Arc 2 Ch2 Facts, Fight & Frustration
Series 3 did not happen
Title: Prophecy Shaken & Stirred: Arc 2: Surviving Day by Day Chapter 2: Facts, Fight & Frustration
Fandom: Torchwood/BtVS-AtS Crossover
Genre: Slash, Elements of Het, Hurt/Comfort
Pairing: Spike/Xander, Jack/Ianto, Dawn/Connor, Gwen/Rys
Set: After episode To the Last Man for Torchwood is almost a tag for that episode in the Torchwood section of the fic. Post Season 7 Buffy and post Season 5 Angel. Ignores the comics. Will weave in and out of canon Torchwood episodes so all events of series one and two are fair game as is any episode of Doctor Who that deals with events in Cardiff, no matter how tangentially.
Disclaimer: I only own my OCs
Xander disconnected the call by closing his cell with a click. Spike had told him that they had finally herded the last of the customers out the door shortly after midnight. The four men were going to hurry through the closing routine so they could get back to their home, and they should be here soon.
The bar was usually open later, but Xander had finished reading the documents provided by Evil Inc. and he needed to let the rest of the guys know what information the papers contained. The others had left him home to care for the babies rather than drag the little ones out, which they had been doing several times a week. Not wanting the children being brought up by a series of baby sitters, they opted to bring them to the bar at night when it wasn't feasible for someone to stay home with them. The only nights they regularly stayed with the sitter were weekends or when they expected the bar to be packed, usually when a popular band was booked.
Xander had taken a nap after the whole bedtime ritual was performed. It was nearly like a Wiccan rite with everything having a set order and chaos erupting if every action wasn't in its proper order. He had been doing this for months back home, taking turns with the new parents when they needed a break so it was old hat to him. Xander had set the alarm so he would awaken around the time the others were scheduled to close the barar. He was now awake, waiting for the other men to return. As busy as their lives were, they tended to take sleep were they could get it. It had been nice, doing the family thing, playing uncle, feeding the little ones, bathing them and reading them a story before they went to sleep. It reminded him why they fought so hard, why they needed to find a way back home.
After the meeting, Angel and Connor were going to engage in some father-son bonding time, demon style. He had seen the pained expression on his friend’s face at the news… all Xander could think was how happy he was that it was Connor who got shafted …uh the honor of Angel’s company on patrol rather than himself and Spike. Xander was afraid that was up next on the elder Vampire's agenda.
Connor had originally moved to England in part to put some distance between himself and his father. Being trapped together, living together was uncomfortable for both of them. Seeing Angel trying and mostly failing in the role of father was painful to watch, but Connor and Angel were trying to get along. They were all trying, to get along, to fit in, because they knew they had to stick together to protect themselves and more importantly protect the twins. *******
The meeting took place shortly after everyone arrived home. It was informal and Xander hoped it wouldn’t take too long. There weren’t many items that needed going over; just what he had learned about Torchwood and UNIT. He also was planning to question Oz about what had the wolf so freaked out. The normally calm man was on edge and with the next full moon only a week away, Xander couldn’t wait for Oz to resolve this issue on his own. A few days ago, Oz’s eyes had glowed for a brief moment when someone had annoyed him. That was very much not in character for the normally laid back man, it also was an indication that his control had a good chance of slipping during the full moon. Before he could approach his friend, Oz took Xander aside and asked to speak to him later.
Xander was nearly certain that whatever was troubling his friend stemmed from a research project he had given Oz. If it had affected the wolf so dramatically, he worried at the effect whatever information the hacker had found out would have on the rest of their group. He hoped that the wolf wanted to talk about whatever was troubling him.
As the group took their favorite spots in their living room and sprawled comfortably on the couches and chairs, Xander started passing out the printouts he had made up. It was a presentation of the sort he would have been obligated give if he had an office job or was still in school, if his teachers could only see him now. Giles had made him do a few of these for the council so he had done them before. Didn’t mean he liked to do it though.
Xander sat in the place Spike had left for him, next to his lover. The blond vampire wrapped his arms around the younger man as they both got comfortable. Xander cleared his throat and began, “I’ve finally finished reading through the information Evil Inc. was so kind to share with us.” Everyone in the room could hear the sarcasm dripping from his words. Angel grimaced at the thought of the mortal going directly to the law firm.
