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Metal Tears for the Tin Man (12/27)

"Any new developments?" Ianto asked over the radio as he left the hospital several days later, having checked up on Jake, who was grumbling about still being kept for observation – except when his treating physician was in the room. Whatever happened between his friend and Harper, Ianto hoped it went well, Jake deserved someone who would be devoted to him, and unfortunately neither he nor Harkness had been that man.

"All quiet so far, but it's not night yet," Ross reported back. They'd been patrolling nightly, trying to track down both the butterflies and the exterminator but so far had come up with nothing, and it was damn frustrating.

"Got that, I should be back within half an hour."

"See you then and pick up pizza."

By the time Ianto arrived back at the hub, carrying two boxes, the others were gathered in the monitoring room where Ross had managed to hook Harkness' wrist strap into the detector, refining their search patterns to hopefully give them more information about their visitors.

"Pizza's here, where's the tip?" he demanded, setting the boxes on the table. "Jake wants to know when he can come and play; he's tired of being under house arrest."

"Can't say I blame him," Tom nodded. "But I can't blame Harper for keeping him in hospital."

"Jake can come and play when Harper gives him the green light to be released and not a moment before," Jack replied firmly. "Besides, I think his grumble is more for show than anything else. He's pursuing other leads while in the hospital. I hope for his sake they pan out."

"What leads?" Ross asked before his brain could tell him not to.

"Apparently he figures that Rose and Milligan shouldn't be the only ones to land themselves a hot doctor," Jack chuckled. "God help us all."

Ross had just opened his mouth to speak when the Hub alarms started to blare as the wrist strap enhanced computer spiked. "Right, dinner will have to wait," Jack replied calmly. "Suit up. Ross, loop the Rift readings through my wrist strap. We're a man down with at least two, possibly more, hostiles; we can't afford to leave anyone behind. You're in charge of field ops, Jones; other than the fact that all of us are going out, command is yours now."

"Right," Ianto said, nodding tightly. "Ross, bring the modified PDAs; they're going to get a field test to see if they work like Harkness' does. Tom, make sure we all have samples of that antivenin you've been working on –"

"It hasn't been tested," Tom began, only to be cut off by his team lead.

"Doesn't matter; if all else fails, we can try to inject the exterminator with it. Harkness – try not to go jumping in front of the gunfire, okay?" The last was offered with a tight smile. "Armor and ammo, people, and at the SUV in two."

They scattered, meeting at the SUV, and sped out into the night, screeching into the park before going lights dark as Ianto drove at a slower speed, trying to minimize their noise.

"Two major life signs," Ross reported as they pulled to a halt. "One at eleven o'clock, the other at two."

"For the moment, stick together," Ianto ordered. "We need to know just what we're looking at."

Jack took up position between Jones and Tom with Ross on the other side of the doctor. "Best advice I can give is to watch for an area that looks a little off kilter. If the exterminator is moving, it will look out of sync with the background it's blending with, but the lack of light will make it harder to spot - which is what it's counting on. If it's here and hunting, it means our bugs are probably in the area too, so keep your bug spray handy." Undoing the leather cover as he spoke, Jack hit a few buttons and quickly calibrated his life signs detector so that it registered the Wild Boys as green so that he wouldn't make a mistake if he needed to fire on someone.

The four of them took off into the darkness, moving silently, guided by Ross and Jack. A small clearing opened up before them, and they crouched behind cover, watching for any kind of movement. The night was silent around them, and Ross spun. "Incoming!"

A large form swooped over them, then a second shadowy form blurred the air in front of them. Sharp pops sounded as the men aimed at both targets, only stopping when their aim was confounded by each other's presence. The butterfly swooped in over them, and Tom turned to follow its path before falling flat as an energy beam scorched the air near him. When he surged upward, he saw Ross on the ground, the large butterfly they'd been tracking as the queen flapping into the air from his body to be torn by a blast from the exterminator.

"Jenkins is down," he reported, racing toward his friend, one hand scrabbling for the antivenin syringe even as he tilted Ross' head back, searching frantically for a pulse or respiration, then slamming the syringe into the angry looking rash on Ross' neck.

"Exterminator got the bug," Ianto said harshly, keeping his attention focused on the remaining alien. Catching movement out of the corner of his eye, he cursed, knowing what the cause was. Swiping his hand over the back of his neck, he pulled his armor disc off and lunged, slapped it on Harkness' neck as the other man raced toward the exterminator.

