Notes: The full oneshot for #65 from 'Snapshots of Smiles'. Requested by jireland and JANTO-FOREVER.
Disclaimer: I do not own Torchwood and I am not making any profit from this work.
Even Jack didn't know what it was - just that it was somewhere between five and six feet in height, was blue, and had tentacles. And it was probably pissed off, but you only needed to have ears or eyes to notice that.
It had appeared down at the docks, in an explosion that Tosh had decided upon their arrival would be written off as a gas leak and a dockworker's cigarette. She wasn't sure they could pass this off as a dockworker, but then, it was five in the morning and nobody was actually around.
"It's too bloody early," Owen had moaned as they'd jumped from the SUV, and they all agreed. Most of them were only half-dressed - Ianto and Gwen, locals used to the climate beyond all reason, both only wore tops and trousers and shoes. Owen had conceded that it was too chilly for that, wearing a jacket, but his attire was still mostly just jeans and a t-shirt.
"Come on," Jack said, trying to cheer them up. "Get this over quickly and maybe we can break the bank for a team breakfast somewhere other than the conference room."
It wasn't to be. That morning, everything had gone wrong in a spectaculary rapid fashion. They had cornered it fairly promptly, and the tranqs had seemed to be working...until they had inched in just a little too close. Clearly a distance of three feet and four inches was unacceptable, where three feet and five inches had been just fine.
Two tentacles - thick and powerful and muscular - had lashed out, catching Gwen and Ianto in rapid succession. Gwen was slammed through a wooden crate, yelping as the wood fractured around her and dug splinters through her shirt and into her back and shoulders. Ianto was struck around the head with enough force to make Owen swear, and he collapsed.
Over a railing.
On the docks.
"Fuck!" Owen roared, abandoning the alien and flying to the railing. He peered over the edge for barely a second before he was stripping off his jacket and shoes. Barely ten seconds after Ianto had gone over, Owen vaulted the railing and executed a perfect dive into the frigid bay water.
Jack, simultaneous to Owen's dive, abandoned any idea of taking the alien down peacefully, and outright shot it, his face contorted angrily. Gwen was demanding Tosh to bring the SUV, scrambling out of the crate and staggering over to the railing where Ianto - and, now, Owen - had vanished.
"I can't see them!" she yelled.
Jack checked that the alien wasn't going anywhere, and joined her, eyes wide and face white. The water was black and churning, and Jack knew how cold it would be. It was five o'clock in the morning, barely light enough to count as morning at all, and March. The temperatures in the Bay would be enough to...enough to...
Gwen turned and fled, heading for the stairs that would take her down a level. There was no way, if it had knocked Ianto out, that Owen would be able to get him back up to their level. Jack heard the SUV brake sharply not fifty metres away, and ran for that instead.
"What's happened?!" Tosh demanded, leaping out and popping the boot. "What's going on? Where's Owen? Where's - where's everyone?!"
"Ianto went in," Jack blurted out, throwing open the boot and seizing three of the emergency blankets and Owen's medical kit. "Tosh, see those stairs? Follow Gwen. Take these. I'll sort the alien. Do it!"
Tosh reached Gwen, kneeling on the boards of the walk and staring intently, white-faced, at the stilling water, just as Owen's head broke the surface, the reeling gasp loud in the morning air. His arm was clamping around Ianto's chest, the other man's head rolled back on his shoulder, exposing a long neck that was slick with bay water and streaked blood.
"Oh God," Tosh breathed as Gwen scrabbled for purchase on Ianto's soaked shirt, helping Owen heave him up onto the boards. He was sickeningly limp, and Owen's grim face tightened when he held his fingers for only a moment under Ianto's nose.
"Fuck," he swore. "Tosh. In the kit - there's a BVM..."
"No," Gwen whimpered, her hands going to her mouth as Owen straddled Ianto's hips and positioned the heels of his palms, one over the other, at the point where both sides of Ianto's ribs connected.
Tosh pulled the BVM out, tearing off the plastic bag around it and kneeling beside Ianto's head. Owen had taught her how to use the resuscitating bag many months ago, as he had Ianto, for the simple fact that if any of the team needed it, they would likely require full-on CPR, and he wouldn't be able to do both. Ideally, the BVM itself required two people, but Owen had taught its use with the idea that there would only be one person available.