Xander continued, “While there is no, well, not no, but really limited demonic activity in this world, aliens are a reality, and a threat. The general public is not really aware of them, in many ways it’s a form of Sunnydale syndrome, not believing in something that you can’t explain through normal means.
“The government is aware of aliens and their threat to the world. Torchwood is an agency formed to deal with these threats. UNIT is another group that deals with alien threats. Torchwood seems to be mostly exclusively British, from the reports I’ve seen. UNIT is run through the UN and has branches in a lot of different countries, with the ability to mobilize where needed.”
The men started reading through the reports in front of them.
“Wolfram & Hart doesn’t have much information on Torchwood 3, which is the branch that is located here in Cardiff. Wolfram & Hart doesn’t have the capacity for, or easy access to magic like they do in other realms, as you are aware. They rely more on espionage, bribery and theft for the same information they use magic for elsewhere. Torchwood London was a large organization and Wolfram&Hart had several agents placed there before the demise of that office a few years ago. Apparently, they also had an agent in the local office until the turn of the Millennium. There was some sort of accident or incident and the whole team was killed. The current team leader is very selective in who he hires. So far, they haven’t been able to infiltrate. Evil Inc,’s minion claims all their bugs have been found and destroyed too, but I’m not entirely sure of that.”
Angel quietly seethed in his seat, “Who's your contact at Wolfram & Hart?”
Xander leafed through his papers, “I spoke to a Lindsey McDonald,” Xander was interrupted by a menacing growl. His eyebrows met his hairline and he shot a questioning look at his lover.
Spike answered Xander’s unasked question, “This McDonald wanker caused a lot of problems for Peaches back in the day, or at least the version running around our world did. Always had a hidden agenda. Was Peaches’ nemesis. He was instrumental in bringing back Darla, the bitch, from beyond the grave. A regular thorn in Peaches’ side. Come to think of it I’m not exactly fond of the bloke myself.”
Xander sighed, “Whatever bleachie, this McDonald dude sounds truly brilliant, what kind of idiot would have wanted Darla back? A Darwin award winner? I mean come on! Anyway, he passed me off to Gavin Park, that's the dude who sent me the info.” Xander neglected to add he had to threaten the lawyer with bodily harm first.
Looking through the pictures, Oz gave a low whistle, “Impressive,” was the only word uttered as he looked at the photos of the smoldering rubble of Torchwood Tower.
Xander glanced at the image Oz was referring to, “Yeah, it is,” he said then continued, “Evil Inc isn’t sure if what happened was due to outside influence, some internal experiment gone wrong or a combination of the two. There were 26 or 27 survivors… The complex had a staff in the neighborhood of 800.”
Oz quickly did the figures in his head, “That's roughly a 3-4% survival rate.”
As sobering as that thought was, Xander moved on. “As upsetting as that is, the documents I have say that Torchwood One was interested in experimentation on pretty much anything not human and quite possibly on humans as well. I need Oz to review a lot of this stuff cause science is so not my thing.”
Xander passed the papers over to Oz to take a look, a frown of concentration and a slight look of revulsion, settled on the wolf’s face as he started to read. Xander sighed internally, not entirely sure such a vivid reminder of Oz's time spent as a prisoner of the Initiative was a good idea but aware he had few alternatives.
“What about UNIT?” Connor asked. “Are they the same as Torchwood?”
Xander pursed his lips before answering, “Yes and no. In some ways they are worse. They are much more militaristic, which could lead to problems, but they have less local influence and seem to do less experimentation. Honestly though, I wouldn’t want either of them to find out about us.”
There were various noises of agreement throughout the group.
Xander went through each name on the local Torchwood staff. Park had provided no pictures to go along with the names. It was annoying but pretty much par for the course in his dealings with the troublesome law firm. Xander decided to take Oz's concentration away from the disturbing papers he had given the wolf. “Oz, since our generous,” once again his voice was dripping with sarcasm, “benefactors seem to have forgotten to include photographs to go along with the names in the files they sent, do you think you could do a little online snooping, see if you can find any pictures to go with these names?”
Oz looked at the folder thoughtfully. “I’d have to go through Wolfram&Hart again, otherwise even routing through anonymous servers in other countries, it would lead them right back to us. Not really sure I’d find anything either. Last time I found lots of empty files and they were on to me fast, I mean like Willow fast. If I hadn’t used some low level technopagan stuff I'd have been caught, even with routing through Wolfram&Hart. I don’t know if it’s worth the risk. It could draw them to us.” Oz concluded. The others looked at him; it was the most that he had spoken since he got off the plane from Tibet. Xander didn’t act like it was anything unusual. Oz was a man of few words in general, but he knew what to say and when to say it when needed.