Jack felt someone hit him in the back of the neck and a second later felt something cool, flexible and far too close fitting for his liking slide under his clothes and over his skin. "What the fuck? Jones!" he bellowed as he realized what the younger man had done. He was going to kill the stupid son of a bitch when he had the chance. One hand tried futilely to pull the disc off of his neck even as Jack lowered his shoulder and slammed into the lizard creature hard, sending them both to the ground, his need to take the son of a bitch out hard and fast increasing exponentially as his brain caught up with the rest of him.

With the fucking armor coating him like a bad rash, Jack was all too aware that Jones was now without it and vulnerable to attack. Jack's heart stuttered to a halt at the thought of Jones getting injured or even killed because of his stupid den mother tendency to want to protect everyone, even those who didn't need it – like Jack himself. Leave it to Jones to open himself up like that – fucking hero complex. Like hell Jack was going to let that happen. Like hell! Jack let the alien get the upper hand and roll him under its weight, leaving its back exposed and vulnerable.

"Take the shot!" he barked out, struggling to keep the lizard from taking a chunk out of his neck. Looking over its shoulder toward the younger man, Jack was incensed to see that he hadn't moved. "Jones! You put this fucking thing on me, so use it to your advantage. Take the god damned shot! That's an order!"

The lizard creature reared back to drive its teeth into Jack, and Ianto had the shot he'd been waiting for. In one smooth move he aimed and fired, the bullet taking the creature cleanly through the head, causing it to drop heavily down onto Harkness.

"I took the shot when I had it," he said coolly, stepping forward to help roll the body off of Jack, checking the other man over for injuries even as he listened to Tom's terse update on Ross' condition.

"Ambulance will be here in five; Ross is still breathing, looks like Tom's antivenin worked."

Jack's chest heaved, and his fists clenched as he tried to control the insane rage that threatened to boil over. What the hell had Jones been thinking? How could he have jeopardized his life like that? Didn't the idiot understand how important he was to Jack's sanity?

The thought was the douse of cold water that Jack needed. When the fuck had Jones come to mean so much to him? Jesus, Jack thought in equal parts disbelief and horror, It's not enough that I'm insanely attracted to him; no, I have to go and start falling for him too. Wasn't losing Ianto enough torture? Was the universe such a cruel and capricious place that it would force Jack to go through it all again, to fall for and lose yet another Ianto Jones? Hadn't he suffered enough?

"Good, great, fan-fucking-tastic!" Jack muttered, realizing that Jones was probably expecting an answer. "Get him to the hospital; have him checked out thoroughly. Let Simmonds know what's going on while you're there," he ordered. Jack needed to get out of here and sooner rather than later.

"We need to get the bug and the lizard covered up; don't want the civilians seeing what's been running around Cardiff. We'll also have to make sure there aren't any more bugs to procreate. We'll have to call in a clean up team from London, but at this time of night they should be here in a couple of hours. I'll wait for them then head back to the Hub. You take care of your team, Jones.

"But before you do, get this god damned thing off of me!" Jack snarled, scratching at the armor disc still firmly attached to his neck, the armor still covering him from the base of his neck to the soles of his feet. It was a goad, a constant reminder of Jack's internal revelations, and it made him frantic – filled him with the same intense panic that was usually reserved for being buried alive – made him want to claw the thing off even if it meant ripping it from his flesh in chunks.

Without a word, Ianto reached up and placed his fingers against the back of Jack's neck, collecting the disc when the polymer resorbed into it. He glanced down at it, then set it back against his own neck, feeling the familiar slide as the armor coated his body. "Anything else?" he asked coolly, keeping a tight rein on his anger at Harkness' reaction.

Jack let out a long breath of air, releasing the tension as best he could and trying to let go of cloying panic. He was being an ass, and he knew it. "No I..." he paused and gathered his thoughts."Take care of your friends, Jones; they need you now, and I can take care of the clean up. I'll stop by the hospital as soon as I'm done to check in, but you don't need to deal with this shit as well as with Ross being hurt." Jack would be damned if he'd apologize for being pissed about the armor stunt though, and just thinking about it had him gritting his teeth against the urge to start yelling at the younger man for being so pig-headedly stupid. Jones had warned him about the 'den mother' mentality of his, but tonight had taken it too far for Jack to ignore any more.

However, right now he had a job to do, and getting into a brawl at a scene with one of his team leads was not part of that job. Forcing his temper back down, Jack pushed up to his feet and made a bee line for Tom and Ross. "Good work on the antivenin, Milligan, that's an impressive bit of medicine. How's he doing?"

