Mike was sitting at his desk, with his feet propped up on the edge when Owen came to a halt, eyeing him critically.

“You know,” he said tersely, “this whole joint operation aside, we still owe you for punching Jack.”

Mike looked up at Owen nonchalantly.

“Just like we owe you for him punching Captain Ross.”

Owen grunted.

“Yeah, well, he deserved it.”

“So did Harkness,” Mike shot back without hesitation.

It took some effort for Owen not to crack a smile at that.

“Maybe he did,” he conceded.

“Yeah,” Mike said flatly. “He did. He's a pompous, egotistical bastard.”

“He's not really an arrogant git,” Owen offered in his captain's defence. “He just acts like he is.”

Mike eyed Owen in open amusement.

“You know, you're not really helping his case much.”

Owen paused, and then leaned down to speak in a low, conspiratorial tone.

“Just between us, he got it a lot worse from us a couple of months ago.”

Mike raised an eyebrow at the young doctor.

“You're saying you hit him, too?”

Owen grinned, but it was humourless in its quality.

“Nah, Gwen hit him. I shot him.”

Silence met the confession, and Mike couldn't quite work out whether the other man was serious.

“You... shot him?”

“Point blank, in the head, and twice in the chest.”

Mike grunted.

“Okay. Not exactly terminal for him.”

Owen shrugged.

“Didn't know that when I shot him.”

Slowly, Mike sat up in his chair as the implications of Owen's words sank in.

“You shot your captain, not knowing that he was going to come back to life?”

“That's right.”

“Huh. Remind me not to piss you off.”

“All I'm saying,” Owen told him, “is that you're not the first to get pissed at him, and you won't be the last.”

Mike started to nod in understanding, when his phone rang. Frowning in annoyance at the interruption, he picked it up.


Owen started to turn away when Mike suddenly swore and launched himself to his feet.

“How bad is she hurt? ...Shit. And she came in alone? Goren wasn't with her? ...What about the two Torchwood guys? ...Yeah, Jack Harkness and Ianto Jones. Goren and Eames followed them out earlier... Ah, crap. Well, have you called a bus? ...Okay. I'll be right down.”

“What's going on?” Owen asked tensely as Mike virtually threw his phone down and started out of the squad room.”

“Alex just came back. She collapsed just inside the lobby. Looks like she took a pretty bad blow to the head, according to the guy who just called me.”

“What about Jack and Ianto?” Owen demanded, but Mike shook his head.

“No sign of them, or of Bobby, either. Alex came back alone.”

“Fuck,” Owen hissed. He followed Mike to the elevators, yelling for his two remaining colleagues as they went. Gwen and Tosh came in a hurry, drawn by the urgency in Owen's voice.

“What's going on?” Gwen asked.

“We've got trouble,” Owen told them grimly. The elevator door slid open as they got there, to reveal an ashen-faced Captain Ross, who was on his way back down from a meeting with the Chief of Detectives.

“Captain...” Mike started to say.

“I know, Logan. I'm on my way down there. C'mon, all of you.”

“What's going on?” Tosh asked, starting to feel frightened. Ross answered grimly.

“I sent Goren and Eames out after Captain Harkness and Mr Jones. I didn't think it was such a wise idea for him to be wandering around alone with that thing gunning for him. Eames just came back alone, with an apparently severe head wound.”

“Oh god,” Gwen moaned as realisation hit fast. “Jack...”

“We have three of our people unaccounted for, Miss Cooper,” Ross said grimly. “Not just Captain Harkness.”

Upon emerging into the lobby, it wasn't hard to find Alex. She was on the ar side of the lobby, surrounded by a veritable gaggle of cops, while paramedics examined the blow to her head. Ross led the way, and the crowd parted before him like Moses parting the Red Sea.

“Eames?” he asked, coming to a halt in front of her. “Are you all right?”

“I'm fine,” she mumbled. “Just a little dizzy.”

Ross looked to the paramedic beside her for confirmation, and was quietly dismayed when the young man shook his head.