“OK, we do this the old fashioned way then, newspapers and microfilm. See if any of the local libraries still use microfilm. We’ll try and see if the local press has captured any of the elusive Torchwood staff on film.” Oz nodded. It was a good back up plan, less likely to be traced in this digital day and age and there were older library systems that did still use these archiving methods.
Xander looked at Connor and said, “Help Oz with that, OK?”
Connor pulled a patently fake sour face and said, “Research! Oh! Joy!” and then ducked the balled up piece of paper Xander threw at his head with a laugh.
The meeting was almost over. There were just two more items that he wanted to cover before they broke up for the night.
“Just a couple of more things then we’re done guys. Bear with me please.
“Park sent me another file. A file about an alien. A specific alien, a time traveling one. I was ready to dismiss it out of hand, thought that the file had to be doctored until I read all of the other files and realized that aliens were pretty common here. The thing about this guy is, according to what the files say, he travels between dimensions too. IF we find him and IF he is a white hat, we might be able to get back home, without worrying about the consequences of using black magic or waiting for Dawn or Willow to find us.”
"That's a lot of ifs, Harris," Angel interjected.
Xander closed his eye and asked for patience from every god and goddess he knew and even made some random beseechments to local deities. Why did The Powers That Suck have to spring Dead boy from his Hell dimension vacation all those years ago? It was something Xander wondered on the last Tuesday of every month and all day on February 29 during leap year. He took a calming breath and looked at Angel as if the answer was obvious, "Yeah, it is Dead boy and we won't know the answers until and unless he shows up. It's a long shot that we’ll ever get to meet him, but we have to keep our options open." Xander looked at both Angel and Connor then knowing they had experienced what he was about to speak about. "Another reason I'm mentioning this alien as a way to get us home is that he moves in TIME and space. We don't know if time is moving the same pace back home as it is here, do we Angel?" What Xander really wanted to say to the generally smug dark vampire was, remind me how long were you stuck in hell for... I seemed to have forgotten, but he restrained himself, barely.
The others were in agreement; none of them were willing to use a blood sacrifice to get home. While they were resigned to waiting for Willow or Dawn to find them, if they could find a way home on their own more quickly they would be more than willing to take it. The added factor of having the possibility of moving in time too was just an added bonus.
Xander looked down at his notes to see what he had not covered yet, "I think I’ve told everyone those creatures that look like B movie rejects are called weevils by Torchwood." He looked up at the pained groan he heard, positive it came from Connor, "Don’t complain to me about the name, I had nothing to do with it. Though they look like demons, they are in fact aliens. Weevils do attack people even when not provoked so they are officially on the slay list. Just be careful on patrols, they can be vicious. Also, Torchwood has been known to round up weevils too and the whole idea is to avoid them, so be on guard.”
Connor spoke up, “We might want to start utilizing our sewer accesses more often. It looks like, from these reports, that Torchwood has free reign over the whole CCTV system, both the public and private cameras. Try to stay aware of the camera placement. If you have to drop a weevil or demon in sight of one, try to get to an area that camera coverage is spotty then hit the underground tunnels as quickly as possible. With the basement sewer system access we have here and at the bar, we should be fine.”
Xander nodded approvingly, he had been teaching Connor tactics and planning. The younger man already had a solid background in these topics due to the teachings of his foster father, Holtz.
Everyone looked like they were ready for the meeting to end, but Xander had one more point he wanted to cover. It might not be important but ... "One last thing before we're finished. Park was reluctant, but he eventually told me that about 3 months or so before we turned up the computer network at Wolfram&Hart almost had a meltdown. Just a day or so after the American President was assassinated." That was one occurrence that had NOT happened in their dimension, thank the goddess. "The whole network worldwide, in every branch. Their tech guys swore it wasn't a virus. They had one guy who's a really low level Wicca who thought it was like a spell, but their magic user was incapacitated at the same time. He's supposedly the only guy on the planet with enough mojo to pull something like this off. The IT guys were swearing up and down that the system was behaving like it had lost a huge chunk of data, like maybe a year's worth." Xander trailed off, technical issues and pretty much anything dealing with computers were not his strength. "But the dates were correct and the date/time stamps had not been edited."