He was grateful for his foresight now.
"Even breaths," he commanded, beginning to pump hard on Ianto's chest. He felt the ribs creak under the pressure, but there was no response. "I need him to choke. I don't know what he's inhaled. And I haven't...I haven't got the strength to make him bring it up myself..."
He was rambling. Neither Gwen nor Tosh were really likely to understand him. But this was the thing Owen had always, always hated about being a doctor. If Ianto died here...
No, fuck that, he was dead now.
Correction: if he failed to come back, it would be Owen's fault. Owen alone could save him, and though he was putting all his strength into the pounding, driving thumps to Ianto's chest, he wasn't getting any response, and though Ianto's chest rose and fell with the BVM, and Tosh's careful rhythm, Ianto wasn't taking over, wasn't coughing up the water he must have inhaled...
Gwen had fished a cotton pad out of the medical kit and was pressing it to the bleeding gash on Ianto's temple. Owen suspected he'd hit his head on the edge of the boards of the upper level as he'd gone over, because a tentacle shouldn't have split the skin like that.
"Come on, you son of a-!" he gasped, frantically trying to find more energy, just to keep it up a little longer.
They all heard Jack's boots hammering on the boards, and then Jack hit the ground running, skidding along the last few feet on his knees and probably ripping his trousers, but he didn't care. He was paler than either of the girls, paler even than Owen, who'd been in the same icy water as Ianto, and his blue eyes were frightening in the gaunt set of his face.
"No," he hissed, grasping for Ianto's hand and clenching his warm hand around the bluing fingers. "No. Come on, Ianto!"
"He was under for ages, and he's not...he's not..." Gwen stammered, teeth chattering even though she couldn't be that cold.
"He will!" Jack roared, and, as if by some divine command, the still chest under Owen's palms jerked and spasmed.
Ianto choked. Tosh tore the BVM free, and Owen swung himself off Ianto instantly, turning him to the side and thumping his back, encouraging him to keep coughing. There was a decent couple of lungfuls in the water that poured from Ianto's exhausted throat, and the coughs were deep and tearing.
"That's it, okay, calm down, deep breaths..." Owen soothed, snapping out one of the emergency blankets and wrapping it around Ianto tightly. "Tosh, Gwen, get that stuff back up into the SUV and gun the engine. Ianto and I will have to go in the back. You too, Jack?"
He was right, and Jack nodded. He was still pale, but was all business now, covering the first blanket with the second and shrugging his precious coat off to add that to the layers.
"Right, Ianto, you alright?" Owen asked - a little stupidly, in retrospect, but Ianto nodded anyway. He wasn't coughing so hard anymore, and seemed to have brought up all the water possible, but he wasn't shivering when he certainly should be, and his eyes were only half-open at best. "We're going to get you into the SUV now. Jack's going to carry you. That alright?"
"C'n walk..." Ianto managed.
"I don't give a damn if you can walk," Jack said brusquely. "You're not."
He slid his arms beneath Ianto's knee and around his back, lifting him like a child. Ianto's height made that very awkward, and ordinarily, Jack would never have even attempted it. There wasn't enough height difference between himself and Ianto to make it an easy way of carrying someone, but any other way might have restricted Ianto's breathing, which they couldn't afford to do.
As it was, Tosh had brought the SUV as close to the stairs as she could manage, and Owen and Jack bundled Ianto into the backseat and wrapped him in another two blankets. Fine tremors were beginning to thread their way through his body now, and Jack hugged him carefully close as Gwen put the vehicle into gear and set off as fast as was safe.
Owen produced a penlight from his medical kit and examined Ianto's pupils with a frown.
"What's your name?" he demanded.
"The Prince of Wales."
"What's thirteen times four?"
"Who are you shagging?"
"Head injury's not too bad," Owen said. "Can't tell how much it's been bleeding, though, but he's not going to be doing any strenous for a bit. He's concussed, though, so it's a waking-up-every-hour drill. Once I let him sleep."
"Why won't you?" Jack demanded. He was resting his cheek on the top of Ianto's head, as if trying to warm his scalp through the freezing, soaked hair.
