Characters: Ianto, Jack, Owen, Tosh, Gwen, Alien.
Summary: The Torchwood team are chasing a very odd alien.
Word Count: 1051
Written For: My own prompt ‘Any, Any, Coming unravelled,’ at fic_promptly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
They’re Torchwood, and catching aliens goes with the territory, but sometimes they could do without all the chasing that usually comes first. Even Jack, who has more stamina than most people, thanks to his fitter than average 51st century body, is starting to run out of breath. Whatever this creature is, it’s pretty nippy. Then again, it has the advantage of having a lot more legs than they do; Ianto thinks there are at least ten, but it’s hard to be sure because they’re moving too fast to count with complete accuracy, and anyway, they’re partly concealed beneath its long, shaggy, deep red pelt. He’d quite like a sweater that shade, he decides. Anyway, more legs seem to equate to greater speed and vastly improved manoeuvrability, judging from the way it can take sharp turns without even slowing down.
As they reach the end of Bruce Street, Fairoak Road is ahead of them, and on the other side lays Cathays Cemetery. Jack gasps orders into his bluetooth headset, sending Owen and Gwen out wide to the left, Tosh and Ianto to the right. Once they get among the headstones and mausoleums it’s going to be harder to keep track of the creature, so spreading out seems the sensible thing to do.
The change of terrain gives the creature an even greater advantage over its pursuers, and it dodges and weaves between obstacles with abandon, effortlessly compensating for the uneven ground while the Torchwood Team stumble and stagger, turning their ankles every few strides and occasionally being brought to their knees. Ianto curses the grass stains he’s getting on his suit, hoping the dry cleaner will be able to get them out. Sometimes, being a snappy dresser can be a huge disadvantage.
He’s just trying to get back on his feet when the elusive alien suddenly darts across the gap between two mausoleums barely six feet in front of him. Ianto doesn’t hesitate, turning his undignified scramble into a flying tackle and grabbing for whatever part of the creature he can reach, feeling a sense of triumph as one hand snags in the furry coat. His fingers close convulsively around his woolly handful, but he fails to impede the creature’s mad dash in the slightest; it just keeps going.
Ianto blinks at the bundle on dark red fluff he’s holding; a long strand leads from it, extending in the direction their quarry was headed the last time he saw it. “Huh!” With a shrug, he grasps the thread, which is considerably stronger than it looks, and starts winding it around what’s already in his hand as he follows the trail.
The ball of alien fluff gets bigger and bigger as he follows that seemingly never-ending strand, turning left, right, right again… It’s bigger than a beach ball and getting somewhat unwieldy to carry by the time Ianto corners the now almost naked creature behind a headstone. The poor thing is less than half the size it was when the chase began, and looks worn out; it’s also starting to shiver a bit in the early morning chill. Ianto sympathises; he’s found himself stranded naked in similar conditions on several occasions, and it’s never fun. Jack would probably disagree, of course.
Speaking of Jack… Ianto reaches up to his headset, clicking it over from receive to send. “Jack, I’ve got our visitor.”
“Good work, Ianto! We’re on our way.”
Setting the alien wool down on a convenient tomb, where it shouldn’t get too dirty, Ianto strips off his jacket and wraps it around the skinny, mostly bare little alien, noting as he does so that there are in fact twelve legs. Ah well, he was only two out, not bad under the circumstances.
“Looks like you need this more than I do,” he murmurs, picking the creature up. It’s light as a feather, a sausage-shaped body, six legs to a side, a cat-like head at one end with antennae instead of ears, and a stubby little bare tail at the other, which Ianto seems to recall had originally been tipped with a furry pompom… Come to think of it, that might have been what he’d grabbed that had made the rest of the alien’s pelt come unravelled. He smiles slightly to himself. If sheep could be designed like that, think how much easier shearing time would be for farmers. Herd in the sheep, unravel them, and send them back out to graze. No muss no fuss. The rest of the team arrive while he’s still wondering about the practicality of genetically modifying every sheep on earth for easy unravelling.
“What have we got?” Jack asks immediately, looking at the exhausted creature in Ianto’s arms.
“I have no idea,” Ianto replies. “You’re the expert.”
“I’ve not seen one of these before. It looks a lot smaller than I was expecting now I can see it up close.”
“That’s because it IS smaller.” Ianto points at the ball of yarn. “It came unravelled.”
Jack stared. “Huh. That’s new!”
“I’m thinking I might make a sweater from the fur. It’s surprisingly strong.”
“Well, red IS your colour,” Jack smirks, “and since you’re the one who caught it, it’s only fair that you get to keep the spoils of war.”
Tosh picks up the yarn ball, fingering it gently. “It’s really soft too. You’d better check that it isn’t likely to shrink in the wash though.”
As they start on the long walk back to the SUV, Ianto tells them about his idea for breeding sheep that don’t need shearing, and everyone laughs.
“Now that I’d like to see,” Jack says. “Maybe they could be bred in different colours too; save having to dye the wool.”
“Flocks of rainbow coloured sheep on the hillsides.” Tosh has a dreamy expression on her face. “Think how pretty they’d look.”
“They’d have to be colour-fast,” Gwen adds, getting in on the act, “otherwise they’d run every time it rained.”
“I work with a bunch of certified weirdos,” Owen grumbles, but he’s smiling.
“We’re Torchwood; being weird is practically unavoidable,” Ianto declares.
Jack nods. “You don’t have to be weird to work here, but it helps.”
“Amen to that.”
Their voices fade off into the distance as they head back to base for breakfast and coffee, and another uniquely Torchwood day.