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Chapter 13


The first real Torchwood case that Methos, MacLeod, and Dawson had been involved with had gone true to form – a clusterfuck from start to finish. First, Rhys had become entangled in the mess, and then Gwen had been unable to stand down despite Rhys’ involvement. While her fiancé had proven an asset, Gwen’s own conduct was less than professional. Her determination to protect her partner had gotten him shot, resulted in Dawson being cracked over the head with a pipe, and put Ianto at the business end of a gun. Only the Welshman’s quick thinking – and a dagger Methos had slipped him just as they reached the warehouse – prevented total catastrophe.


When it was over, the cleanup had taken hours. They had to destroy the space whale and remove all traces of it from the warehouse before dealing with the bastards who had tortured it. Ianto mixed the Retcon himself, adding an extra boost that should have the morons reliving the worst moments of puberty.


“This would go faster with more help,” Owen grumbled to Ianto and Methos as they began incinerating the last load of evidence. “Bloody Cooper always does get out of the dirty work. I could’ve treated Rhys just fine and she could have been down here slaving away.” Angry when Owen ignored Rhys in favour of examining an unconscious Dawson, the former PC had demanded to take her fiancé to the A&E. Not surprisingly, Jack had given in.


“I haven’t known Gwen long,” Methos observed, easily hefting a large bin bag. “However, I doubt we’d get much help out of her with this.”


“Worked that out, did you?” Owen growled bitterly. “What about your boyfriend? This work too dirty for his delicate sensibilities?”


“You are either the bravest man I’ve ever met or the stupidest,” Methos replied menacingly, turning on Owen so fast the doctor barely saw him move. “First, he’s my partner, not my boyfriend and second, Duncan MacLeod might be many things, but delicate he’s not. Insult him again and death by Torchwood will be the least of your problems.”


“Easy,” Owen held up his hands. “I’m the one that should be insulted.”


“How do you figure that?” Ianto asked, eyebrows raised as Methos snorted.


Owen jerked his head in the direction of the Immortal. “His ‘partner’ didn’t trust me to check out Dawson anymore than Gwen trusted me to take care of Rhys.” MacLeod had followed Gwen’s lead, insisting that Dawson be examined fully at the A&E and have his head scanned for a possible concussion, even though both Owen and Methos said it was not necessary.


“Look,” Methos glared at the medic. “I really don’t have time to stroke your ego, but don’t take Mac dragging Joe to the A&E personally. I’m a doctor with a hell of a lot more experience than you have and he barely let’s me treat Joe. Dawson is the only family Mac has. He’s been a friend to both of us through Hell. If Mac’s a bit overprotective of the man, so be it.”


“Dawson can take care of himself from what I saw,” Owen observed, thinking about the way he had covered them at the warehouse with that mean looking sawed off that he carried. If not for the one bloke that the reconnaissance team – meaning Gwen and Jack – had missed, the older man might have gotten them all out of the situation without a scratch and they might even have been able to save the creature. Joe had Dale and his crew pinned with a couple of well-placed shots when the idiot had gotten the drop on him. “He’s a hell of a shot and clearly not afraid to shoot or even kill to protect people,” Owen added, his voice indicating that he thought highly of the older American veteran.


“No,” Methos agreed, shaking his head. “He’s not. He’d kill for Mac or for me, but he’d also die for us, and that’s what terrifies both of us.”


“Then why let him?” Owen muttered darkly, the issues he’d had with having even more immortals in Torchwood coming to the forefront. “He’s mortal. Why drag him into your shit? Or any of us for that matter?”


Methos glared at the doctor. “Because it’s disrespectful of him to treat him like a child who doesn’t know his own mind. Joe knows the risks and chooses to take them. As for the rest of you, it looks like our ‘shit’ as you put it is your shit, too. If Jack’s telling the truth – and he has no reason to lie about this – Immortals play a big part in what’s coming. I’d rather be on the right side of it; I hope you would too, or what the fuck are you doing here? Go work for NHS somewhere.” He turned to Ianto. “We done here?”


Ianto nodded. “That’s the last of it. Jack and Tosh should be back from Retconning those wankers.”


“Great,” Methos headed back into the main part of the Hub without a backwards glance.


Owen snorted. “That one has a stellar personality,” he observed, deciding the other man was a right git. “Makes me look positively friendly.”


“He’s nice enough,” Ianto sighed as they made their way out of the incinerator area. “I’ve enjoyed talking to him. He knows a lot about Cardiff and Welsh history. Seems to genuinely care about people, too.”


“Sounds like you’ve got a crush, Tea Boy,” the doctor sighed, sounding like he was taking pity on the younger man. “What is it with you and hopeless cases? First Jack, now this guy? You’ve seen how he looks at MacLeod. Though, he did seem more worried about you today than Jack was. You could’ve gotten your head blown off, and Jack wouldn’t have cared.”


Ianto wheeled, pinning a shocked looking Owen to the wall with an arm against his throat. “Adam is right. You’re either brave or stupid. Don’t dare even try to imagine what Jack was thinking in that warehouse. All of us could have been killed and he would have just had to watch. Just because he didn’t throw himself at me and shower me with kisses does not mean he doesn’t care. He cares about all of us more than you’ll ever know. So just leave it.” He released Owen, who brought his hand up to his sore neck.


“Everything okay here?” Jack asked from a few feet away, the tone of his voice making it clear he’d heard everything. He met Ianto’s gaze for just a moment.


Breaking eye contact, Ianto replied, “Sure. Everything’s fine. Suspects taken care of?”


“Retconned back to puberty and dumped with the Cardiff PD,” Jack assured him. “Tosh has planted a few things to make them look guilty of some unsolved cases that were actually aliens. They’ll do real time for them. Everything else disposed of?” he asked, eyeing them suspiciously.


“Completely,” Ianto reported, keeping his voice even.


“I sure could use a coffee,” Jack said with a smile.


“On it,” Ianto returned the grin and disappeared into the kitchen.


“Jack,” Owen began, looking half-ashamed and half-smug.


“Save it,” came the snarled reply. “They may be wondering, but I’m not. You really are that stupid if you think it didn’t hurt like hell for me to see him at the end of that gun today. Just do yourself a favour and stop antagonizing people before someone shoots you again or worse.” Jack stalked off, leaving a stunned Owen in his wake.






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Teach

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