"Owen, Ianto! It's in here,"
Both men heard Toshiko through their comm-units and made their way to the building she had entered some moments previously. Ianto reached her first but barely had time to register the squat, yellow creature in front of Tosh before it attacked her. She raised her weapon and fired five rounds into her attacker. The bullets went straight through it without making a mark. The creature lunged forward with its stubby arms outstretched. Ianto darted towards them and pushed Tosh out of the way. The creature landed against him, causing both to fall to the floor. Ianto grunted in pain; the thing weighed more than it looked. He tried to push the creature from him but it seemed to be getting heavier by the second, pressing down. It suddenly dawned on Ianto what was happening.
"Help!" he yelled. "It's going into me, help!"
Owen entered the room just in time to see the creature melting into Ianto. The Welshman began to scream in agony but it was cut short as his body started to jerk spasmodically.
"He's fitting," Owen called to Tosh. "Get the med-kit from the SUV. Quickly."
While Tosh ran for the med-kit, Owen knelt by Ianto and clumsily removed his tie. By the time Tosh returned, Ianto had stopped fitting and was staring at the ceiling. Tosh's heart leaped into her mouth. For a moment, she thought he was dead until she saw his chest steadily rising and falling.
"Owen?" she queried, tentatively.
"He seems okay for now," he told her before looking up. "We've got to get him to the hub so I can examine him properly."
He indicated to Tosh to take Ianto's legs, while he took hold of the head end. Together they carried Ianto to the SUV and managed to get him into the back seat. Owen climbed in beside him, leaving Tosh to drive.
During the relatively short journey, Owen rang Jack and apprised him of the situation. He was waiting for them in the garage when they pulled in, standing in his characteristic hands-on-hips stance. When the vehicle came to stop, Jack pulled open the door on Ianto's side and leaned in to help him out. Without warning, Ianto dived out of the side Owen had just vacated. He ran out of the garage with Jack, Owen and Tosh in pursuit. They'd almost caught up with him when he suddenly changed direction and headed for the water of the bay. Ianto climbed over the barrier and fell into the water.
Jack followed him in without a second thought. He hadn't been prepared for how cold the water would be and it almost took his breath. Jack looked around him but could see no trace of Ianto, despite the bright, almost full moon. He dived beneath the surface where he couldn't even see his hand in front of him. Panic rose in his chest as he swam around, feeling the water around him, but to no avail. Jack's lungs began to burn, forcing him to concede defeat. He headed for the surface, and by pure accident his hand brushed against a body. Jack grabbed the body and dragged it up with him. The next problem was how to get him out of the water. Shouts from Tosh and Owen above him alerted him to a nearby jetty. Jack swam towards it, with Ianto in tow, and was met by the others. Owen pulled Ianto from the water and laid him on his stomach. He pushed hard up his back, forcing the water from his lungs. It didn't take long and, to everyone's relief, Ianto coughed, spluttered and was breathing. Owen rolled him onto his back and Jack gently laid his hand on the younger man's chest.
Ianto's eyes flickered open and he looked at Jack with confusion.
"Jack," he croaked. "What's going on?"
Then he passed out.
Jack carried him into the hub and laid him on the autopsy table. Ianto came round again as he was laid down, and instantly started fighting. He pushed Jack back, hard enough to make him fall. Ianto got up from the table but was grabbed by Owen before he could go anywhere. Jack was back on his feet before Ianto could overpower the medic.
"Ianto, calm down," he said as placidly as possible.
Ianto seemed not to hear and continued to struggle. Whilst Jack kept him occupied, Owen loaded a syringe with anaesthetic. There was no time for finesse, so Owen plunged the needle into Ianto's thigh.
"Let go Jack," Ianto whispered. "Please."
Jack loosened his grip but didn't let go fully. It was still the opportunity Ianto seemed to have been looking for. He squirmed out of Jack's grip and bounded up the steps of the autopsy room. Once again, Jack and Owen found themselves chasing after Ianto. For reasons neither of them could fathom, the running man headed down to the cells. Jack almost had heart failure when they finally caught up with Ianto. He was about to open the door of the Weevil's cell.
Jack ploughed into him, pushing him to the floor and yelling to Owen to open an empty cell. After several minutes, and a punch in the eye for Owen, they managed to wrestle Ianto into the cell. However, this solved nothing. As soon as the door was closed, Ianto began to throw himself against it relentlessly.
"How do we stop that?" Jack asked Owen. There was pleading in his voice.
"I don't know," the other man replied, rubbing his rapidly bruising eye. "The anaesthetic clearly had no effect."
They stood in silence for a while, simply watching Ianto.
"What about...?" Owen began.
"One of the cells on the next level has shackles on the wall."
At any other time, Jack would have welcomed chaining Ianto to a wall, but here and now the idea sickened him. For an individual as dignified as Ianto, it would be a terrible humiliation. Unfortunately, Jack could see no other option.
"We'll need to secure some kind of padding to the wall behind his head."
"I'll sort it," Owen assured him and rushed off to organise it.
While he waited, Jack put his hand on the cell door, feeling the impact run up his arm each time Ianto landed against it.
"Don't worry Ianto," he murmured. "We're gonna work this out."
Twenty minutes later, Owen returned, carrying a tranquilizer pistol.
"Okay, the cell's ready," he told Jack. "I've brought this to try and calm him for the move. It's the highest dose I dare give him. I also have these."