Oz shuffled through the report he had until he was viewing the same information. "Weird, almost like time got erased. Take a powerful witch to pull that off. Or an extremely talented hacker to take the data but make it seem like nothing was missing."
Xander hummed in agreement, "I got the impression that the head honchos at Evil Inc were totally wigged by whatever it was, wigged enough to let it slip to us to see if we could figure out what happened. Up to you Oz, you could take it on as a project; charge 'em your going rate. Hells charge 'em double, its Evil Inc after all."
Angel glowered and growled at Xander's flippant tone but otherwise stayed silent.
The wolf grunted noncommittally. "I'll take a look at it."
Xander looked again at the stack of papers he was holding, "I've got nothing else, so if there aren't any questions--? " Xander trailed off. "OK, looks like we're through."
The men got up from their seats, Connor and Angel going to the closet that contained a small weapons locker. The other three men could hear the father and son bickering back and forth. "Take the larger broad sword. The last time you used it you were swinging like a human. You've been slacking off on your training."
They then heard, slightly more muffled coming from the closet, the sound of metal clacking against metal, also audible was Connor's reply, "I was not Pops. You must be losing your eye sight in your old age."
"Pops!?! Hey wait a second! Old! Old??!! Who are you calling old!? Hey! I'm talking to you! Don't you dare walk away from me!" the rest of the reply cut off by the sound of the front door slamming shut. Pictures rattled on the walls and a whimper was heard from the bedroom where the children were sleeping. The trio held their collective breath willing the child back to sleep. After a few moments with no further sound, they relaxed.
"Dead boy is soo lucky his little stunt didn't wake one of those kids up!" Xander muttered in the wake of the dark vampire's dramatic exit.
Oz took that as a cue to start talking. He had waited to start the discussion with Xander until after Angel and Connor had left. "We need to talk," the young wolf said.
"Sounds serious," Xander commented, sitting back down and getting comfortable again. Spike started out of the room thinking to give them some privacy, if he needed to know, Xander would tell him later.
Before Oz answered Xander, he called out to Spike, "Stay, Spike, you need to hear this too. It's serious, very serious." The blond Vampire settled back in the same seat as earlier, next to his lover.
Oz paced the length of the room. He seemed unsure how to tell his friends whatever was on his mind. Xander was about to start asking the wolf questions, hoping that would prompt the wolf to start talking on his own. Spike was sitting down bouncing his leg getting impatient. It was a really bad idea to keep the blond vampire waiting.
On his next turn to face the other two men, Oz started speaking, "Back in SunnyD when you guys were battling the First, what was it like?"
Of all the things Oz could have asked them, told them, or said to them, this was the last topic Xander expected him to broach. The one eyed carpenter glanced at his lover and shrugged, then looked back at his friend, "Depends. A lot went on during that time. Caleb was running around killing women. We had potentials coming in from all corners of the globe, dozens of them. Spike was more than a little crazy with his soul being all new and shiny. I fixed more broken toilets, windows, door-jams and furniture then ever before in my life. The old council was blown up. Caleb thought it'd be kicks and giggles to poke my eye out with his thumb... I'm I getting close?"
Oz ran his hands through his purple tinted hair and blew out a breath, "In the final battle what caused the crater, what caused SunnyD to collapse? A spell? Willow's empowerment spell? What? I mean it had to mystical, it’s the only thing that makes sense..." The last bit said more to himself than to his friends.
Xander could see that Spike had had enough as the blond stood up and stalked towards the smaller wolf. "What are you on about, mate?"
Oz had had his back to the vampire and spun abruptly, more than close enough to be invading the vampire's personal space. "I'll tell you what I'm 'on' about. On May 20, 2003, the town that sits at the same longitude and latitude in this dimension as Sunnydale sat in our home dimension vanished in a sinkhole. There were only a handful of survivors."
Oz's statement was met with stunned silence. *******
It had been a long day, but a relatively easy one. They had an alert, but no alien incursion, just a bit of tech that washed up through the rift. A couple of weevils crawling out of the sewers capped off the day, a peaceful reprieve after the emotionally charged events of the last few weeks.
As soon as the others had left, Jack sought out his lover, tracking the younger man down in the archives. He enticed Ianto out of his sanctuary with a few kisses. The two men shared an evening meal of take away, then concluded their night in Jack’s quarters below his office.
