Word Count: 2066
Warning/Spoilers: Vague spoilers for the whole series.
A/N: Thanks to maverick0324 and reddaisy_cecily for betaing. Utterly and completely inspired by the lovely Jack is Back by clarity_lore.
Summary: An alien attack, a new stalker for Jack and an assault on a vital employee leaves the Torchwood team with a fresh set of problems – especially when Ianto begins to develop a taste for human blood.
For so many years now, we hide in the darkness and watch. And want.
He shines. Every inch of him glows with energy, with the life that we need – that we'll take. The world owes us this.
Years. So many years of hunger and need.
We gather. We draw our numbers to this place, to this empty spot on Earth. Cardiff; it shines with artificial light and runs with the blood of whores. We don't need that - we won't settle for it.
His group of followers are nothing, are worthless. We'll use them if we need to.
Licking our lips, we watch his vehicle approach and we listen to the rumble of his voice.
We watch. We wait.
But not for much longer.
Ianto calmly parked the SUV at the side of the road and glanced out to the auction house to their left. Nothing out of the ordinary about it – well, nothing that he could gather. A brief background check into the building had revealed no questionable incidents in its past, before now.
However, Torchwood had heard reports of odd sounds coming from it at night, and of a 'supernatural glow' shining from the windows. Considering that it had been closed and boarded up since long before WWII, Jack had decided that it was worthy of investigation.
"Is this it, then?" Gwen asked from where she was sitting in the back of the car. She leaned over to look out the window,
Jack and Ianto both glanced back at her, but Jack answered. "Looks like. It also looks empty."
"So did that Ritz place you went to with Tosh," Gwen pointed out, with a frown. She looked like she was having second thoughts about entering – Ianto could hardly blame her. Although it had been months since that event, it still wasn't a subject he wanted to dwell on; in just a few hours he'd managed to lose Jack three times: once to the past, once to death, once to the Doctor.
That was over now, he reminded himself as often as possible. That was over.
Jack grinned though – the mention of his trip back to the 40s was apparently a pleasing one. "Yep. Don't worry, Gwen. You can stay here with Ianto, if you want," he said, before glancing to him. "We'll probably only be two seconds."
Ianto nodded even though he knew that, seeing as this was Jack, they'd probably end up spending hours in there. "I know." He smiled back at Jack, unable to do anything else when he was faced with that grin.
And when Jack kissed him, short and rushed, he wasn't able to do anything but give a lovesick sigh. Sometimes he really hated himself; he was surprised that Jack put up with anyone as soppy as he was quickly becoming.
"Wish us luck?" Gwen asked hopefully as she got out of the car.
Ianto glanced back at her again. "You won't need it, Gwen. It's probably just a few kids in there, messing around." He knew that he'd been known to do such things as a teenager, but his long and involved tale of teenage rebellion was a secret he was determined to take to his grave.
Gwen smiled hopefully at him, and then left the car with Jack. Ianto watched them wandering up the grey concrete steps and into the abandoned building - to get past the lock, Jack waved his latest toy at it. He'd had it since he came back from his 'travels'. Screwdriver, he called it; all Ianto knew was that it was nothing like any screwdriver he'd ever seen.
Once they were inside, Ianto glanced across the road to the corner shop, to the newspapers blaring headlines at him. "Tosh?" he asked, placing one hand on the headset by his ear. A second later and he had a distracted reply rushing to him. "The Times or The Guardian?" They liked to share the crossword at lunch. Ianto took a quiet pleasure in being better at it than she was – but she always managed to win back her lost glory when they moved onto the Sudoku puzzles.
"Oh." There was a slight pause as she thought about it. "The Times. I feel like a challenge today."
"Don't get cocky, Tosh. I'll beat you one of these days," Ianto said as he stepped from the car. Sometimes back home, he found himself talking to midair as he forgot he'd left his headset at work. Jack would always make fun of him when that happened.
"If you say so," Tosh said smugly as he closed the car door behind him and started to head across the road. Smiling and frowning at the same time, Ianto decided he was going to get Jack to start helping him train.
The air in the auction house wasn't what you'd expect from a place that had supposedly been locked up for years. Dust didn't swirl and settle in your lungs, cloaking and smothering everything in its path. Instead, it felt alive. Jack could feel that the second he walked through the door – the sense that there was something here, something living, something hiding in the darkness. The building hummed with repressed energy.
Beside him, his colleague gave a small shiver. "I don't think I like this place," Gwen said in a whisper.
Jack shrugged, and took a confident stride over the wooden floorboards. He turned in a circle, arms open wide, and he knew that he looked a lot more comfortable than he felt. "Don't worry, Gwen. There's nothing here but ghosts." Actually, he reasoned as they delved deeper into the broad hallway, considering their profession that possibly wasn't as far-fetched as you'd think.
"Very funny, Jack." She rolled her eyes at him, but made sure to keep close. "You know what I meant."
Jack nodded, as he ran a hand over an ancient-seeming table; no dust. Ianto would be pleased. "Yeah, I know. Something doesn't feel right."