He held up a set off handcuffs. Jack nodded grimly and took the cuffs. Owen aimed the pistol through one of the holes in the cell door and fired the dart into Ianto's shoulder. It had an immediate but very limited effect. He calmed down long enough to allow Jack time to get into the cell and fasten his hands behind his back. Together, Owen and Jack carried him to the new cell. It was the same bare room with sleeping platform as the others, except this one had four metal cuffs attached to the wall. There were two for the ankles and two at head height for the wrists. To Jack's relief, Ianto didn't start struggling again until he was firmly secured. As Jack had predicted, Ianto instantly started to beat his head against the wall, but the cushion Owen had placed there prevented him from hurting himself.
"Right Owen," said Jack. "Do every test possible. Get Tosh and Gwen to scour the archives for any reference to the creature. I'm sure I've come across something like it before, years ago."
Owen left to fetch his diagnostic equipment. Jack sat down on the sleeping platform, not wanting to leave Ianto alone. At the same time though, it was killing him to stay. Jack wanted to run away, unable to cope with what was happening to Ianto, but wouldn't leave him. He couldn't.
A couple of hours after Owen had done his tests and taken his samples, Jack was still sitting with Ianto. Owen said he would be as quick as possible with the results. Gwen and Tosh had so far drawn a blank with their research. All Jack could do was wait, and try to reassure Ianto. Not that he seemed to be getting through to him. The confined man had spent the whole time screaming and struggling. There was nothing coherent in his screams, just pain and frustration. Jack stood up and held Ianto's face in his hands.
"Come back to me Yan," he said quietly, tears welling in his eyes. "I can't handle this."
Suddenly, Ianto stopped fighting. He looked Jack squarely in the eye.
"Jack?" he queried. "Oh God, Jack. Help me! Get it out of me. Please!"
"We're working on it Ianto. I promise we'll free you from it."
The look of anguish in Ianto's eyes tore through Jack's heart, then it was gone. The yelling and battling returned with a vengeance. Jack sat back down and resumed his vigil.
Another thirty minutes passed before Ianto settled down again. He had a look of absolute shock on his face which puzzled Jack.
"What is it Yan?"
"I've... I've... soiled myself."
He seemed so ashamed of himself that Jack could hardly look at him for fear of heightening his shame.
"It's okay," Jack comforted. "I'll get you cleaned up."
After first promising Ianto that he wouldn't be away long, Jack went to fetch what he needed. A tiny, treacherous part of his mind was glad to be out of there. The fighting, shouting Ianto was back when Jack returned. He'd brought a bowl of soapy water, flannels, a towel and a pair of his own boxer-shorts and sweatpants. He also had a plastic bag in which to deposit all soiled items. Jack was not relishing the task before him. It was going to be interesting getting one pair of trousers off and the new pair on. He knelt down in front of Ianto, normally a position he enjoyed, and undid the trouser buttons. His nostrils were assaulted with a horrible smell as he pulled the trousers and underpants down. Jack carefully washed Ianto's backside and towelled him dry. It was not an easy thing to do, with Ianto moving about so much. He released Ianto's left leg and held tightly onto it to stop him getting a knee to the face. He removed the soiled garments and replaced it with the clean set. He repeated the process with his right leg. Once Ianto was re-dressed, Jack tidied up and placed everything outside of the cell before returning to the sleeping platform. Not a word was spoken.
Owen appeared outside the cell a short while later, brandishing his test results.
"I've got something, Jack," he announced. "There's an unknown enzyme flooding his entire system, but there's a concentration of it in his brain. I have no idea what it is, but all evidence suggests that it is responsible for his altered behaviour. I'm still working on a cure."
Before Jack could respond, Gwen arrived, also brandishing results.
"We know what it is and how to get rid of it." Her smile faded at seeing Ianto's predicament first hand. "It's something called an Akth."
"No Owen. An Akth."
Jack jumped to his feet.
"I knew it seemed familiar," he yelled. "Tell me that your conclusions came up with a certain sound frequency as the cure."
"It's sub-sonic so we can't hear it," she acknowledged. "It apparently causes the thing to disintegrate."
It took hardly any time at all to assemble the equipment to produce the correct frequency. It was even less time to complete the job. After about 10 seconds Ianto let out a piercing shriek before slumping, unconscious, in his bonds. Before Jack released him, Owen checked for the foreign enzyme and found nothing. Ianto was freed from the wall and laid onto the sleeping platform. Owen gave him a thorough checking over and happily declared him to be physically fit. He would remain asleep for several hours due to the anaesthetic in his system finally being allowed to do what it was supposed to do. Jack gently lifted Ianto into his arms and took him to his own bed, where he would be far more comfortable. When Ianto was settled, Jack thanked his team for their efforts.
"No thanks needed," Owen said with a shrug. Gwen and Tosh murmured their agreement.
It was nearly twenty four hours later when Jack, who was at his desk, heard his name being called. He looked down into the man-hole and saw Ianto, wide awake and sitting on the edge of the bed. Jack climbed down to join him.
"Hey there," he said by way of a greeting.
Ianto didn't answer. He simply stood up and hugged Jack for what seemed like an eternity.
"Thank you," He whispered to the captain eventually. "Especially for when I... erm... dirtied myself."
"You're more than welcome, Ianto. You'd have done the same for me."
Ianto sat back down and covered his face with his hands, obviously he was very humiliated by what he'd done. Jack sat next to him and put his arm around Ianto's shoulder.
"If you want, I can give you a Retcon dose. Let you forget the whole thing."
Ianto thought about it and seemed to be about to accept Jack's offer, then shook his head.
"I'll get over it, eventually,' he said quietly. "For now though, I would rather be by myself. If that's okay?"
Jack kissed him on the forehead and hugged him again. "No problem. Come up when you're ready."
He left Ianto to his thoughts and went to tell the rest of the team that Ianto was back.