"Stable," Tom replied shortly, "but I want to run a full battery of tests on him to make sure it's working, and I need a lab for that."

"Use the one at the hospital," Jack suggested. "That way you can stay close to your patient and work at the same time."

Tom nodded, his eyes on the readouts in the programs he'd pulled up on the medical scanner he carried. "I plan on it."

The rising sound of a siren cut through the night, and Ianto looked in its direction. "I'll get them and bring them back here," he said, crouching down by Ross and resting a hand on his forehead, frowning at the clammy coolness of his skin. "Take care of him, Tommy," he murmured before standing and loping back toward the road where they'd parked the SUV.

"Bit harsh with him, don't you think, sir?" Tom asked once Ianto was out of sight, "considering that armor probably saved your life."

Jack had to bite down on his cheek until he was sure he wouldn't yell in frustration. "Let me ask you this, Milligan," he began in a carefully controlled tone of voice. "Have I ever lied about something truly important? More than that, have I ever played fast and loose with anyone's life while knowing how dangerous this job is and how easy it is to die?"

"No sir," Tom replied immediately. Because while he'd lied about a few things and bent the truth on occasion to serve his purposes, the man from another universe had gone out of his way to make sure he took the risks that could get people killed rather than letting Alpha team do it.

"Another question – have either Rose or Doc ever lied or exaggerated about the big things – alien things?"

Again Tom was forced to admit that the answer was no.

"Then why the hell would any of us lie about this? Why is it so hard for you people to believe that I can't die, but you have no problem with the alien bipedal lizard exterminator lying dead not five feet away, never mind the venomous alien butterfly that's the size of a Cooper Mini. I just don't get it!" Jack ground out, throwing his figurative hands up in surrender.

"I don't want anyone else dying for me or because of me, and what Jones did tonight made that a very real and very terrifying possibility. I'm not letting him die on me too. No one else. Never again." With that Jack surged to his feet and stalked off towards the SUV, needing to do something with his hands or else he'd quite possibly go mad.

"Well shit," Tom muttered. "That went well."


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 13th, 2009 09:14 pm (UTC)
Yea! Another chapter... I haven't commented as often as I should, but I have to let you know how much I'm enjoying this. And why do I get the idea that Jack's going to have to die before anyone will believe he comes back.
Dec. 16th, 2009 09:15 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! Feedback isn;t necesarry, but we always appreciate it and as for Jack having to die, the boys are a stubborn lot!
Dec. 13th, 2009 09:25 pm (UTC)
OMG! Please let Jack and Ianto have a major blowout and crazy half-angry desperate sex afterwards.

Well, that takes care of my Xmas ship wish *LOL*

Loved it, you two. Talk about a pot-boiler, this is a pressure cooker!
Dec. 16th, 2009 09:15 pm (UTC)
Lalala we're not saying but stay tuned ;)
Dec. 13th, 2009 10:52 pm (UTC)
Oh dear. Two men with den mother attitudes squaring off. This is NOT going to be pretty.

Enjoying the story.
Dec. 16th, 2009 09:16 pm (UTC)
It's a competition to see who can out-mother the other Thanks and glad you're enjoying it!
Dec. 14th, 2009 09:15 am (UTC)
Er, should I say OH NO or OH YAY Jack is falling for AU Ianto.

*gulp* I feel for him in this chapter, I dont know what he would have done had JOnes been killd because he had Jones's armer.

Grat update more soon please
Dec. 16th, 2009 09:19 pm (UTC)
It's something of a combination of the two, yes? It;s hard for Jack, but Jones wasn't going to let him run in with no protection - hrmm, I wonder why...
Dec. 15th, 2009 02:39 am (UTC)
I loved the latest update. I'm definitely with 100px_x_100px. We need a blow-up and then the hot steamy makeup sex.
Dec. 16th, 2009 09:20 pm (UTC)
Thanks! And hrmm, it's possible that something could be brewing...
Dec. 15th, 2009 05:21 am (UTC)
Great update! Loved every bit of this story. I was not quite sure about Jack/Jake at first, but after these couple of chapters, I thought you guys did an amazing job!! Can't wait for more!
Dec. 16th, 2009 09:24 pm (UTC)
Thanks very much! Glad Jake/Jack ended up making sense - Jake was more of a buffer to give Jack a soft landing into this universe. More to come soon!
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )