Title: Torchwood Hallowe'enChapter:
Janto Team!ficAuthor: a_silver_story Genre
Erm ... hopefully it's scary. Minor gore. Disclaimer:
If I owned anything in this, I'd be a rich rich rich bitch. However, I am not a rich rich rich bitch so you may all, therefore, assume I own nothing. Which I don't. It all belongs RTD and the BBC, in case any of you didn't know.Summary:
Ianto decides to do the decade-ly inventory of the Archives - with rather scary results (and I'm not talking about bad organisation skills). Slight crossover with Doctor Who S3.Note #1: This story was written the October before 'The Time of Angels' and 'Flesh and Stone' aired, so please don't message me regarding any inconsistencies with canon you may find.Note #2: I've deleted the original version of this from LJ, and am posting this corrected version one chapter at a time, one day at a time.
"Well, that was ... innovative ..." panted Jack, lying on his back across the desk, waiting for his senses to return.
"Yeah ..." Ianto gasped in reply, slumping down into the chair.
Around them were rails and rails full of clothes from all sorts of periods of history, and others from the future. They were too zoned out to remember which of the large heap of costumes they'd eventually settled on before ripping them off, and they didn't really care any more.
"Whatimeisit?" mumbled Jack, turning on his side and knocking even more papers and pens off the table.
"Do you think the others will still be here?" he asked, giving a suggestive grin.
"Tosh and Owen maybe," yawned Ianto. "Gwen will have gone home to Rhys. Their night in, remember? We need to get dressed. I'm cold."
They managed to find their original clothes, chatting and laughing as they made their way back up to the main area of the hub. Toshiko was still sat at her workstation, and Owen was cheerily dissecting a strange-looking eight-legged cow with one eye. Gwen had left some little Hallowe'en sweets for them all (apart from Owen. He just got a post-it note, but it was the thought that counted,) on her desk, and a little pumpkin-shaped lantern that gave off dull glow.
Tosh smirked at Jack and Ianto's ruffled state, but said nothing, carrying on with whatever she was doing. Owen rolled his eyes behind their backs, then jumped back in surprise when one of the eight-legged cow's over-impacted intestines decided to combust under his scalpel.
"Bit late for you guys, isn't it?" asked Jack, making his way to his office while Ianto headed for the coffee machine.
"Can't stand Trick or Treat'ers," explained Owen.
"Really, really need to get this done ..." sighed Toshiko, fingers still flying over her keyboard.
Jack shrugged and sat down in his office, smiling as Ianto brought him a mug of coffee before heading off to give Toshiko hers. Ianto put his tray back, then made his way upstairs to his Tourist Office to close it up properly for the night – he'd meant to do it earlier but got ... distracted. He hesitated before shutting down his computer, then decided to make the most of the fact it was powered on, logged in and opened up his Archive catalogue program.
Typing in 'Angel statues' and the Archive level he'd found them, he sat back and waited for the results. He scanned the page that came up, then nearly spat his coffee out in shock. He re-read it again, hit 'Print', shut down the computer, locked the doors and practically ran back down to the main Hub.
Jack listened carefully, scanned the printout and regarded Ianto with an unfathomable expression.
"... and you switched the light off?"
"How was I supposed to know?" He put his head in his hands, scratching his fingers through his hair and making it stick out. "You'd think they'd put some kind of ... back up, in case someone did – wait! The insects!"
"In the walls there were tanks full of insects. It says there that 'Quantum Locked' means they can only move if a living thing can see them. In the walls they bred colonies of nocturnal insects – even if the light went off, a living thing could see them, even if they can't see each other any more."
"So ... we're fine then?" Jack breathed a sigh of relief.
"Yeah ... except ... I ... I don't feel fine. And ... the tanks were very ... still."
"There's a chance the creepy-crawlies were all dead?"
Ianto put his head in his hands again. "I'm sorry Jack ..."
"We'll talk about this later. Right now ... We have other priorities right now. Like getting whatever was in that room back in it." Jack stood and walked past him without making eye contact, calling Tosh and Owen and telling them to get down to the boardroom ASAP for an emergency meeting.
"Okay ..." Jack began, "So these things are what's called 'Quantum Locked'. It's the perfect defence mechanism: as soon as any living thing sees them, they freeze, turning to solid stone. That's why they cover their faces – they're not weeping, their hiding their eyes because they can't even look at each other. Whoever locked them down in the Archives put them in a faceted mirrored room – no matter where they looked, they'd either see each other or themselves. They bred insect colonies down there too: if the lights went out, something could still see them. But the colonies died – the lights were never switched off, night never came, the insects got all messed up and they all died."
"What do these creatures do?" Toshiko asked in a timid voice.
"They're complicated," Ianto explained. "They're creatures of the abstract. According to our records, they feed on potential energy. One touch, and ... and they absorb the life you could have had by sending you into the past. You live yourself to death in a by-gone era, all your potential ... sapped."
"There's another thing," added Jack, "They're quick. They're much quicker than humans could possibly perceive. You come across one, and you can't take your eyes of it. Not for a moment: not even for a second. You can't look away; you can't even blink. Blink ... and that's it. It's got you. One blink is enough time for it to move in and touch you, and you're dead."
