Characters: Ianto, Jack
Summary: Danger warnings come in many forms, and Torchwood knows not to ignore any of them.
Word Count: 654
Written For: My own prompt ‘Any, any, There's a particular sound a blackbird makes when something alarms it,’ at fic_promptly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
There's a particular sound a blackbird makes when something alarms it, and Ianto was hearing that sound now.
‘Chook chook chook chook!’
In broad daylight, it wouldn’t have bothered him; it was spring, the first brood of young had left the nest by now, and the familiar sound was almost constant in the parks and surrounding gardens as the parent birds warned of cats and marauding magpies. But it wasn’t broad daylight; it was the middle of the night and pitch black, so dark he needed a torch to see beneath the trees, yet the blackbirds, who should have been sleeping, were wide awake and not at all happy.
Something was out here, something the local wildlife saw as a threat.
It wasn’t that much of a surprise; Ianto wouldn’t have been out in Bute park at three in the morning, along with Jack, if they hadn’t been woken by a Rift alert. The alarmed blackbirds were the final confirmation that whatever had come through the Rift this time was alive, and probably carnivorous. Birds never made a racket like that over deer or rabbits.
He drew his gun, checking it with quick efficiency, catching sight of Jack out the corner of his eye doing the same. In this business, it was wise to heed warnings regardless of their source.
Gun ready, he glanced at Jack, who made a series of hand gestures. Ianto nodded and moved away, circling left as Jack went right, on the assumption that whatever this was, it wouldn’t be able to attack in two directions at the same time. Although, this being Torchwood, you could never be entirely certain; there could be more than one of whatever it was, or it could have tentacles, in which case attacking in every direction at once was perfectly possible.
In the absence of any accurate intel beyond the blackbird’s warning, splitting up still made better sense than sticking together and providing a single, easy target. Being alone in the dark hunting an unidentified creature wasn’t especially comforting, but it went with the territory.
Ianto could hear something else now, behind the loud and strident alarm calls, something moving in the bushes, trying to be quiet but not succeeding. He moved in, treading carefully but equally unable to be completely silent. Humans weren’t exactly designed to be stealthy predators; shoes are good for protecting tender feet from sharp stones and thorns, but they mean you can’t feel dry leaves or dead twigs and only know they’re there when you hear them scrunch.
Inching forward, knowing Jack would be doing the same, Ianto parted the braches in front of him with his gun, keeping his torch lowered in an effort to avoid spooking the creature, and almost reeled back in shock when he found himself looking into a pair of baleful yellow eyes from less than a metre away. Yep, the blackbirds had good reason to be alarmed!
A shot rang out and the massive lizard roared, rearing back on its hind legs and swinging its heavy head around to face in the other direction, jaws adorned with hundreds of sharp teeth snapping shut as it lunged at its attacker, narrowly missing.
Taking aim, Ianto fired off three shots in quick succession, drawing the monster’s attention so that Jack could get a better aim. One more careful shot from the Webley, hitting the creature in the eye, its only truly vulnerable point, and with a roar, it toppled ponderously sideways, crashing to the ground.
Jack and Ianto stepped out into the open together, cautiously advancing on the body.
“It’s a shame,” Ianto said quietly. “I always wanted to see one, and now it’s dead.”
“Can’t really leave an Allosaurus wandering around Cardiff though, and I don’t think netting it would have been an option.”
“True. But how are we going to move something that big?”
Jack shrugged. “We’ll think of something. We always do.”