It didn't happen very often, but when it did he was like a bear with a sore head, but who wouldn't be?
It happened early one afternoon. The team, Jack, Toshiko, Gwen. Owen and Ianto had all driven out to a call on the outskirts of Cardiff city, away from the tourist and locals going about their everyday lives. An anonymous tip had been called into the Cardiff Police Department about a strange catlike creature prowling the side streets of suburbanite villages. As no official sightings had been made, and the tipper had classified the creature as 'not of this earth' Torchwood had been called to deal with any situation that might arise.
Jack had ordered his team to pack and they travelled swiftly. On the journey north, Owen and Ianto had bickered about nothing in particular, Tosh had sat quietly, tweaking the calibrations on her electronic equipment, and Gwen received several calls from her love and husband Rhys.
The 'stake out' as it was affectionately named turned into seven days of horrid coffee and takeaway menus. On the seventh day Tosh located their prey, which they cornered between a chip shop and tanning salon. The creature had more teeth than anyone could count razor sharp claws and it looked like a cross between a house cat and a zebra. Jack took the lead, but it soon became apparent that more firepower was going to be required.
A battle quickly ensued before the others could regroup and get creative with their capture techniques. Everything had been going well until Jack placed himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. The creature swung around without warning to reveal a tail similar to a lizard's covered but covered triangular wedged blades. More surprised that anything else Jack maintained his position and as the creature's tail followed its direction of motion it sliced the outside of Jack's left ankle.
The whole team were stunned as they hadn't counted on a tail either, and watched as Jack's ankle gave way and crumpled beneath his weight. Ianto managed to catch the creature quickly and efficiently with a tranquiliser while the others just gaped. He left several seconds between seeing the creature drop like a stone to the ground, and rushing to Jack's aid. Although Gwen was second in command, it was Ianto who took control, shouting orders to the team about the cleanup operation before focusing all his attention on his boss. Ianto wasn't exactly worried about Jack and his medical condition, as he couldn't die, but still, Ianto didn't enjoy seeing anyone in pain or bleeding.
"Jesus Ianto this fucking hurts," groaned Jack loudly.
"Well Jack you will insist on jumping in first and watching while an alien literally cuts you down." Ianto was a little pale as he looked in Jack's direction, but Ianto couldn't quite make eye contact due to his concern.
"You have no idea," muttered Jack.
"Do you need pain killers?" asked Ianto.
"What do you think?" questioned Jack sarcastically.
Once Ianto had administered Jack's medication, Jack unfolded his body to reveal the true extent of the damage. Ianto caught the first glimpse of the wound. Jack watched Ianto's face pale even more to an unnatural bed sheet white colour.
"Is it that bad?" asked Jack, unwilling to look just at that moment, but wanting to lighten the mood a little.
"Erm...oh, it's...you should go to the hospital –now!" stated Ianto hurriedly, never taking his eyes off Jack's ankle.
"Well we both know that's not going to happen. What do we tell them when I'm fully healed in a couple of hours? Not the best idea you've ever had Ianto."
"I know, but Jack you should really look 'cos it's worse that I'm making out."
Jack chanced a quick peek, which turned into a long horrifying stare. The creature had ripped the skin away from the bone of Jack's ankle, and two major ligaments had been severed on the outside of his ankle. Jack's ankle bones were visible and had considerable indentations as the blades of the creature's tail had struck the ankle. Basically Jack's ankle looked like it had been a Rottweiler's chew toy, and that wasn't including the blood that continued to pour from and pool around the ankle as Jack watched.
Jack was a steely man, but even he had limits for his own body. He swayed in his seated position and had to close his eyes and take deep fortifying breaths.
"Owen!" shouted Ianto hoarsely.
"Two secs, just strapping the 'Cazebliz' in the boot of the SUV," called Owen.
"Tosh & Gwen can handle it. I need you here NOW!"
"Okay, alright. I'm coming, oh master, but it'd better be good for you to be bossing me around teaboy!"
Ianto stayed quiet until Owen walked upon Jack's current predicament.
"Shit! Ianto we need to get this wound kept stable and slow the bleeding. Jeez Jack, it's a mess."
"Yeah, I'm aware of that Owen – what are you going to do about it?"
"You need hospitalisation and, at the least, stitches so the skin can heal back together."
"No hospital," grunted Jack as he felt a wave of pain.
"What I have is an autopsy bay Jack, not a trauma centre. I'm not equip for an injury like that!"
"Well use what you've got. He doesn't want strange professionals poking and prodding him Owen. The girls are going to be in the front of the SUV driving, and we'll do what we can to make him stable until we get back to the Hub."
Owen ran back to the SUV and collected what he needed. Minutes later Owen injected Jack with a coagulant to help clot the bleeding at the injury site. He protected the skin that had been sheared from the bone, and splinted Jack's leg. Owen also injected a mild sedative so Jack wouldn't have to go through the pain of being transferred from the floor to the SUV, and the SUV to the Hub.
Ianto took control of seeing to Jack's comfort on the journey home, so he rested Jack's head in his lap, as there was nowhere else it could go, while Owen monitored his vital signs and the captured, sedated creature. Tosh and Gwen had asked lots of questions, naturally, but could see the worry on Owen and Ianto's face. Just because Jack couldn't die didn't mean everyone stopped caring. The girls stayed quiet out of respect for Jack and Ianto's thoughts.
