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Not Human Enough

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"So." Gwen began as she dropped down on the tatty sofa beside Ianto. "What's it like?"

Ianto looked up at his friend with utter confusion, half finished doughnut in his hand and a napkin tucked into his collar to avoid ruining one of his newer suits. Ianto finished chewing and wiped his mouth before talking, he had manners after all.

"Huh?"

"C'mon Ianto, you know what I mean! You and Jack, give us the goss." Gwen smirked and Ianto felt himself blush, she wasn’t going to let up and Ianto knew there was no winning, either she knew the truth or she’d guess and come up with things way worse and make Ianto blush even more. It was just Tosh, Gwen, and himself, the other two men out on a quick and simple Rift job. Ianto had been enjoying the quiet, with noting really going n, Tosh busy at her computer and Gwen doing whatever she was doing as he enjoyed a mug of coffee and one of the doughnuts he had bought the team that afternoon.

"Well, he is…" Ianto thought back to their latest romp which so happened to be down in his little archives office, Ianto saying fuck it to taking things slow and just wanting to be with and near Jack like before but better now they were officially dating - or at least that’s what Ianto hoped they were doing, they’d had a date now, but they hadn’t really talked - and Ianto hadn’t realised he’d drifted into day dreaming about their time together until Gwen smacked his arm.

"That good?! Jesus, Ianto." She laughed sweetly and Ianto felt his cheeks heat up more, his own fault rather than Gwen’s this time. He also spotted Tosh shifting in his chair. No doubt trying to subtly listen in on the gossip. She already knew a lot from their nightly slumber parties, her complaining about Owen while he complained about Jack.

"He's something, although his bed manners are atrocious." Ianto muttered the last part as he took a sip of mug, feeling like an older woman gossiping about Karen down the street or Dave across the road with a cup of wine and her friend across the table doing the same thing while the kids were at school.

"Oo, do share."

"He seems to think that while we're doing...ya'know, that it's a good time to ask for coffee for afterwards."

"Oh god." Both women giggled and Ianto smiled along with them. The three of them continued to talk, Ianto getting to finish off his treat and just having a laugh with his friends, complaining about their partners (or oblivious crush for Tosh) until the cog wheel rolled itself back and entered the two missing team members. They were still cackling when Owen and Jack walked up the stairs, the Captain smiling brightly as he soaked in the happy energy of the room.

"I hope you guys didn't have too much fun without us."