Jack stayed for a time wrapped in his lover’s embrace, but he became restless and he feared he would eventually wake the younger man. Ianto already lost enough sleep working for Torchwood and spending time with Jack, so the immortal was loath to wake him. He gently edged his way out of the bed. Once he had extricated himself, he quickly dressed. Jack took a moment before he left to stare down at his sleeping lover. Unbeknownst to Jack, his eyes were unguarded, and all the feelings he kept hidden both from himself and from Ianto were clearly visible as he looked at the younger man. He tenderly ran a hand through his lover’s hair, brushing a few strands off his forehead; then placed a gentle kiss in their place, before abruptly turning and leaving the room, silently climbing the ladder out of his cubby. Now that he had the freedom to move about as he willed Jack found that he was restless at night, even more so than he used to be. If there were no rift alerts or weevils to hunt, the immortal would roam. Occasionally he would stand guard on a rooftop, keeping watch over Cardiff. Tonight that was his destination, a high rooftop where he could see for miles and miles. Where he could keep watch over the city he protected.
Jack could have used one of the buildings nearby, he had done so many times in the past, but tonight the restlessness drove him to walk the city streets first. The freedom to do that simple task was still too new to not be savored. Jack found the building he had been looking for. The locks were easily overcome with a flick of his wrist strap and the press of a few buttons. Jack took his time climbing the stairs rather than starting the lift. He finally exited the building with a flourish, door banging against its frame and coat tails whipping around his legs. He stood there at the roof's edge, eyes closed, taking a deep breath of the cold, crisp night air. It was an unusually clear night in Cardiff and several constellations could be easily seen. Jack gazed at the heavens, first searching for a star system not visible to the naked eye, one that would not have human inhabitants for many thousands of years. Then his gaze changed, taking in the beauty of the star systems that were visible. Jack finally switched his gaze to the surrounding city looking at the twinkling lights of the buildings and vehicles of the place he currently called home. The city he returned to after rejecting the Doctor's offer to travel with him again. If the Doctor had been even one year earlier, Jack might well have taken him up on his offer. The immortal didn't have to think what -- who kept him tied to this place and time. *******
Angel and Connor roamed the darker areas of Cardiff. Not for the first time, Angel felt the loss of his seer. It seemed they stumbled blindly from place to place regardless of what the young ones tried to tell him. Computer models? Police reports? Routine patrols? Bah! It was much easier when the Powers sent visions to a seer.
They had run into some slime demons however, so there could be something to these methods the younglings employed. The impertinence of youth, his own son calling him old! Connor was a good fighter. As bitter a pill as it was to swallow, Holtz had taught the boy well. That didn't mean his training couldn't be honed. Or that Angel didn't resent the fact that someone else trained the boy.
The time spent in this dimension was the longest chunk of time the father and son had spent together without trying to kill one another -- ever. It helped that they had to work together to survive. The others being there as a buffer didn't hurt either. That Connor had gotten the happily ever after ending with Buffy's sister of all people, just added to the tension in an already tense situation. Angel wanted to have some type of relationship with his son, but no matter what he tried he seemed to always do something that resulted in Connor being upset with him. He had suggested their patrolling together to try and nurture a more positive relationship. It didn't seem to be working.
They were on their way to the last place they needed to check for the night before returning home. There had been reports of bodies being dumped, the circumstances sounding remarkably like Vampire bites. His hopes for their patrol being bonding time with Connor all but extinguished.
Angel broke off from Connor; he wanted to get an aerial view of the hunting grounds. He also wanted a good vantage point to assess and critique his son's fighting style, training slayers or not, the boy had picked up some bad habits, likely from Harris or Spike. The dark vampire chose a smaller high rise building and scrambled to gain a perch on the roof. As he was climbing, he heard a variation of the cheesy classic line most fledges liked to use.
"Take out? I didn't order take out."
"It's take away you moron! You're in the land of tweed; use the local lingo for goddess sakes! Demons like you give us Americans a bad name," Connor retorted, not at all phased by the yellow eyed game faced vampire standing in front of him.
The creature was dressed in an old tee shirt with the name of a rock band emblazoned on the front and a pair of dirty ripped jeans. There were 2 other beings standing just behind him with human features, similarly dressed laughing uncontrollably at their "leader's" feeble joke.
