Jack Harkness was glad for small miracles. After Ianto had let the Torchwood pet pterodactyl go missing, it was Jack's responsibility to get it back. At least, he thought, surveying Cardiff from the top of the Wales Millennium Centre, it was dark and a Sunday night, so that those enjoying Brains would be in their flats and houses rather than on the streets. Someone might chance to look up and see a stray wing against the grey clouds, but hopefully they'd shake their heads and move on without saying a word.
"Ah, there she is," said Jack, putting down his binoculars and climbing down to find the lift. No need to even jump into the SUV; the pterodactyl hadn't strayed far. By his calculation, she was down by Mermaid Quay, directly over the American diner opposite Coffee Mania. It was late enough (or early enough, depending on how you looked at it) that the diner would be shut down. This should be quick and simple.
"Ianto, you naughty boy," Jack said into his ear-piece as he arrived in Roald Dahl Plas from the interior of the Torchwood Hub. He ran across toward the Bay, the moonlight glinting on the Norwegian Church and the string of fairy lights on the fencing. "Do you know how many spankins you're going to be getting because of this?"
Jack wasn't totally surprised that Ianto hadn't responded; he was off on his own in the cell block of the Torchwood facility and would likely be using this as an excuse to refuse to communicate. Ianto liked his sulks. Jack abandoned trying to taunt Ianto over his ear-piece and moved into the shadows separating the American diner from the building beside it. He looked up and could see the nervously shifting pterodactyl on top of the building, trying to nab seagulls as they flew by. "Shhh," he said softly, beckoning it. "Just . . . stay there . . ."
Jack took one step to his left, and suddenly he was falling. He knew this wasn't possible since he had just been standing on solid pavement without a hint of a crack or uneven surface. Then again, he thought, maybe he'd gotten swept up into the Rift without noticing. His instruments would have gone off? He tapped uselessly at his wrist communicator as he kept falling downward. Into the rabbit hole? he asked himself. He landed with a thud, still in the dark, metaphorically and literally.
He flicked on his torch and shone it. He realized as soon as he brushed himself off and began to move cautiously in the space that it was vaulted and huge, the size of an underground cathedral or the Torchwood Hub itself. "What the hell . . .?" asked Jack, rubbing the back of his neck. He removed his gun from its holster and held it up just behind the ray of his torch. He scented the air for Weevils; he was definitely not in a mood to encounter them. He stepped around a corner, seeing what looked like an enormous plasma computer screen glowing neutrally. His footsteps sounded hollow, and there was a shiver in the air, like something was flying around, disturbing the atmosphere. The pterodactyl? Or another alien menace?
He heard the swish of the cape a second before the bulky yet lithe figure descended on him, knocking his gun across the room. Jack didn't take the full impact of the body-slam as he reacted a few tics before the body in a skin-tight black suit fell, but he was knocked over. Jack didn't have a chance to toss off his bulky WWII coat but neither had the figure—as tall as Jack and wearing some kind of resistant body armor—abandoned its cloak. The punches came fast and heavy—a trained fighter. A gymnast. An athlete. Smart, swift, brutal. Jack was feinting as many punches as he was doling out. His kicks weren't much good against the legs in the black lycra-like material: they rebounded back on him. Diving and rolling toward his gun didn't do much good either, as the attacker in black caught up every time.
Yet the flesh was human underneath the costume, and Jack could just make out a chiselled chin from beneath the half-mask the figure was wearing. Jack was panting, and he could hear his attacker grunting, winded, too. "Enough!" the man roared in a harsh voice. His hands were around Jack's throat and Jack was being lifted bodily into the air against the wall.
"Wait—wait—" he coughed out. "I can explain." He gave an askance look to the figure below him. "Batman?!"
Cue Torchwood Theme