Gwen then shot Ianto a look and Tosh burst into a new fit of giggles at her desk.

~~~

Jack’s day was hectic, and he was growing a little tired of it all, running around and trying to find and stop all the sleepers in cell 114 was taking a toll on his no longer immortal body. Right now, he was speeding down the road with Gwen in the passenger seat and Beth in the back, trying to get to the army base, which held nuclear warheads, as quick as they could, a sleeper already there.

"Have we thought this part of the plan through?" Gwen asked, shooting a glance at Jack.

"This isn't gonna be pretty. Brace yourselves." He forced the car on, barrelling through the open gates and gunning straight for the man up ahead without a care.

"How are we going to stop him? Jack!?" 

"Like this!" The sleeper turned just as Jack slammed into him with the SUV, hitting the brakes and making the tires squeal after going such speeds. Jack jumped out, Gwen not far behind. The sleeper hadn't died, and he was crawling his way along the pavement but Jack reached him quick, turning him over and holding him down.

"This wasn't supposed to happen today. How do we stop it?" Jack demanded, his gun pointed towards the sleeper who was already quite bloody. Gwen brought the tech neutraliser from her rucksack, setting it up. "Gwen? Gwen."

However, the man’s arm morphed into the same nasty looking blade Beth’s had and neither could move quick enough as it was thrust forward and stabbed through Jack’s abdomen making the Captain yell and clench his teeth.  It left Gwen shocked for just a moment, Jack seeing the panic flit through her eyes before she focused herself and began working on disabling the sleeper's technology.

"It doesn't matter. You can't stop us." Taunted the sleeper, blade staying where it pierced Jack's body. It hurt like hell and Jack grimaced hard, trying to breathe through it, telling himself it wasn’t too bad, he was sure no organs had been hit and Owen could patch him up once they were back. "We know what your weakness is. We know who you are, Jack Harkness. We know all about you and Torchwood."

Jack kept his gaze on the sleeper, thankful that the blade for now was acting as a stopper for the blood he knew would come gushing out once the weapon was removed. The agony flared up each time the sleeper shifted and Jack bit down on the inside of his cheek to keep quiet, not wanting to give him the satisfaction of hurting him.

"We got a lot of information before you switched her off. You'll be factored into our plans."

"Gwen?" Jack called, hands curling tightly into fists with his knuckles going white and nails digging into his palms.

"Nearly there." She said, waving the thing over the sleeper's body. "I've got it. He's done!" With that, Jack slid off the blade and screamed as he did, standing on shaking legs and aiming his gun while his free hand pressed down on the front of the wound. He could feel the blood soaking his undershirt and making it stick.

"Don't bother." Jack told the sleeper, voice already a little laboured and breathing heavily. "Your transmitter's dead, and so's your forcefield."

"You're lying."

"Oh, yeah?" Jack pulled the trigger, bullet embedding itself in the sleeper shoulder now the forcefield was down, and he was no longer invincible. "Factor that into your plans. Now, when are the others coming?"

The sleeper raised his head, unsteady grin forming on his face as he stared at Jack.

"They're already here." Gwen looked to him but Jack didn't look back, feeling a dread hit him. "I won't let you take me." The sleeper's hand turned, opening up to show a rigid, round object in it. It was yellow and reminded Jack of a shell, but he knew otherwise, constantly beeping sounding from it.

"Run!" Jack shouted, Beth already doing as he said and Gwen following. He managed to move, hand still applying pressure to the wound but each step sending jolts of pain through it. They made it to the grass when the thing exploded, sending a shock wave and immense towards them that nearly sent Jack tumbling.

"Whoo!" Jack breathed, each of them panting as things settled and the fire blew itself out. He knew he'd probably have to phone the Government about this, but he really didn't want to. Jack could ask Ianto to do it, he was better at that sort of thing. Gwen smiled at him, clearly relieved to have survived.

"Let's get back." She suggested and Jack nodded.

"You drive." Gwen frowned but said nothing, Jack already limping off to the car. It took a lot of energy out of him, and he was already coming down from the small adrenaline high. He only just managed to get in the seat, taking the time to peel back the layers and look at his wound. It was oozing fresh blood and bus clothes were a mess.

"Oh god! You were stabbed!" Gwen panicked, standing beside his door. He only just caught her rushing off and the boot opening them Gwen appearing at his side again with what looked like towels. God knows why there were tells in the SUV and not medkits. Jack didn't ask, just stuffing one behind him where he knew the other wound was and holding the other to his front.

"I forgot in the panic, sorry." Gwen explained as she climbed into the car. She started the engine, belt on and the radio in hand. "Owen? Tosh? Ianto?"

Jack tuned Gwen out, focused on keeping himself from bleeding out all over the car interior otherwise Ianto would be mad. Blood was a bugger to get out, he knew from experience and the Welshman's nagging. He was already a mess and the coat had been ruined too.

He really hoped Ianto wouldn't be too angry.

~~~

Ianto was angry at Jack. Very pissed off as he tried his best to not take too much of the SUV's paint off the wing mirror. Jack had left his makeshift radio aerial stuck down with gaffer tape on the car, but he supposed when you were bleeding out there wasn't much thought for removing it. He sighed, hands shaking all too much to keep the car's paint preserved properly. Ianto would have been up there with Jack but Owen had shooed them all out, needing space to patch the Captain up and Ianto had decided to take his mind off it by sorting out the car only to find the vandalism it had been subject to.