"You're not scared," the nameless vampire observed. "You're supposed to be scared," he continued and using his unnatural speed raced to capture the healthy human looking male before him... only to come up empty. The vampire looked stupidly at his empty arms. Then looked back up where Connor had been standing, finally finding his "easy" prey standing a few feet away leaning against a crumbling brick wall. Connor smirked, he could practically see the fledge acting like his own toddlers, stomping his feet and having a tantrum because he didn't get his way.
"I'm over here doofus, gods... you vamps are getting dumber and dumber. How old are you clowns anyway? You're acting like you just crawled out of the grave," Connor taunted.
The lead vampire charged again and Connor side stepped him--again. This time one of his companions tried to sneak up on Connor. The Destroyer threw him over his shoulder into the wall. He dusted his hands off and said, "Haven't you guys ever heard of the Slayer?"
"Slayer?! There's no Slayer on this world, one of the reasons I came here." The vampire who had been flipped over Connor's shoulder muttered. He looked put out that their easy meal had decided to fight back, and was besting them.
Interesting Connor thought. They must have come here before we did or maybe after, they were just too dumb to have survived the battle in the hangar. "You're right there's no Slayer here, buuuut," Connor drew out the single syllable word, "I worked with her, you may have heard of me." The vampires looked at him as if he had lost his mind. Connor continued speaking, "My name's Connor, Connor Riley," the vamps looked at him in confusion and geared up for an attack. "Connor Angel?" One of the vamps pulled up short at that briefly, facial expression showing a vague sense of recognition then he continued his advance. Connor knew even if they charged him he could still defeat them, probably. If not, he was reasonably sure that even though they argued incessantly, Angel would not leave him to get hurt or killed. At least he hoped. "Connor Summers?" That got slightly more of a response but the next was the most effective. Connor sighed, "I really didn't want to mention this but, they call me the Destroyer, and you three had a part in the abduction of my children." His facial expression turned feral at the end of his monologue.
Connor exploded into motion not decapitating or staking anyone, at least not yet, but he had two of the three on the floor groaning, the third was running for the nearest exit when Angel dropped down from his vantage point blocking off the avenue of escape. The terrified vampire cast panicked looks in every direction before exploding in dust from the stake Angel shoved into its chest.
Angel frowned through the falling ash at his son, "You've definitely been hanging around Harris and Spike too long, these three should have been dust by now."
Connor cast an annoyed glance at his father. The vamp that had been running was the weakest link. The one Connor felt most likely to spill whatever he knew about the people or demons responsible for kidnapping his children. The blood sucker wouldn't have gotten far even though he had been running.
"You ever think I wanted him to get away?" Connor took a full arched swing, spinning to cleave his opponent in half. He wanted at least one of these blood suckers alive dammit, this move would incapacitate the vamp but not kill it.
"Why?" was Angel's puzzled reply. He then continued with his critique, "You broadcasted that swing, if you were fighting something a little smarter than newly dead fledges, you'd be in trouble boy."
"I did not broadcast that swing! You know what, do me a huge favor and take Spike or Xander out with you next time if you feel like doing some family bonding. Please! You're driving me crazy!" Connor then told his father, "I wanted one alive because of the comment his friend made about coming here because there was no Slayer. I wanted more info on who recruited them."
As Connor was speaking, Angel dusted the second bloodsucker, leaving the gravely injured vampire as the only one left living or well unliving. Connor started over to the last vamp determined to question him, only to find that he was so gravely injured he was unresponsive. Connor pulled his stake and ended the vampire's existence quickly.
Suddenly the sound of running footsteps filled the air. Both Aurellians cocked their heads estimating the speed, distance and direction the sound was coming from. It was headed towards them. Connor searched the alley, looking for an alternate exit, finding a sewer entrance, he motioned his father towards it and the two men were soon pulling the cover back into place over their heads as the sound drew closer and someone entered the alley. *******
Jack stared sightlessly out over the city not seeing the view in front of him. Instead he was caught up in memories. Pain and helplessness were the primary feelings he was reliving, then death and black nothingness. That was followed by fear, loneliness and more pain as he revived. Over and over he relived the deaths the Master visited on him, the Freak. A montage of images-- the Doctor aged and infirm unable to even walk without assistance, Martha's sister Tish, giving him what small comforts she could under the ever watchful eye of the UNIT guards, the Master crowing about having sent Torchwood Three, Jack's team, to the Himalayas. Death after death after death, replayed in front of his unseeing eyes, and the one thing that kept him sane, thinking about his lover waiting for him, once they were able to reverse time. Thoughts of Ianto were literally all Jack had at times to keep him going.