“She took a very bad blow to the head, Captain. We're going to need to take her to Mt Sinai for scans. At the least, she has a severe concussion. She'll probably have to stay overnight...”

That garnered a reaction from the downed detective.

“The hell I will!” she exploded, and tried to wrench herself free. Ross acted swiftly, and crouched down to be able to look her in the eye.

“Eames! Listen to me, Detective. This is not negotiable. You will go to the hospital and let yourself be taken care of, even if that means an overnight stay. You will be no use to your partner if you don't.”

Distress filled Alex's face at that.

“Bobby... He was gone, Captain. When I woke up, they all were...”

“Captain, we need to get her to the hospital.”

Ross glanced up at the paramedics.

“Just give us a few minutes, guys? This is important.” He went on without waiting for an answer. “All right, Eames, talk to me. What happened?”

Alex drew in a shuddering breath, forcing herself to remember what had happened.

“We were coming back from the cafe. We cut down Miller's Lane. It happened when we were about half way along. Jack stopped... and then we could all feel it... like a powerful electrical storm. And then it was there. It went straight for Jack... threw him clean across the lane. I think he must have been pretty badly hurt, because he didn't get back up, and there was blood... There was a hell of a lot of blood. Bobby and I tried to stop it, but it was too powerful. We couldn't stop it. I remember being thrown aside, and then there's nothing. When I woke up, they were gone. All of them.”

“Bloody hell,” Owen whispered in horror. “The fucker took all three of them.”

Ross glanced at Owen in disapproval, but said nothing.

“What the hell do we do now?” Mike said, feeling helpless, and hating it. Ross turned his focus to the one thing at hand that he had control of.

“Eames, I want you to go and get yourself seen to at the hospital. No arguments, understand? If they want you to stay overnight, then that's what you'll do. I'll have someone from the squad go with you.”

“Never mind that,” Owen said gruffly. “I'll go with her. Never know what sort of quacks you might run into in an emergency room.”

Ross couldn't quite conceal his surprise, and he looked quizzically at Alex.

“Eames? Are you okay with that?”

Alex hesitated for a long moment before answering affirmatively. She took care not to nod her head, only too aware of how much that would hurt.

“It's okay with me. Thankyou.”

“All right,” Ross said grimly. “The rest of you, we have a crime scene to look at.”

“Why did you offer to come with me?” Alex asked as the ambulance carried them towards Mt Sinai. Owen regarded her soberly.

“Your partner was taken, too.”

“And that complicates things,” Alex said with a touch of bitterness. Owen, however, only shrugged.

“I didn't mean it like that, but yeah. It does. As you're very much aware, the consequences could be vastly different for your partner and for Ianto, as opposed to Jack.”

Alex chose not to think too hard on that.

“You haven't answered my question,” she said, shifting back to the original subject.

Owen nodded with a hint of impatience, as though he had been getting to that.

“We're all part of the same team now, Detective Eames. When your partner was taken, it was one of our own that... it took. Same goes for you. I'd do this for any of our team. You're a part of the team, so here I am. Simple, really.”

Alex smiled faintly. Before she could respond, though, the paramedic sitting beside her spoke firmly.

“Detective Eames, please, I need you to let go of that.”

She looked down at the item in her hands with a frown.

“What...? Oh...”

Owen leaned in for a closer look, and quickly realised what the paramedic was talking about. Alex was still clutching Bobby's blood-stained badge in her hands in a death grip.

“Whose blood?” he asked, not entirely sure that he wanted to know.

“Jack’s,” Alex murmured. “At least, I think it’s Jack’s. God, I hope it’s Jack’s…” She trailed off, looking up at Owen uncomfortably. “I’m sorry. That was a lousy thing to say.”

Owen, however, smiled reassuringly at her.

“It’s okay. I know what you meant. I hope it’s his, too.”

Alex slumped back on the gurney in a growing daze as Owen gently relieved her of her partner’s badge, giving the paramedic leave to do whatever it was that he needed to do.

“God, let him be okay,” she whispered, distraught. “Let all of them be okay.”

Owen said nothing, but silently offered up the same prayer.

