Ianto blinked, trying to pretend he wasn't seeing what he saw in front of him. He rubbed his eyes, but to no avail. No, he was not here. Not so soon after their other little jaunt to the past. What had he possibly done in another life to deserve this?
"I said, put 'em up!"
Ianto saw Jack's hand moving slowly towards his Webley. "Jack..."
"They're pointing guns at us, Ianto!" Jack whispered harshly.
"I can see that, Jack. Which is exactly why you shouldn't be going for yours!"
"What's all this yammering about? Put 'em up or we'll fill you full of lead. Don't be thinking we won't!"
Ianto swallowed hard. This was certainly new. These men looked - and apparently sounded - exactly like some poorly-written western movie Ianto had seen as a child. There were five of them, the leader obviously the one doing the talking, and they all looked as mean as they were dirty. Ianto briefly wondered if they could take them, but since these guys could easily be quick draws and they were outnumbered, he figured it was best to see what they wanted rather than aggravate them. Jack, of course, thought otherwise.
"Put your hands up, Jack," Ianto said as he slowly raised his arms.
"Ianto, we can handle them."
"God, Jack, just...put your hands up before we both get killed!"
Jack shot him a look of irritation mixed with amusement but moved his hand away from his gun and raised his arms as well. "This is a very bad idea."
"It's the best one I've got at the moment!"
"Alright, boys, get them guns off them."
Four of the men started forward and soon surrounded them, two pointing rather large guns towards their chests and the others removing their weapons. Ianto felt naked without his gun in the field, but he was more worried about what would happen next.
"I ain't never seen one like this before, boss." It was the scrawnier of the two men who had taken their guns. "I don't rightly know what it is."
"Bring it here, boy," their leader said, holding out one of his hands.
The scrawny man took the Webley and headed over to his leader, handing him the handgun in exchange for the leader's shotgun. The older man turned it over in his hands.
"Well this one don't look too different, just made funny." He looked up at Jack. "Where'd you get this gun?"
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you," Jack replied, smiling.
"I asked you a question, boy. I expect an answer."
Ianto tensed next to Jack. This was not going to end well for either one of them. Especially not if Jack decided to use his sarcasm and wit instead of his charm and patience. And from the look in his eyes, Ianto wasn't counting on a miracle. Sure, Jack would bounce back after being pelted full of real lead bullets, but he wouldn't be so lucky.
"It was given to me," Jack stated simply. Ianto breathed a sigh of relief when nothing followed his answer.
"This one ain't nothing like the other one," said the not-so-scrawny man with Ianto's gun.
They exchanged guns and the leader furrowed his eyebrows. "And just how does this thing work?" he asked, looking up at Ianto.
Even though he was sure nothing good could come of telling him the truth, he answered, "You just pull back the top part there, point, and shoot. But be careful. It kicks a bit."
The man's eyes narrowed. "You playin' with me boy?"
"No sir," Ianto replied, licking his lips. For a moment he was convinced the man would point the gun in his direction to test it, but to his surprise he turned around and shot at a tree. The bullet pierced the bark on one side and shot clean out the other, landing somewhere in the dirt in the distance. The tree never had a chance.
"Hot DAMN, boss! That there's a weapon straight from God!" It was one of the armed men. Apparently he was as religious as he was large.
"Knock em out, boys," the leader said, drawing the gun closer so he could sniff the end of the barrel. "These two are comin' with us!"
Ianto and Jack exchanged a look and then Ianto hung his head. This was not going to feel very good.
tw tw tw tw tw
Ianto groaned as he came to, rolling onto his side and spitting out what he assumed was dirt. He opened his eyes, letting them adjust to the dingy light around him. He was inside some sort of building. A barn, perhaps. As the sounds of snuffling and whinnying met his ears he sighed. Yup. A barn.
"You know, I actually dated a guy once who lived in worse conditions," Jack's voice said from somewhere in the vicinity of Ianto's head.
The Welshman rolled his eyes. "Why does that not surprise me?"
"You get used to the smell."
"Forgive me if I don't much fancy the idea of roughing it with the livestock."
"Are you fellas gonna get us outta here?"
Ianto rolled the other direction, coming to face a rather decent sized group of people who were watching them with wide eyes. There were two men, two women, and three children, two of which were small boys and the other a teenage girl. Ianto assumed they were a couple of families. It was one of the women who had spoken.
"I don't see why not," Jack said before Ianto could open his mouth. "If we get out of here we'll make sure you do too."
"They sure are handsome, mama," the girl whispered, just loud enough for Ianto to hear.
"Hush, child," the mother replied.
Ianto could feel his face burning, and cursed himself for his tendency to blush. "That's very kind of you," he offered, scrunching up until he could get into a seated position. Jack did the same and sat by his side. Their hands were tied behind their backs and their ankles were bound, but luckily they hadn't been hogtied. It appeared the others had been secured in the same fashion.
"What happened to you?" Jack asked them, even though Ianto was pretty sure he already knew the answer.
"It was Robert Devlin and his boys," one of the men said, shaking his head. "I knew they was trouble the minute they rode into town. Ain't never seen the likes of them before, but they got a reputation, you see."
"What kind of reputation?" Ianto asked.
"The kind that makes a man right yeller," the other man replied. "He and his boys been known to take what they like, and that ain't limited to gold and supplies, neither!"
"When did they take you?" asked Jack.
"'Bout two days ago, now," the first man answered.
"Been stuck in here ever since." The second man again.
"I don't suppose they've said what they want from you?" Ianto ventured, raising his eyebrows hopefully.
"They took all they could from us," one of them women said sadly, looking down at the two boys. "Not sure what else they want."
Jack sighed beside him. "Did they hurt you?"
"Not too bad," the dark-haired man replied. "Broke down our door, stole my brother's horses, and knocked us clean out before they took all our money. Set us up in here and ain't been back 'cept to bring us bread and water."
"A gang of thugs and thieves," Jack mused, snorting softly.
"Jack, we have to do something."
"Got any ideas, Ianto?"
"Not yet, no."
"I'm Jack and this is Ianto," Jack addressed the families. "What are your names?"
"My name is Benjamin, this is my wife Elizabeth, and our two boys Edward and Henry. That there is my brother Simon, his wife Lesley Anne, and my niece Rebecca."
"It's lovely to meet you all," Ianto told them, smiling. "Though it would be better under different circumstances."
"Mama, he talks funny!" Edward said, giggling.
"You mind your tongue," Elizabeth scolded, frowning down at him. "These are nice folk, come to rescue us."
Ianto wanted to protest, since he had absolutely no idea why the rift had chosen to spit them out in the middle of the wild, wild west, but he stopped short. They were the only chance these people had of getting out of this situation, and possibly getting their possessions back. Besides, Jack had already promised them as much.
When the door slammed open, Ianto jumped, his heart racing. Two of the more brawny men from the gang appeared, smirks on their faces. "Get on your feet," one of them said, nodding at Jack and Ianto. "The boss wants to talk to you."
Before either of them could do as they were told the two men had grabbed their arms and practically dragged them to their feet instead. Ianto winced as the rope cut into his wrists and let himself be pulled up, hopping alongside his captor as they left the barn. When they got outside Ianto could see the sun was setting. And somehow, he knew they were in for a long night.