Characters: Ianto, Jack, OCs, Team mentioned.
Word Count: 2419
Summary: Jack is always managing to get Ianto into weird situations, and when he doesn’t, Ianto does it himself. That’s what he gets for dating the boss.
Written For: Challenge # 182: Together at fan_flashworks.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
Ianto groaned; chasing the latest Rift beastie had just gone from bad to worse. In fact, looking around himself he couldn’t see how things could really get much worse for him. Or maybe he could, but he preferred not to for the time being, since he already had more than enough on his plate without thinking of how much worse his situation could still become. Still, whichever way he looked at it, he was screwed, and not in the fun way.
It had been bad enough that a living, and decidedly not friendly, creature had come through the Rift. At the time, Ianto had consoled himself with the knowledge that even though it was very dangerous, at least they knew that from the start. It was a species Jack had encountered before, and the Torchwood archives had very detailed information on it. Add to that the comforting fact that the Rift had dumped it well outside the city limits on an isolated beach at a time when there would be few, if any, people about, and there had seemed a good chance that the team could neutralize it before anyone got hurt, or worse.
According to Jack, their visitor was a creature known as a Devil Worm, although it was more like a very big centipede with a lot of legs. A non-sentient predatory species, Devil Worms were fast, had more razor-sharp teeth than the average shark, and both the teeth and the massive stinger at the other end could deliver enough venom to paralyse a whale. The venom, for which there was no antidote available, was highly toxic to most species, enough to be classified as lethal, although nobody was known to have survived long enough to die of it. The Devil Worms’ method of hunting was to immobilize their prey, then immediately start eating. Not a pleasant thought. Clearly capturing it wouldn’t be an option, it was far too risky, so the team had set out armed to the teeth, ready to kill the creature on sight, and that was where their problems began, because it turned out they weren’t the only people hunting it.
That had caused a bit of trouble. Their rivals were a group of aliens from a distant planet who really didn’t appreciate what they perceived as Torchwood’s interference in their hunt. It was a matter of honour for them, tracking the beast that had caused the death of one of their own. When the Devil Worm had been sucked through the Rift while they were chasing it, after losing a crewmate to its voracious appetite, they’d followed in their spacecraft, bound and determined to finish what they’d started.
Jack’s suggestion that they pool their resources and hunt the creature together had been summarily rejected by the leader of the alien hunting party, he and Jack getting right in each other’s faces and arguing loudly in Galactic Standard. Jack had pointed out that the aliens had no jurisdiction on earth, while his counterpart insisted that the blood oath he and his crew had taken superseded territorial boundaries. Ianto had been forced to intercede, reminding Jack that it didn’t really matter who got the damned thing as long as it was dealt with, the sooner the better.
“Go through proper channels in future,” Jack had snapped eventually. “In the meantime, we’ll keep out of your way, but my team and I are staying until we’re sure you’ve dealt with the problem, and if you fail to do so within an acceptable timeframe, we reserve the right to take over and finish the job. Understood? I’m not going to allow the people of this world to be put at risk for the sake of your pride.”
The alien huntsman had grudgingly agreed, and Jack had spoken to the rest of the team, telling them to spread out and observe, but to take no action unless their lives were in danger.
“Anything happens to my team, I’ll hold you personally responsible,” Jack told the alien captain.
Everyone had gone their separate ways, keeping a wary eye out for the Devil Worm, which could be anywhere. Ianto had been heading for a good vantage point on the dunes when events had conspired against him, and now he was an accidental prisoner aboard the hunters’ ship. It seemed he’d inadvertently stumbled into the trap they’d set for the worm, which they’d failed to mention, and been beamed aboard their ship, which might not have been quite so much of a problem if said ship had actually been on earth instead of still in orbit.
Unfortunately, despite all Tosh’s innovations, Torchwood’s comm. devices simply weren’t designed to send signals over that kind of distance, so he couldn’t even let his friends know what had happened to him or call for help. He was cut off, isolated, alone, and locked in the small chamber his captors had presumably intended to teleport the Worm into. Which could still happen, in which case he might soon be locked in with something that could immobilise him quicker than he could blink, and he didn’t like the idea of becoming food for a hungry alien centipede. He was nobody’s dinner; human cannibals looking to snack on him had been quite bad enough, thank you! He still had nightmares about that.
All in all, it wasn’t turning out to be one of his better days, but at least he still had his weapons. Of course, shooting at the Worm, if like him it blundered into the trap and got captured, would be as likely to punch a hole through one of the walls, which wouldn’t be a great idea. He had no way of knowing whether he’d be puncturing an inner bulkhead wall or the ship’s outer hull, with nothing but hard vacuum beyond. It wasn’t a risk he was especially eager to take.
He tried hammering on what seemed to be the door of the chamber, yelling as loudly as he could manage, but he couldn’t be sure if any of the aliens were even still aboard; for all he knew, the entire crew could be down on the beach while their ship was on autopilot. Neither did he know the size of their vessel, although considering the number of crewmembers it was home to, it had to be pretty big. It was a safe bet that even if someone was still around, they were probably too far away to hear him. He felt more alone than he had in a long time.
This wasn’t the way the evening was supposed to go. He and Jack were meant to be on a date tonight; a nice meal together at one of Cardiff’s best restaurants, a movie at the multiplex, then back to Ianto’s flat for a nightcap, and entertainment of a more adult nature. Their relationship had been going so well recently, and now it looked like it would be brought to a premature end, all because of one clumsy misstep. What if Jack never found out what happened to him? How long would he search before giving up and accepting that Ianto was gone for good? That was another thing he really wasn’t eager to contemplate, so he put it firmly out of his mind, telling himself it wouldn’t come to that. He’d been in worse scrapes and survived with all his parts intact.