"He's mildly hypothermic. He's only just started to shiver. Ianto? Can you feel your toes?"
"And your fingers?"
"Move them," Owen demanded, and Ianto did, flipping him off before tucking his hands back under the blankets and into his armpits. Jack chuckled at the affronted look on Owen's face. "Git."
"He is," Jack agreed.
"Bundle him into the showers - lukewarm one, though, not scalding - when we get back. Thirty minutes under the water, then bring him back up to the autopsy bay for a good prodding," Owen said. "Tosh, when we get back, can you dash round to Costa for a round of hot chocolates? I don't want to give him caffeine."
Tosh squeaked an affirmative as Gwen swung the SUV almost violently into Torchwood's underground carpark, and they piled out.
"Gwen!" Jack called as he hauled Ianto out, once again insisting on carrying him. "Alien in the boot."
They'd almost forgotten.
By ten o'clock that morning, Ianto had been showered, fed hot chocolate, bundled up in Jack's spare pyjamas and dressing gown, and dumped on the sofa to sleep under a pile of blankets. Gwen had even run home for the portable heater she and Rhys had bought ages ago when the boiler crapped out, and had just never gotten rid of.
Owen had gone home to briefly shower and change, and returned in many layers to keep him warm.
"Don't need two of us going down with pneumonia," he said, at Jack's questioning look, and Jack frowned.
"He won't get that, will he?"
"Might well, Jack," Owen said. "He was under for a long time. He got his lungs full of icy water, containing god-knows-what. And he got knocked out. It wouldn't surprise me."
Jack had parked himself on the sofa too, letting Ianto use his lap for a pillow, and slowly working through the paperwork that Torchwood policy still dictated they have actual paper copies of. Which was ludicrous, really. By proxy, he took up the duty of waking Ianto every hour as well, though Owen still insisted on giving him the quiz, which got steadily stranger.
"Give it until one o'clock, then we can probably let him sleep properly," Owen surmised after the third round of waking, quizzing and coercing back to sleep. Ianto's seemingly natural drive to get up and clean the place hadn't gone away, and Owen had had to threaten him with sedatives to get him to settle the last time.
"What about his lungs?" Jack demanded.
"What about them?"
"They're not damaged, right?"
"He's not complaining of chest pain, or liberally hacking all over the place. I'll have a proper look with the scanner at some point, but it'll just disturb him now," Owen shrugged. "He rejected it easily enough. That's when you worry, really, when it takes a long time to get the water out again."
Jack stroked a hand through Ianto's hair quietly, and didn't argue the matter further.
Once they let him sleep, Ianto slept for the rest of the day and well into the night. Owen left strict instructions to be called if Jack was concerned, and left only at ten o'clock when ordered to.
Ianto woke at around half past eleven, and had barely sat up before Jack was there, frowning at him worriedly.
"How do you feel?" he asked.
"Bit crap. Cold," Ianto mumbled, and Jack pressed cool fingers to his face.
"Bit warm, actually," he argued gently. "Want to come down to bed?"
Ianto grimaced, and Jack chuckled.
"Not for that," he reprimanded. "Think you can manage the ladder?"
"Yeah," Ianto said.
He could - but just. He was certainly shaky on his feet, and Jack helped him into bed with quiet, anxious looks, until Ianto sighed heavily and stroked clumsy fingers across Jack's jaw.
"Stop it," he said. "I'm okay."
"Owen had to give you CPR," Jack whispered.
"I guessed, by the way my ribs feel," Ianto said. "But I'm alright now."
"Mm," Jack said.
"I am," Ianto said. "I'll get a cold, and be a git for a few days, but I'm fine."
Jack didn't say anything until he had stripped down, washed up, and crawled into bed. By that time, Ianto was half-asleep, and curled into Jack's arms contentedly. He was a little flushed, though not frighteningly warm, and Jack checked that his Bluetooth was on the bedside table.
"I nearly lost you," he said, almost conversationally, but for the way he trailed off in a whisper at the end.
Ianto's hand in his hair tightened for a brief second.
"But didn't," the Welsh vowels were short and slurred, but sweet all the time, and Jack tightened his arms in a hug.
"Didn't," he echoed.
And maybe in a few hours, he'd believe it again.