"Which is why we're here."
"Investigating an old auction house that even Ianto says is empty?"
Gwen sighed and seemed to give up asking, which Jack was glad for. She could be extremely persistent when she set her mind to it; when it was directed at other people, he adored the trait. When it was focused on him, it made him want to run and hide.
The girl could be pretty damn terrifying sometimes – just like Rose.
They floated apart, even though from the looks of things it was just one large room; more of a warehouse than anything else. Jack could see the past so clearly, though. The bidding wars, the antique clothes, the impressive moustaches that must've graced this floor.
There was nothing now, though. Just an empty room and a creepy atmosphere. With a broad space like this and doors easily opened, the auction house would be a magnet for anyone looking for a place to spend the night. It didn't look like it had any security.
"Excuse me? What're you doing in here?"
Jack grimaced inside as he heard a strange voice from behind him. He'd obviously thought too soon about the lack of security.
Across the street, Ianto was a little too focused on flipping through the paper to notice that a stranger was approaching the auction house – glancing up only to ensure that he didn't get run down on his way back across the road, his attention was soon on the paper, trying to get a head start on Tosh. Perhaps that was cheating.
She'd never know, so it was okay.
His ponderings on 3 down on the crossword was interrupted when he had a call coming in from Tosh. Pressing the button on his headset, he paused with his hand on the car door and a smile on his face. "Yes, Tosh?"
He had the feeling she was bored. Hardly surprising, considering that she was left back at the Hub with a pissed off Owen.
"Me and Owen were wondering if you guys could bring back lunch." Tosh asked hesitantly. Definitely an excuse to have someone other than Owen to talk to.
"Owen's still grouchy?"
He heard a sigh in his ear. "Yeah. Whatever Jack said must've really pissed him off."
"He'll get over it." Ianto replied, but he vowed to ask Jack exactly what the pair had been talking about and if it was anything significant. Probably not, probably just Owen being difficult again, but it paid to be careful.
"I hope so. He's been acting off ever since Jack came back. It doesn't make sense."
"He's just defensive." Ianto shrugged, even though she couldn't see him. He couldn't find himself too concerned with Owen's mental state; despite his brief descent into madness with the weevils, Owen was a survivor through and through. "After all, he tried to kill Jack."
"Jack's forgiven him for that, though."
"That doesn't mean he's forgiven himself." Ianto said, his words heavy. He knew that burden all too well; Jack handed out his forgiveness as freely as his smiles. It became hard to take. He sighed before he could focus on that line of thought, and opened the door. However, the movement paused when he frowned and finally noticed that there was someone stalking up the steps in front of the auction house. "Tosh? I'll have to—"
His words cut off as someone grabbed him from behind; as a hand on the back of his head slammed his face onto the roof of the SUV. Ianto's forehead hit the hard metal with a dull clunk, pain instantly sparking through his body.
Through his earpiece, he could hear Tosh asking what was wrong, what was happening, what was going on, but her voice disappeared when the hand grabbed the headset and chucked it to the ground.
His head was slammed against the car again, leaving the world spinning uncomfortably around him. On the ground, the earpiece still squeaked and hissed with Tosh's voice before going dead.
He hissed with pain as his arm was yanked behind his back at an awkward angle, until he was absolutely certain that it was going to break – how would he be able to file with a broken arm?
The extra pressure wasn't applied to break it, but he was held in that position so that he couldn't move, couldn't squirm away without collapsing in pain. His still-unseen attacker managed to hold him in that position easily, using just one hand, and it wasn't long before Ianto had a fresh pain to cry out from: the quick and efficient cut on his bicep, a sharp knife slicing right through his shirt and skin.
It took just a split second for Jack to turn around to see the middle-aged woman standing in the doorway. Her face was pinched and stern, but he smiled anyway and reached for his badge – making sure just to flash it for a split second. No need to get anyone to ask what 'Torchwood' was exactly; the answer was fuzzy, even to himself.
"I'm Captain Jack Harkness; my colleague and I are investigating into some reports made about the building." Her face didn't soften with the words and it was hard to keep up his optimistic appearance in the face of that much misery, but he stepped forward to shake her hand anyway. Her hand felt like she'd just dipped it in ice.
"It's just vandals." she muttered, unhappy still with their presence.
Brimming with her ever-present concern and curiosity, Gwen stepped forward with her friendliest smile at the ready. "I know; that's what we've been thinking. Still, it doesn't hurt to check it out, does it?"
"Bloody waste of police time."
Jack didn't bother to contradict her, instead becoming distracted when his headset demanded his attention. A simple press of a button and he'd answered the call. "Yeah?"
He wasn't sure what he'd been expecting: Ianto calling to say he was bored, Owen calling to demand food, or Tosh to say she'd finished her reports. Something bland. Something neutral.
Instead, Tosh's stressed voice flooded into his ear. "Jack? It's Ianto – something's happened to him, I don't know what. I think he's hurt."
That was all he had to hear before he was drawing his gun and heading for the door: rushing to the rescue.