Ross led the way to the scene, with Mike, Gwen and Toshiko in tow. He resisted the instinctive urge to call CSU, knowing full well that their presence would only be a hindrance anyway. It didn't take long to locate the right spot. The blood and the three abandoned weapons were a fair giveaway. He stood observing the scene with grim and practised eyes.

“Blood seems to be just the one lot,” Mike remarked sombrely. “From just the one person.”

“From Jack,” Gwen said with a touch of distress in her voice.

“Hey, shouldn't we be getting CSU out here?” Mike asked as Ross leaned down to collect the blood-spattered weapons. The captain regarded Mike quizzically.

“Why, Logan? What could they do, except slow things down? And all else aside, given what we now know about Captain Harkness, I didn't think the last thing we need is to be giving CSU a chance to analyse his blood. That would raise more questions than any of us are able or willing to answer.”

Mike grimaced as the truth of Ross's words hit home.

“Good point,” he conceded. “Which leaves the next question. What the hell do we do now? Not only does that... thing have what it wants now, but it's taken the one guy who might've been able to figure out where it's been hiding out!”

Ross turned abruptly to look at the women, not caring to let Mike see his irritation at the inference that Bobby was the only one with the smarts to work it out.

“Captain Harkness mentioned someone that he answers to. An old friend of his, he said, who might be able to help if things went badly here. Do either of you know who he was talking about? Because he never gave a name. He just called him... uh... damn it, I can't remember now...”

Gwen and Tosh exchanged baffled looks.

“We don't know,” Tosh admitted helplessly. “Jack doesn't answer to anyone.”

However, realisation suddenly dawned on Gwen's face. There was one person that Jack would willingly answer to – someone that he would leave behind everything and travel to the end of the universe itself for.

“The Doctor,” she said quickly, and Ross nodded.

“That's it! That's what he called him. The Doctor! Who is he?”

Gwen could only shrug, though.

“He's just the Doctor. I don't know if he has another name. Jack's never mentioned it if he does. But the Doctor is the only person that Jack would accept orders from.”

“All right,” Ross conceded. “How do we go about contacting this Doctor?”

At that, both women's faces fell.

“We don't know,” Gwen admitted miserably. “He's not exactly got a steady address.”

“Wonderful,” Ross muttered as he pulled out his cell phone.

“What are you doing?” Mike wondered.

“Calling a clean up crew to deal with this.”

“You know the Chief of Detectives is going to find out that you covered up a crime scene,” Mike pointed out wryly. “He'll have your ass in a sling, Captain.”

“My ass is covered, Detective,” Ross replied dryly. “We're acting under Torchwood's directive. They're the prevalent authority on the scene. Right, Miss Cooper?”

Gwen nodded, looking pale but certain as she realised what Ross was trying to do.

“That's right. This is our responsibility. You're only doing as we ask.”

A grateful smile flickered across Ross's face, and then he was engrossed in the phone call. Mike turned back to Gwen and Tosh, and he suspected that the distress he could see in their faces was mirrored in his own.

“Seriously, what now?” he asked. “We've just hit one hell of a brick wall, and there are three lives at stake. Or two, at least, if you count the fact that your boss is invincible.”

“Three lives,” Gwen snapped, in no mood for his attitude. “You saw what happened. You saw what that thing did to Jack. The fact that he can't die just makes it all the more worse for him, because he'll keep coming back to the same torment again and again.”

Mike didn't flinch in the face of her anger.

“I'll say it again. What the hell do we do now?”

“We must have some information on this thing,” Gwen said to Tosh with rapidly growing anxiety.

“But I already looked!” Tosh insisted. “When Jack first said what it was, I searched for anything we had on, and there was nothing at all in our system!”

“Bloody hell,” Gwen whispered, running her fingers through her hair in agitation.

“I think,” Ross said as he ended his phone call, “that we’d better head back to One Police Plaza. There’s nothing more we can do here. Let’s go, people.”

They arrived back at the squad room to a deathly silence, as the detectives present waited to learn what had happened. Detective Jackson approached the four of them as they walked back in, acting as an unofficial spokesman for the squad.