Arriving at the Hub meant moving the creature to the cells, which took another dose of tranquilliser and all four of them. Once settled into its new temporary home, the team returned to the SUV to oversee moving Jack. The man in question was starting to stir, but wasn't quite fully conscience. With some instruction and assistance, Jack half walked and was half dragged to the autopsy room.
Owen stitched the flaps of limp skin back together, but there was nothing he could do to facilitate the ligaments healing together. Following his procedure, Jack was advised to rest and to, under no circumstances bear any weight on his injured ankle. He was given a pair of crutches that Tosh had been able to acquire while Owen was stitching Jack together. Nobody questioned where she managed to find them from. Jack was placed in one of the guest quarters as they were more accessible than Jack's hatch quarters.
Owen increased Jack's pain medication and stuck Ianto at his bedside to stop Jack from getting out of bed for the next few hours.
"How are you feeling?" asked Ianto when Jack's eyes opened.
"Like I nearly lost an ankle to a lizard, cat, horse. How are you doing?"
"Honestly?" Jack nodded slowly.
"Awful. I've never seen such a mess. I'm surprised you stayed conscious. I feel drained and would love nothing more than to climb into bed, for some sleep but I have work to complete."
"I give you the rest of the day off, maybe even the rest of the week, depending on my recovery."
"Not so simple...I'm just going upstairs to bring down some work. You have two choices. Either stay in bed while I'm gone, OR, try to get out of bed until I find you, sedate you, then I drag you back into bed. Either way suits me! But be aware that I'm not in the mood to have to track you down."
Jack and Ianto had been flirting for a couple of years now, but neither of them had gone any further than that. When Ianto had watched his lover, Lisa, die at the hands of his boss and colleagues his state of mind had not been the best. One night he had collapsed in a small corner of the archive rooms, it took several hours of searching, but Jack had found him. His face streaked with dust and tears, eyes red and blood shot, his breathing laboured. Jack had taken Ianto into his arms and held him, comforting him as only Jack knew how. From that day on Ianto had been in Jack's debt. He would stay late at work, help Jack with paperwork, pretty much help Jack out in any way he could. Ianto knew what he could and couldn't get away with, with Jack, and he also knew that he had some sway with Jack
"Such ferocious talk Ianto Jones. You'll be pleased to know that I'm not going to cause you any problems for the next few hours, at least."
"Well that's a first, but I need you to promise me!"
"Okay, I promise," said Jack taking Ianto's hand in his.
"I'll check on your progress later tonight, and see if we can't get you walking on these crutches," said Ianto pointing to the crutches leaning against the far wall.
"Oh wonderful," said Jack sarcastically, "you know this would be easier if I could just have my gun back. One shot and you could do your work in your office, and we could have a private fitness test later. Just to double check everything is in working order!"
"Jack that's not even funny! Not a chance. You have superhuman healing abilities, in two or three days everything will have healed anyway! I'm going to change the lock code on the armoury just in case though."
"Alright, I can deal with it. Though you might want to keep the pain meds flowing."
So Ianto left Jack to get what he needed. Between them Jack and Ianto managed to complete over three quarters of the pile of paperwork before Jack's mind started to wander and he got bored.
Ianto suggested a visit from the other members of the team, but Jack pointed out that it was late, and they'd all probably have gone home. Ianto checked his watch and saw Jack was right. Ianto knew he'd get no peace unless he made an effort with Jack, so he pushed the last quarter of the paperwork to one side, pulled back the duvet on Jack's bed and moved to pick up the crutches leant against the wall.
"Right, let's get you back to walking asap. I'll pull you up so you're standing, then you can get your hands in the right positions on the sticks. Keep all your weight on your good foot."
Ianto grabbed hold of Jack's hands and putting his weight behind him he heaved, managing to get Jack vertical and balanced before handing him the crutches.
"You know what to do with these don't you?" questioned Ianto as an afterthought. Just because Jack had been around for centuries didn't mean that he'd ever had need to use crutches before.
"I've seen how they work, it can't be that hard."
Coming from Jack that was a big understatement. Ianto helped him fit his hands into the holders and lengthened the sticks so they were the right size. Ianto guided Jack through what he should do. Jack took his first tentative step away from his bed. For a split second Ianto thought that he looked like a teetering toddler trying to walk for the first time. It took a split second for Jack's face to light up, then it changed to uncertainty, then fear as he leaned dangerously forwards. The sticks slipped backward towards to bed and Jack pitched head first towards the ground. If Ianto hadn't have been so closely Jack would have busted his nose on the solid concrete floor, and knocked out a few teeth. Ianto quickly stepped forward from his position and grabbed Jack hard under his arms, as the sticks fell from Jack's hands to try to save himself.
Ianto wavered under Jack's weight, but managed to straighten him enough to move him back onto the bed. Ianto made sure that Jack was safely back on the bed, before he throw himself next to Jack on his back and laughed. Ianto laughed heartily, the sound coming straight from his patent shiny leather shoes. If Jack hadn't felt so stupid and embarrassed then he would have revelled in the sound of the unadulterated sounds that were so seldom heard in the Hub, especially from Ianto.
It took several minutes to calm himself down before he could open his eyes, which were filled with tears. "Oh Jack! That was...well what can I say sir? I think we should try this a bit slower with me standing next to you. I would hate to be the cause of damaging your handsome features."
Jack just looked at Ianto, noted that he was comfortable, relaxed, so he swiftly leaned forward to steal a kiss. Ianto in his humorous state didn't realise until it was too late what Jack was doing, but he gave himself up to the moment.