TITLE: More Than Just Survivors
PAIRING (none yet but femslash potential)
DISCLAIMER: I don't own any of them.
CONTINUITY: Written after Survivors S1 and Torchwood S2. Naj and Al are missing, Sarah is lost. Though started long before Children Of Earth, I inadvertently pre-empted a certain character's demise (please don't send me death threats).
SUMMARY: If England is full of half-lives, surely post-virus it would still be full of them? Being immortal might help too. Jack to the rescue...
NOTE: I really fancy Zoe Tapper so how could I not write a story with two women who look remarkably like her?
WARNING: I started this a long time ago and honestly don't know if I'll ever finish it. When I re-read the first few parts recently, I thought I'd post them here anyway; if you hate unfinished stories, read no further.
PART ONE : The Unlucky Few.
Galvin went first. Then it was a mad rush to Luke's place but it was already too late, his mother was dead. He died soon after. So much for the Van Helsing line; not immune to the flu virus. Mina was hoping Ruby would go too. Not for the reasons the girl would suppose - that Mina hated her and wanted rid of her - but because surviving something like this was the worst possible outcome. Survivors. The most damned of them all. Mina knew that all too well; she was an eternal survivor. And a vampire. A vampire who would revert to her natural...unnatural...state as soon as the backup power on her dialysis machine was used up.
They were still in Mina's house. Three days later. Ruby pale and exhausted with grief and fear. Mina pale and exhausted with vampire blood coursing through her veins. The battery had died the night before. She could feel it, chasing through her system, changing her. Not the sudden, agonising rush that occurred when she drank her own, unpurified blood but the long, slow dive in to the half-life.
'Ruby,' Mina eventually said, 'we have to talk.'
'Yeah, I've been thinking about that. We need to get out of here, the city's gonna be in a right state pretty soon. Somewhere out of the way. In the country, where we can live on the land.'
'Ruby. Ruby, look at me.'
Ruby turned slowly. She knew what she would see, she'd worked it out the night before, a few minutes after the lights went off on Mina's dialysis machine. Mina had said nothing, just stared off in to the void as she usually did. There had been something oddly intimate about watching her hooked up to the machine. Watching the woman cleanse herself. Like seeing Mina bathe. That thought triggered a little spark in Ruby's brain but she forced it away. Not the time. Definitely not the time.
She was looking at Mina now. Really looking at her. The teeth, the skin, the eyes. Vampire.
'They'll be some other survivors, won't there? I mean, no virus is 100% deadly, not even this one.'
'Are you suggesting I dine on what's left of the human race?' The voice too. That sexy voice that made Ruby's legs feel funny. 'What happens when they run out, Ruby?'
Ruby swallowed hard, though not entirely for the reason Mina assumed. Mina didn't seem to care either way, she just slinked across the room to stand too close to Ruby. Ruby studied the feral expression. She had a choice. There was a chance that she had a choice, anyway. She could leave now. Hope that there was enough of the good Mina left to allow her to go. She would head out of town, find other survivors.
Or she could stay with Mina. Trust that there would always be enough of the good Mina in there to keep her safe. That was the irony; she was safer from the human race with Mina than without her. But was she safer from Mina?
Ruby took a step back and yanked her shirt sleeve up. She held her arm out, her wrist hovering beneath Mina's nose. 'Here. You need blood, I have blood. Take what you need. You keep me alive, I keep you alive - how's that for a deal?'
Mina sniffed at the wrist appreciatively. Ruby tried to believe that Mina was savouring the perfume she'd bought off the market for three quid. Mina's breath tickled her skin, making the hairs stand up on her arm. Her pulse increased and Ruby knew that Mina could sense that, could feel her heartbeat through the air between them.
Mina leaned forward, her lips brushing Ruby's arm. She opened her mouth. And pulled away, spinning around suddenly.
'Ruby, I can't! You have to get out. I can't drink from you without turning you and, if I do that, you're no use to me. Besides, two vampires in the same house is not a good idea.'
'I just said, we have to get out to the country.' Ruby held up a hand to stop Mina before she could get started, 'OK, OK , I know - that wasn't the point. Here's the point: This world is going to be even harder and nastier than the one we had a few days ago. I'm not a big, bad vampire. I'm just me. I give you blood, you make sure the rest of it stays in me, not splatted across some pavement somewhere. Can you do that, Mina? Can we keep me safe?'