He would have to wait to berate Jack about it.

Ianto had been worried ever since Jack and Gwen stopped talking to them through the radio, unable to help and having no idea whether the sleeper accessed the nuclear warheads or not. No idea if Jack and Gwen were safe either. Then Gwen had called and told them Jack was stabbed and Ianto had panicked. Jack was no longer immortal and injuries like that could mean Ianto could lose him.

"Ianto? He's patched up now and annoying me." Owen spoke in Ianto ear, and he couldn't help the smile that grew.

"Tell him I'll be there in a minute after I've removed his aerial."

"Will do." The soft buzz of the earpiece cutting out told Ianto that Owen had disconnected, and he went back to peeling off the gaffer tape, cringing when large patches of black came off. As he went back into the hub, Ianto carried the tape and antenna, frowning and making his way to the autopsy bay.

"Ianto! Oh…" Jack's eyes went a little wide as he caught sight of him and it brought a small hint of smug satisfaction which he didn't let show. The Captain was looking a little pale but otherwise awake and okay. Ianto took the stairs slowly, dropping the items on an empty table.

"Just dump your shit, why don't you Ianto. Ss'not like things are supposed to be sterile in here." Owen moaned from where he stood checking a small bag of dark blood on an IV pole. Ianto just rolled his eyes.

"I'll remove it later." He promised.

"Good. Now, we're going to have to move this one-" He gestured to Jack who hadn't said a word yet. "Out so we can get Beth sorted." Ianto nodded, moving to Jack's side and draping his bare arm over his shoulder, helping the Captain stand with a gasp. Owen took the pole, making sure it was still feeding Jack the blood he had lost and Ianto aided him in moving to the sofa.

"Is he set to go home?" Ianto asked once Jack was settled, briefly heading to the man's bunker to grab him a fresh shirt and vest. Owen nodded, arms crossed and eyeing up their boss.

"Make sure he doesn't tear the stitches so no strenuous activities, he'll be right as rain but has some meds if it hurts too much. Check for infection, no sign so far."

"Thanks Owen." The doctor didn't say anything, instead heading off down into his lair again to get things ready to freeze Beth. Ianto stood in front of Jack who smiled sweetly.

"Hey Yan…"

"Jack." Was all he said, falling into the space beside him with a heavy sigh, head dropping into his hands. A warm hand fell on his back, his thumb stroking up and down.

"You okay, Ianto?" He lifted his head up, looking at Jack suddenly.

"You could have died, Jack!" Ianto's outburst startled the man, his hand falling from its place and making him duck his head. Ianto just sighed, glancing around the room and thankful no one was watching. "I'm sorry Jack but you really could have died. If the sleeper had chosen anywhere else to stab you-" Ianto cut himself off as horrid ideas entered his head.

He was brought to the side, Jack's arm wrapped around his shoulders and guiding him. In taking a shaky breath, Ianto rested his head on Jack's shoulder and began to calm himself down.

"If it makes you feel any better I wasn't intending on being run through." Ianto could stop the amused huff and Jack squeezed his shoulder. "Really, I didn't. I thought Gwen would have disabled his defences before it happened." Not replying, Ianto clasped the hand draped over his shoulder and buried his head closer, letting them both fall into a comfortable silence. They could talk properly later.

"You're coming home with me."

"Oh, am I, Mr Jones?" Jack asked, a flirty tone to his voice and Ianto knew without looking that he was smirking.

"Not like that, Owen's strictly said nothing of the sort." The Captain whined at that and Ianto let himself smile, shifting, so he could lean up and kiss the man. Ianto only shifted from his seat when the rest of the team made their appearances, deciding to help Jack into his clear clothes as much as he liked to see the man's naked chest however the large bandage was doing nothing for Jack.

"Let's go home." Ianto told him once Owen took away the IV and blood bag and Jack nodded, taking Ianto's outstretched hand.

"I take it you're no longer mad about the coat and car?" Jack asked precariously.