“Captain, what’s going on? Is it true that Goren’s been abducted?”

“Not only Goren,” Ross confirmed grimly, “but Captain Harkness and Ianto Jones as well. All three of them were taken in an ambush in Miller’s Lane less than an hour ago. And yes, it was the same creature that’s been killing people.”

“What about Eames?” someone asked, and Ross could hear the mixture of fear and outrage in the man’s voice.

“She’s safe,” he assured them. “She took a back knock to the head, though, and has been taken to the hospital for treatment.”

“Shit,” someone else again muttered. “So, basically, we’re fucked because that idiot from Torchwood got himself, Goren and one of his own people kidnapped.”

Behind him, Ross could almost feel Gwen and Tosh bristling in response to the sneering, angry remark. Before either of them had a chance to speak, though, Ross got in first and he spoke in a quiet, but no less fierce tone.

“Do not go there, Geary. Don’t any of you go there. What’s happened was no one’s fault, least of all Captain Harkness. I will not tolerate bickering and laying blame when we have three of our people in very real danger. I don’t want to be having to organise three funerals because we were all too busy laying blame than trying to actually deal with the situation!”

The silence that met his words was intense. Finally, though, Jacobson spoke up for all of them.

“We’re all in this together, Captain. Just tell us where to start to get them back safely.”

At that, Ross looked around at Gwen and Tosh.

“Miss Cooper? Miss Sato? Any suggestions where to start?”

He noted with mild interest that Tosh seemed to defer to Gwen, who appeared somewhat uncomfortable with the authority that had suddenly been foisted onto her.

“Well… We need to try and work out where it’s nesting,” she said tentatively. “Tosh, call Owen, and ask him to ask Detective Eames whether Jack said anything at all about the Grysliaak before they were ambushed, and then tell him we need him back here as soon as possible. When you’ve done that, start a city-wide trace for any unusual electrical activity. Captain Ross, can I get one of those whiteboards out here?”

Ross snapped his fingers at the detective closest to him, and the man immediately went to do the task.

“Anything else, Miss Cooper?”

She looked at him grimly.

“Yes. I imagine that now would be rather a good time to start praying.”

Jack awoke to darkness. He was certain that his eyes were open, but all he could see was blackness. Fear clutched at him that may be he was blind – however temporary that state was likely to be. But no. As the minutes ticked by, he came to realise that he wasn't blind at all. He was simply in a very dark room.

He blinked as his eyes adjusted to the dark, and very gradually he became aware of his surroundings. It wasn't a room at all in which he lay, but a cage... a cage, he thought numbly, that was disturbingly similar to the one in which he'd been held on the Valiant. Although, he supposed grudgingly, that at least he wasn't chained to a wall this time. Instead, he realised, he was lying on a hard, cold floor, with his head resting on someone's lap.


He knew that voice, and while one part of him wanted to weep with relief, another part wanted to strangle the owner. Turning his head a little, he confirmed his fear. Ianto's face hovered above his own, forehead creasing with worry.

Opening his mouth, he croaked out the first thing that came to mind.

“You're fired.”

Ianto smiled ruefully.

“I'm sorry, Jack, but I couldn't just sit back and do nothing. I couldn't just let it take you.”

“So you let it take both of us. Fantastic.”

Ianto hesitated, and Jack felt his stomach drop at the look on his face.

“What?” he asked, suddenly not entirely sure that he really wanted to know.

“I'm afraid it's a little worse than that, Jack. Look.”

With some effort, Jack lifted his head and saw where Ianto was indicating. Sitting close by was a somewhat bruised and battered Bobby Goren. Jack felt sick to his gut.

“Please, tell me your partner's not here as well.”

Bobby shook his head, and then winced, as though the very movement pained him. Which, Jack mused as he recalled Bobby being thrown violently into the wall, it probably did.

“No, she's not. It didn't take her.”

“Then at least there's someone still out there who knows the plan to call Martha,” Jack muttered, letting his head drop back onto Ianto's lap. “Let's hope she's got the brains to tell Gwen, Tosh or Owen.”