'From humans, yes, of course I can. From me?' Mina stared at her for a long, long time, 'I'll try. But I still can't -'
Mina stopped. Ruby had walked over to the dialysis machine and opened one of the little draws beneath it. It was filled with scalpels and needles that were sometimes needed for Galvin to open another vein for her. She watched with lusty eyes as Ruby opened a scalpel, drawing it from its packet and pulling it across her arm. Bright red blood trickled out. The smell hit Mina immediately. The warm, rich scent of it. God but that was what she needed.
Mina was at Ruby's side before the young woman could blink. She hesitated for only a moment before lifting her arm to Mina's face again. Mina shook her head with a determined motion, turning her face away, pulling her eyes from the tempting sight.
'We have to be careful. Get your blood out of you before it goes in to me.'
'I'll get a bottle or something,' Ruby offered.
'No, I'll do it. You sit down and don't waste any. Ruby?' Mina said in a gentle tone, almost her own voice, 'Are you sure? You do understand what you're doing? What you're offering me?'
'I understand. It's a deal, remember. In fact, when you've had a snack,' Ruby lifted her arm a fraction, 'we'll draw up a contract and you can sign it, In blood,' she added with a dark chuckle.
Jack sat on the floor, Ianto's lifeless body wrapped in his arms. Gwen crouched behind them, her own arms circling the two men as best she could. All three shook with Jack's sobs. He wept for hours. Far longer than Gwen, though she was mourning Rhys too. Somehow, Jack's grief seemed much worse than hers. So many lifetime's worth of grief, endlessly played out and mingling with your own endless deaths. At least Rhys had gone quickly. Poor Ianto.
Gwen had no idea how long they'd been there, slumped on the cold floor of the Hub. Suddenly, Jack was up, hefting Ianto's body in his arms and striding to the morgue. Gwen stumbled on dead legs and staggered after him. Ianto's body was laid down with such reverence, she felt the tears return to her eyes. Jack said a prayer in some language Gwen had never heard but understood all too well. Then he was closing the door on his lover's body and walking away without looking back.
'Jack?' Gwen said her own prayer for Ianto and turned to follow Jack back in to the centre of the Hub. 'Jack? What the hell are we going to do now?'
Jack stopped, spinning on his heels to glare down at her. Gwen snapped to a halt and eased back from his anger, though his eyes were far off and his ire not aimed at her. Thank god, she thought, before easing herself forward again, risking a hand on his tense arm.
'We find the bastards who did this and deal with them,' he said.
'Yeah, you heard what Martha said right before,' he ground to a halt, shaking his head savagely, 'You heard what she said, someone created this virus; it was too powerful, too fast to be natural. Someone did this to them. All of them. And we're going to deal with it. For Ianto. And Martha. And Rhys. For all of them.'
Then he was off again, striding through the Hub. He went to the computers and began pounding at the keys. Gwen watched, truly afraid for the first time since this whole nightmare had begun. It had all happened too quickly, all been such a horrific blur, that she really hadn't had time to think about it. About living. About surviving. Dear God, she'd survived it. Immune. Yes. Lucky? No. Not lucky. And that thought came down on her like a weevil's claw.
'Oh God, Jack,' she hissed, her legs giving way beneath her, 'Jack, I'm still alive.'
'Yes you are, my girl,' Jack rushed to her, lifting her back to her feet, 'and I need you. I need you with me. This is what we do. We put it right. We might not be able to save all of the people. Maybe we can't save most of them this time,' he added sadly, 'but we can do what we're here to do. Come on.'
He dragged Gwen up to the computers and set her down in Tosh's old seat. Gwen felt a strange kind of relief that the young woman hadn't had to endure the virus. Not that being shot in the gut was any better, a dark voice whispered in Gwen's head. But Gwen was willing to take comfort in any way she could so she pushed the voice away.
Jack was attacking the keyboard again. 'What are you doing, Jack?'
'Setting up a repeating signal. Declaring Earth a plaque planet. That should keep most aliens away. There aren't many scavengers willing to risk this sort of death for what little technology Earth has to offer. It'll be decades before we have to worry about that.'
'You,' Gwen said in a small voice.
'We. You're a fighter, Gwen Cooper. A survivor. You're the future of the human race. God help them,' he added with a smirk.
'Hey!' and she threw a cushion at him for good measure.