"Oh, no. I am mad, I'm just saving it for when you're better. Wait- your coat?!" Ianto whirled around, eyes wide.

"Uh..." Jack shrunk back, letting out a nervous laugh. "About that, when-"

“I won’t let you freeze me!” Came a shout, it was Beth. “I’ll kill you all!” Ianto left Jack’s side, looking up to see the sleeper woman with her arm now a blade, held to Gwen’s neck. Jack swore behind him and Ianto realised he wasn’t wearing his shoulder holsters. Thankfully, Tosh reached under her desk, gun tucked away safety and now aimed towards the women on the walkway. Owen arrived only a fraction of a second later, his own handgun out to. Ianto used this time to pull Jack out of the way.

“Let her go! Let her go! ” Owen ordered, face set. Ianto noticed Jack’s hand move to his side but his holster wasn’t there either.

“No. Wait, wait, wait, wait, don't shoot.” Gwen told them, hand gripping the railing of the walk way as Beth moved with her. “It's a trick. She won't hurt me. She won't hurt me.

“Move away from her now.” Tosh warned.

“Everybody, calm down.” Jack shouted, directed at the team and Beth, taking charge despite being weaponless and leaning into Ianto. “Beth, you don't want to do this. Let Gwen go”.

“I'll kill her first, then all of you, then the rest of your miserable species.” The Sleeper woman’s voice broke as she threatened them, Ianto knew she wouldn’t hurt Gwen, he could tell it was a ploy.

“Beth, please. They will kill you.” Pleaded Gwen but they all knew it wouldn’t help, the woman wanted to die. She had already lost her husband, her life, she found out it was all a lie and that she had killed people. She didn’t want to live a life like that knowing she could kill again and deep down, Ianto couldn’t blame her. “You have proved to be better than that, you helped us to stop the invasion. You can be human. Please, Beth.” But Beth shook her head.

“Not human enough.”

“Beth.”

“Goodbye, Gwen. Good luck.” She drew her arm back as if to strike Gwen but Tosh and Owen were faster, pulling their triggers in swift succession and hailing the sleeper woman with bullets, triumphantly taking her down. Gwen sunk to the floor as Tosh took the steps behind them and Owen raced up the spiral staircase. Jack’s grip had tightened on Ianto’s arm, and he pulled the man closer. There was low mumbling as Gwen spoke to the other two, Owen replying but Ianto didn’t bother to listen.

“She’s okay.” He told Jack, who nodded wordlessly.

The pair stayed longer as Owen dealt with the body and Tosh comforted Gwen, Ianto deciding to store the broken tip of the long blade on his desk in the Archives to be properly stored and sorted later. Jack helped Tosh and Owen gave the woman a quick check up to declare her perfectly okay physically. They packed Gwen off home to Rhys, Tosh offering to take her while Owen made his own way and Ianto, at long last, got to take Jack to his place for some rest.

With them both settled in bed after some dinner, Ianto asked.

“Do you think we stopped them, then?” Before looking down at him, Jack did an intake of breath, fingers stilling in where they had been fiddling with the small curls of hair behind Ianto’s right left.

“I honestly don’t know, we might have just stalled them or made it completely worse.”

“That’s comforting.” Ianto mumbled, hand splayed out on Jack’s pyjama top. “At least we know stuff about them though, their implants and force fields.”

“And now they no longer have the element of surprise, not that they know that either. We’ll just have to keep doing what we do in the meantime.” Ianto watched him for a moment and then lightly planted his lips on Jack’s forehead, smiling.

“I guess we shall.”

“You know, Owen suggested a threesome between him, Tosh, and I?” Ianto admitted after a few minutes, unsure if Jack was asleep as his eyes were shut, and he seemed relaxed enough. Nevertheless, a stupid grin broke out and his eyes opened.

“And your answer?”

“That I thought the end of the world couldn’t get any worse.” Jack broke out into laughter and it didn’t take long for Ianto to join in too.