Looking around the small room, Ianto wondered what he should do next. It was only about four metres square, and he’d already explored it thoroughly without finding much of anything. No one had responded to his banging and shouting, so the only sensible course of action was to do nothing; sit down, try to relax, and conserve his strength. At least the atmosphere was breathable, and small vents in the walls meant he wasn’t going to suffocate from lack of oxygen anytime soon.
He didn’t know how long he’d been sitting there with his back against the wall when a shimmering glow lit up the air in the middle of the chamber, looking much like what he’d seen just before he was snatched from the beach and transported up here. Instantly, he was on his feet, gun aimed, ready to empty the full clip into the Devil Worm; even if he missed and put a hole in the ship, being sucked out into space would be a quicker and altogether more pleasant way of dying than being paralysed and eaten alive by an alien centipede.
It was a miracle that Ianto managed to avoid pulling the trigger the instant the shimmer of the teleport beam faded and the transportee appeared; killing your date tends to be a bad move, even if he wasn’t likely to stay dead for long.
“Hi there! I was wondering where you’d got to!” Jack said, calmly getting to his feet and dusting himself off.
Ianto lowered his gun. “Great,” he sighed gloomily. “Not that I’m not pleased to see you, because I am, it’s just that now we’re both trapped, and when they do manage to catch the Devil Worm, which I’m sure they will eventually, this room’s going to get a bit crowded.” His shoulders slumped as if he had the weight of the world resting on them. Or maybe it was just that the gravity aboard ship was a bit stronger than he was used to.
“Hey, don’t look so worried!” Jack grinned that wide, familiar grin. “I’m here now, and everything’s going to be fine, I promise. We’re in this together, wherever this is, and we’ll get out of it the same way, just like we always do!”
Jack’s statement failed to generate any optimism whatsoever in Ianto. “Right, that would be a good trick. We’re locked in a tiny room, with only one door and no way of opening it, aboard a spaceship of unknown size, somewhere in orbit around earth. Exactly how do you propose we get out of here and back to terra firma?”
Jack flipped open his VM. “With this, of course.”
Ianto remained singularly unimpressed with Jack’s plan. “That doesn’t work, you told me so yourself.”
“Not as a teleport in its own right, but I can use it to operate the ship’s teleport, reverse the beam and send us back to the coordinates we came from. It’s pretty straightforward really.” He winked at Ianto. “Just put your arms around me and hold on tight.”
Rolling his eyes, Ianto did as instructed. “This had better work, or I might have to cancel our date.”
“Perish the thought!” Jack punched a series of buttons. “That should do it.” Together they shimmered and faded out, reappearing moments later back on the beach. Without letting go of Jack, Ianto looked around, seeing sand, grass-topped dunes, and the night sky, all looking more or less the same as they had before his unplanned trip. Behind him, he could hear the soft hiss of surf against the shore.
“Well, this is an improvement.”
“But that’s not!” Jack lunged to one side, dragging Ianto with him, and they fell heavily to the ground as the Devil Worm skittered past them. Ianto had a distinct feeling of déjà vu, although last time it had been a Pteranodon.
Huh, apparently the hissing sound hadn’t been the surf after all, but rather thousands of little legs scuttling across the sand. With some difficulty because of having a certain someone pinning him down, Ianto managed to lift his head off the ground, craning his neck to see past Jack’s shoulder and get his first look at the Devil Worm. Damn, that thing was bigger than he’d been expecting! On top of him, Jack was punching desperately at the buttons on his wrist strap as the Worm skidded into a sharp turn, kicking up a spray of sand, and started towards them again. Glancing back over his shoulder, Jack waited until the Worm was less that a metre from his foot before hitting one last button; the creature froze in place, started to shimmer, and then abruptly blinked out of existence.
Ianto let his head drop back onto the sand. “You know, our alien visitors aren’t going to be too happy about that. They did say they didn’t want us interfering in their hunt,” Ianto reminded Jack.
“I didn’t.” Jack looked innocently down at his lover. “I just restored their teleport to its previous settings; it’s hardly my fault the Worm was right in the target area at the time.”
“Of course it wasn’t.” Ianto was the master of keeping a straight face in almost any situation.
“Besides, they’re the ones who set the trap to catch the beastie anyway, so they can hardly complain that it worked.”
Ianto considered that. “I suppose you’re right.” He shoved Jack off him and scrambled to his feet, brushing sand off his suit. “Well, now that’s sorted, perhaps we can all go home. I need to change before dinner, I don’t think the maitre d’ will approve if I shed sand all over his restaurant. If we hurry, we should just have time to freshen up before our reservation.”
Jack got up too, looking at Ianto questioningly. “So our date’s still on?”
“Unless you’ve changed your mind.”
“Never, I just thought after all this, and what you said just before we teleported off the spaceship, that you might have. I mean, we’ve spent every night this week together, been at work together all day every day, and now this… adventure. I wouldn’t blame you if you were tired of my company and wanted some time to yourself.”
“That’s what I have the archives for,” Ianto said with smirk. “Being on my own is boring. Despite the weird situations you’re forever getting me into, and out of, for some reason I still much prefer being with you.”
“Good to know. For what it’s worth, I prefer being with you too, and most of the weird situations aren’t intentional, they’re just…”
“Yep, that about sums it up. It’s not just a job, it’s a way of life and I can’t separate myself from it. Torchwood and I, well, we’re a package deal.”
“That’s okay, I can’t say I didn’t know what I was getting myself into with you.” Taking Jack’s hand, Ianto led him back along the beach towards the SUV, where the rest of the team would probably already be waiting. “Like you said back on the spaceship, we’re in this thing together, and that’s just fine with me.”