"So when genius here –" Owen said and indicated Ianto, who bit his lip but resolutely did not break eye contact, "– switched the light off in an attempt to save the planet, he actually did a helluva lot worse."
"Well, if Jack hadn't buggered off and left me on my own ..." Ianto muttered.
"Blaming doesn't matter right now," cut in Toshiko. "Should we call Gwen?"
Jack bit his lip. "I think we should have a last defence on the outside. Just in case. Right now we need to lock down the hub so that the Angels can't get to the outside – Ianto, is there any way of doing that without losing all the lights?"
"Yep, but we'll have to re-set the lockdown every three hours."
"Go and do that now. Toshiko –"
"– see if you can formulate some form of strategy. Remember: light in room goes on, light in the tunnel goes off, according to what Ianto saw. Owen?"
"Find one, shove a mirror in front of it, take a sample of the stone and try to figure out their biological make-up, searching for any weaknesses to common human illness, acids, alkalis, plant life: yadda yadda yadda ..."
"Excellent. I'll go and get my huge weapon."
"You always get to do the fun stuff ..." grumbled Owen as he got up to leave. An alarm sounded as their semi-lockdown activated, and the lights flickered for a second before settling on full brightness. "Does he get fired for this?" Owen pondered aloud.
"Depends if anyone gets hurt." Jack replied.
"Ow! I think I just burned my tongue on his coffee!"
Jack rolled his eyes. "Get out, Owen."
Owen shrugged. "Worth a try."
Ianto still had his head in his hands, sat in his small work area and wishing everything was just over.
"Doing an impression?" Jack's voice asked, closer than Ianto would have thought. He jumped, raising his head and frowned. He then realised he'd been covering his eyes in a very similar fashion to the statues, and shuddered at Jack's joke.
"I'm ... I'm really sorry ..." he murmured.
Jack sighed. "It's okay, Ianto. It'll be ... difficult ... but we'll find them. In fact – get on to Gwen's workstation, and track Owen and me on the CCTV. He's going down into the tunnels with a wheelie mirror to try and get a sample, and then I'm going to blast the bejesus out of it with my big gun."
Ianto nodded glumly. "Yessir."
"Oo! Actually ... Help get my massive weapon primed first."
Ianto rolled his eyes. "There's only so many times that's actually funny, Jack."
"Let me know when I hit that mark," he winked. "Now c'mon – Stop feeling sorry for yourself. You can be all emo receptionist when you're on your own time …"
"Okay ... ready Ianto?"
"I've got your heat signals. Patching them through to Ianto, just in case ..."
"Got them, Tosh."
"Good. I'll get back to work on the strategy ... Good luck."
"Thanks, Tosh," they chorused.
Jack and Owen went carefully, Owen pulling the mirror on wheels that Ianto had quickly knocked together behind them, Jack nursing the gun strapped over his shoulder.
"We'll stick together," Jack had decided, "take it in turns to blink if anything unthinkable should happen ..."
"I don't need to blink," Owen reminded him.
They walked on in silence, until Ianto's voice sailed over their ear pieces. "There's a bit of poltergeist activity three doors down from where you are now, left hand side. I spent ages organising that room ..." he grumbled.
"Anything dangerous in there?" asked Jack.
"Not unless you have a fear of dead trees or paper cuts."
"Or creatures that move so fast, you blink and you're dead," muttered Owen.
"You're already dead," Jack reminded him.
"Shut up. You get my point," Owen snapped, and hesitated outside the door Ianto had indicated. Listening carefully, they could hear the movement inside as boxes were thrown around and shelves pulled down. "What's it doing?" Owen whispered, mainly to himself.
Ianto answered him first. "I'd say … it's looking for something."
"You sure?" frowned Jack.
"Each box appears to be rifled through then tossed aside. There's a similar case about four floors down. It's ... creepy to watch."
They could practically hear Ianto's shudder, and glanced at each other. Owen put his hand on the door handle, nodded his head three times in a silent count, and wrenched it open.
"Shit!" he exclaimed, as he and Jack saw the mess inside and the sheer size of the Weeping Angel stood solemnly in the corner. "Bugger. It's covering its eyes, Ianto."
"I ... I can see it now. Now that it's stone, I can see it," Ianto's voice crackled over the intercom. "Hang on! It's ... that thing ... covering its eyes ... that's so that it won't be able to see another of its kind, right?"
"Yeah ..." Jack urged.
"I can only find two of them!"
She was ten feet down the hall, hands together and palms up, lowered from her face. Her eyes were vacant and staring, blank and Grecian. He could feel her gaze going through him, and he glared back at her, defiantly refusing to blink.
"Don't blink, Owen," he ordered, Owen still keeping his dead eyes on the Angel in the room.
"I ... I'm having an issue ..." Owen murmured.
"Why aren't you staring at the other Angel?" Jack demanded.
"It only turns to stone if a living thing can see it. I'm dead, Jack. I've put the mirror in the doorway ... Just blow the bejesus out of that thing like you promised, already!"
Jack cocked the gun, listen to it warm and fired with a massive boom of satisfaction, careful not to blink and lose his target. He lowered the gun, the fragments of stone scattered all down the corridor, and finally let his stinging eyes blink.
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