Howling in the Rain

"Gwen, leave him be," Owen hissed as he and Toshiko helped the woman to her feet and pushed her towards the SUV. It was pouring with rain, he was soaked to the skin and all he wanted to do was go back to the Hub and drown in an enormous vat of Ianto's coffee.

"No! I can't leave him when he's like this!" Gwen stubbornly insisted. Her hair was plastered to her head and water ran in rivulets down her face.

Behind them in the alleyway, two men were on the ground, one holding the other against his chest. Tears poured down, mingling with the falling rain.

Tosh beeped the remote, unlocking the vehicle's doors. "I'm leaving. Do you want a ride or are you going to stay here?" She was uncharacteristically cold and uncaring at that moment.

"I'm going to him," Gwen managed two steps back before Tosh and Owen each grabbed an arm and forcibly dragged her to the SUV.

"There is nothing you can do for Jack right now, Gwen!" Tosh's voice was harsh as she pulled on her team-mate's arm.

"No! I'm staying!" Gwen struggled to get free. "He needs me!"

Owen's grip on her was unbreakable as he yanked open the SUV's back door and physically shoved her into the seat. He climbed in behind her, still holding on to her so she couldn't exit through the other door.

Slamming the driver's door behind her, Tosh twisted the key in the ignition and the SUV surged to life. "Get over yourself, Gwen! They don't want you there, and they certainly don't need you."

As they pulled away from the kerb, the sound of Jack's heart-broken screams of pain and loss could clearly be heard over the sounds of the engine and the storm. Twisting in her seat, Gwen looked out through the rear window, taking one last look at Jack cradling Ianto's lifeless body in his arms as he threw his head back and howled in the dark.

The rain had stopped and there were a few tiny breaks in the clouds allowing shafts of moonlight to peek through. As Jack clung to Ianto's body, a stray beam of light fell onto the young Welshman's face, illuminating the tranquillity there. As Jack gazed down at him, he realised that Ianto had never looked so innocent or so peaceful. He reached up and stroked his hand along the side of his cheek, feeling the coldness of his lover's skin seep into his fingers.

"I'm so sorry, Ianto," Jack whispered as he traced the shape of Ianto's mouth; his mind immediately went to their last kiss, just hours before. They'd been at Ianto's flat, washing up after another of Ianto's home-cooked meals while waiting for the coffee to finish brewing. The last thing they wanted was to have a Weevil alert come through, especially when it was dark, cold and wet.

However, it had been raining since early morning and apparently, the sewers were flooding the Weevils out into the streets; the inevitable alert showed several Weevils on the Plass. After texting the rest of the team to meet at the Hub, Jack and Ianto had no choice but to respond.

It wasn't surprising that after years of encounters with Torchwood personnel, their handcuffs and knockout spray, their black hoods and cells where the highly communal creatures were separated from one another, many of Cardiff's Weevil population abruptly chose to brave the water-logged sewers rather than stay and fight when they saw the imposing SUV some skidding to a halt. In the end, there were only a few Weevils left for the team to deal with.

Owen, Toshiko and Gwen were able to easily subdue three of the alien creatures. Having spent hundreds of hours studying Janet, Owen said that the trio were juveniles, which made their capture an easy task. They were quickly stowed in the SUV's spacious boot and then the team drove on in search of further quarry.

Meanwhile, Jack and Ianto were in pursuit of the remaining two Weevils. The first was surprisingly easy to catch; the alleyway it went running down was a dead-end. It was trapped with nowhere to go. Working in unison, the men were able to quickly render it unconscious, cuff it and slide a hood over its head. Thanks to the relentless rain, they knew that there wouldn't be any foot traffic passing to see its prone figure, and they left it lying in the shadows as they ran out to the main thoroughfare in search of their final prey.

The remaining Weevil was simple to find – they just followed a scream of terror and the crashing and banging of a garbage bin being tossed about. It only took them a moment to find the correct alleyway but whoever the screamer was, they'd already vanished behind one of the four doors that shared the bin space behind the shops. Ianto knew it would be impossible to find them and administer Retcon, but he hoped that given the driving rain the witness would never know for sure what they had seen and they would blame their fright on some drunk stumbling around in the dark.

The Weevil however was still in plain sight – a very large, very angry bull who rose to its full and impressive height as it roared a challenge the moment Jack and Ianto caught its eye.

Undaunted by the primal display of animalistic behaviour, the men advanced into the alley, Ianto armed with a large spray canister of Owen's latest improved batch of Weevil sedative and Jack with his Webley in hand, just in case.

It only took a second, one single split second for it all to go so horribly wrong.

A deafening crash of thunder directly overhead along with a nearly simultaneous bolt of lightning striking the very garbage tip the creature had been foraging in sent the suddenly terrified alien surging forward. Without missing a beat, the Weevil swiped one mighty paw at Ianto, ripping through his throat as it continued on toward Jack. It was determined to go through the only remaining obstacle left in its hell-bend flight back to the relative safety of the sewers.

Jack didn't hesitate. As the Weevil charged him the immortal raised his revolver and fired three shots, each round finding its target right between the creature's eyes. It was dead before it hit the ground.

Pay no attention to the fallen Weevil, Jack rushed to Ianto, catching the younger man in his arms just as his knees buckled and he lost the strength to stand. As the men collapsed to the rain-soaked ground, Jack pressed his hand over Ianto's, trying desperately to stop the blood flowing so freely and so profusely from the wound.

"OWEN!" Jack screamed, knowing deep down that it was an exercise in futility. "Owen, help me!"

It only took a minute for the medic to arrive on the scene, but it was a minute too late.

Running as fast as he could Owen hurtled around the corner and into the alley, dropping to his knees next to his fallen team-mates. He shoved Jack's hand out of the way – Ianto's had already fallen away. He knew what he wouldn't find but he pressed his fingers to Ianto's pulse point anyway, praying to everything he'd lost faith in that he'd be wrong.

"Jack, I'm sorry." Sitting back on his heels, Owen shook his head. "He's gone. There's nothing I can do."

Jack's eyes overflowed with tears. "I need… please, Owen…?" His voice was filled with disbelief. "But… he didn't say good-bye!"

Before the medic could reply, Toshiko stepped up and spoke softly. "Jack, let's get Ianto out of the rain, okay?"

For a moment, it looked as though Jack would comply, his concern for the comfort of his beloved Welshman overriding his grief. He looked down and brushed the wet fringe from Ianto's brow before stroking a thumb across his lips.

"Ianto?" he whispered. "Can you hear me?" He pushed his hand onto Ianto's chest, trying to feel his heartbeat. "Are you there? I need to hear those beautiful Welsh vow…"

Gwen pushed her way to Jack's side and put a hand on his shoulder. "Come on, Jack," she interrupted him. "He's gone, just leave him." She grabbed his elbow and tried to pull him away.

"Get off me!" Jack gave a violent shove and pushed her away, not caring that she fell back and hit her head on the concrete wall.

Without letting go of Ianto's body, Jack seized a fistful of Owen's shirt. "You bring him back, you bastard!" His voice broke and he released the doctor just as suddenly as he'd grabbed him.

"Owen, please, I'm begging you. I need him… I can't do this without Ianto beside me." He broke into ragged sobs as he gathered Ianto into his arms once more. "Ianto, please… I love you…"

end