Jack was yanked out of his memories abruptly, causing him to stumble from vertigo while standing dangerously close to the buildings edge. He shook his head to clear it. So far, this had only happened while Jack was alone and unoccupied, mostly while he wandered the city at night. Occasionally in his office when he was alone in the Hub. It had never happened while he was with someone, even when he was with Ianto in bed while the younger man slept and Jack was for all intents and purposes, alone.
As Jack collected himself, he noticed the flicker of a shadow on a nearby lower rooftop. The flicker resolved itself into a man sized shape, which stepped off the roof and fell through the air. Jack was too far to see if the figure was a man or a woman, he couldn't even tell if it was human or alien from this distance. He expected to hear a sharp impact. The rate the body would be falling by the time it hit the ground guaranteeing a loud noise. Jack knew the feeling of hitting the ground from a tall building intimately, not the nicest way to die. John had thrown him from a similar height only a few short weeks ago. Jack braced himself for the thud... that never came. As he watched, the figure landed gracefully then sped away. Jack was on his way to the door to the roof before his brain fully understood what had happened. He bypassed the lifts certain that waiting on them now would just slow him down. Nothing completely human would walk away from a fall like that. Even Jack wasn't able to just get up and walk away like that immediately after falling from that height without dying and reviving first, never mind running away so quickly after reaching the ground. The being had to have been alien, even though no rift alerts had sounded.
That thought spurred Jack on and he ran faster and faster down the steps each floor a blur as it whizzed by, the sound of his heart thumping in his ears, his breath rasping as he pushed his body hard to try and catch whatever he had seen. Finally the exit door was in sight, which he hit at a dead run. Jack cleared the building's doors to the sounds of fight nearby. He heard the clang of metal on stone and a yell, not in pain or fear, but in anger. He ran to the alley that he had seen the figure duck into just before Jack left the roof. As he rounded the corner, the sounds stopped and the night grew quiet. Jack entered the alley and found nothing. Garbage, puddles of water, packing crates and pallets, odd debris and detritus was strewn around the area. Some surfaces were covered in a fine coating of ash, but not one living thing was in that alley, that dead ended alley. Jack spun around and looked in all directions, breathing heavily as he tried to catch his breath, but found no clues where the being might have gone. He glanced upwards and found no cameras in the area, no CCTV footage to review. Jack stood there hands on his hips, coat bunched up at the sides, and puffed out a long sigh in irritation, ruffling his bangs. Nothing else for him to do here, he might as well go back to the Hub, maybe he could wake Ianto a little early today... *******
Spike lay in bed wrapped tightly around his mate. Oz's news had unleashed an emotional torrent for the younger man, bringing up unresolved issues from the fall of Sunnydale, Spike and Anya's deaths most notably, a well as opening whole new issues to worry over. Did Giles, Willow and Buffy know that closing the Hellmouth would have such wide reaching consequences? Spike wasn't sure if Xander knew if the possibility had been discussed. His mate had never been research boy though he could, if pressed, hold his own with the book crowd. The problem was, those were the weeks immediately leading up to the fall of Sunnyhell. A time frame that Xander spent mostly dazed, by either the pain or pain medications. Spike was sure of that, his demon had railed that someone, something had damaged his property, property given to him years earlier by his grandsire. His inner demon had kept close tabs on the young mortal as he slowly healed after Caleb's attack. Spike blamed himself for not being able to prevent the injury in the first place. No matter if Xander or the rest of the group knew of the consequences or not, Spike knew Xander felt responsible for the loss of life his actions in their home dimension caused. The young mortal had sobbed his penance into his lover's arms until he fell into an exhausted but fitful sleep.
Once Xander had finally succumbed to his fatigue, Spike had time to think about the information Oz had obtained. He was relatively certain that the Amulet was the key. The Amulet he had worn in the Hellmouth. The one that immolated him. The one he had been interred in, then woken up from as a ghost. The one Angel had given to Buffy. He wasn't entirely sure where his grandsire had obtained the magical item, but he would find out.
A/N I do have a beta but would love another set of eyes to look this over.