuries; only Jack doesn’t need any medical attention, thanks to his helpful regenerative powers. The others have various minor bruises, cuts, and abrasions, Tosh has a sprained wrist, Gwen a nasty cut on her arm, which requires stitches, and Owen’s limping from twisting his knee. Ianto has a concussion, and a big lump on the side of his head from where the Procurer’s long, hinged forelimb struck him, before it had assumed he was no longer a threat and turned its back on him. Biggest mistake that bug had ever made, and the last!
Battered and bandaged, they sit down around the coffee table, sipping hot drinks; coffee for Jack of course, and for Owen, tea for the girls and Ianto, because Owen says caffeine is a bad idea what with his head injury. Ianto would have preferred a coffee, but tea is good too, especially when he makes it. Even concussed he has a knack for beverages. He takes a mouthful of his hot tea, and yelps in pain.
Jack is instantly worried. “Ianto? Are you okay?”
Ianto winces, pulling a face. “No, I’m not okay, I have toothache! Remember the broken tooth I had fixed a few months back? That damned Procurer thing knocked the cap off when it hit me. Now I’ll have to get a dentist’s appointment to get it fixed again.” He scowls into his tea, as if it’s to blame for his pain, which it sort of is even though it’s not the cause of the damage, then looks up at Jack again. “You know, we have a medic, but we really ought to employ a dentist too. Think how much messing about that would save! No having to wait days for an appointment and then pay the earth for treatment, no having to cancel appointments to prevent the end of the world… It would be so much more convenient.”
Jack smiles. “Actually, that might not be a bad idea. Owen, how d’you fancy going into dentistry as a sideline?”
“I’ll pass. Bad enough I ‘ave to treat living patients who criticise my bedside manner, talk back, and don’t cooperate. The last thing I need is to ‘ave them biting me too!”
“Wouldn’t want you poking around in my mouth anyway,” Ianto mutters. “I know where your hands have been.” He pulls out his phone, scrolls through his contacts, and dials a number. “Hello? Is that the dentist? Yes, good, I need to make an appointment, I got clobbered and I’ve lost the cap off my tooth.” He covers the phone while the receptionist looks to see when the surgery can fit him in. “I think I might’ve swallowed it,” he tells the others, pulling a disgusted face.
The phone speaks in his ear, and he jumps. “Hello? Who’s that? Oh, right. Sorry. Tomorrow? Great! What time? Three-thirty? Great. See you then. Uh huh. Oh, Ianto Jones. Temporary crown? Okay, as long as it stops this bloody toothache. Yes, thanks.” Ending the call, Ianto puts his phone away, picks up his teacup, takes a drink, and yelps as pain shoots through his jaw. “Ow! That hurts!”
Ianto slumps mournfully on the sofa, trying to sip his tea without aggravating the pain in his damaged tooth. It’s making his face throb to match his head. Working for Torchwood can be a hazardous business, injuries are to be expected, but this just doesn’t seem fair. Concussion is something he can deal with; he’s gone that route before. They all have. Toothache, on the other hand, is just adding insult to injury.