Ianto glanced uneasily at Bobby, but the other man didn't seem to have taken offence at Jack's unintentionally slighting words. Whether that was a result of the mild concussion he had, or simply that he understood what Jack really meant, Ianto had no idea and was not about to ask.

Jack groaned softly, then, and shifted awkwardly.

“So how long was I dead for that time?”

Silence met his words, and Jack looked up at Ianto, feeling a twinge of concern.

“What? What's wrong?” Jack asked sharply.

“Jack... You didn't die this time. It didn't kill you.”

The Captain uttered a short laugh at that.

“Really? That makes a change.” When Ianto failed to crack a smile, Jack spoke in increasing frustration. “What the hell's the matter? Spit it out, Ianto.”

It was Bobby, however, who spoke.

“Can you feel this, Jack?”

Jack looked down the length of his body in confusion, and a moment later an icy chill rushed through him. Bobby had produced a switchblade and had actually pierced the flesh of his bare foot with the blade. Blood trickled down in a thing line as evidence that it was no trick. And he couldn't feel it. He couldn't feel a thing below his waist.

As Bobby put away the knife and pressed a handkerchief to the cut, Jack laughed hollowly, with just the slightest tinge of hysteria in his tone.

“This is a first. Never been paralysed before.”

“It's not permanent, though,” Bobby said. “I mean, it will heal, right?”

“Sure it will. When the Grysliaak kills me next, I'll come back good as new.”

“That's the only way?” Bobby asked, and Jack sighed.

“I don't know. Like I said, I've never been paralysed before. It should heal, but I don't know how long it might take, because it's obviously not a mortal wound.”

“About that,” Ianto said with a frown. “We thought you may have had a punctured lung. You were bleeding from your mouth.”

Jack pulled a face as Ianto's words reminded him that he had a distinct taste of blood in his mouth.

“I bit my tongue,” he said with a grimace. “See?” He poked his tongue out, and sure enough there was a significant cut in his tongue that was still seeping blood. “Must've happened when it threw me across the alley. Damn it... Ianto, help me up.”

Between Ianto and Bobby, they managed to lift Jack up into a sitting position, leaning gingerly against Ianto.

“You know, Ianto,” he muttered as he flipped open his manipulator to examine it, “when I was chained up in the Valiant, one thing that I kept dreaming about was getting some personal time with you. Just doing ordinary things, like dating... stealing kisses whenever I could... cuddling...”

Ianto's eyebrow lifted at that, but he said nothing. Jack sighed softly, and tilted his head back to look up at his lover.

“This isn't exactly what I had in mind.”

Ianto smiled wryly, then, and craned his head around to capture Jack's lips in a soft kiss.

“If we get out of this alive, we'll do all the cuddling you want. But right now, Bobby and I would both rather appreciate it if we could focus on the more mundane task of escaping.”

Jack looked across at Bobby, expecting to see him looking flustered and embarrassed. He was both surprised and pleased to find him just sitting there, watching the two of them with a smile.

“Not apologising,” he stated firmly, and Bobby's smile widened.

“I'm glad to hear it. It's a relief, actually, to see two guys who are so open and honest about their relationship. I've seen so many people driven to commit violent crimes, just to try and hide the truth of their own sexuality.”

Jack snorted as he turned his attention back to his manipulator.

“You people...”

Bobby looked quizzically at Ianto, who merely smiled and shook his head wordlessly. A moment of silence passed, when suddenly Jack's manipulator uttered a couple of unpleasant squawks, followed by a disheartening fizz. Jack snarled in frustration.


Ianto's eyebrows shot up almost to his hairline in reaction to that.

“You're going to give Owen a run for his money if you keep on like that.”

“Sorry,” Jack muttered sourly. “If I could just get this thing to work again... Damn it, I should never have let him disable the teleport function! It could have gotten us all out of here.”

Bobby shifted closer for another look at the device.

“When you say 'he', you mean the Doctor, don't you?”

Jack answered with a terse nod.

“Yeah. He fixed it so that we could use it to escape Malcassairo in the year One Hundred Trillion, but when it was all over, he disabled the time travel teleport functions. He thought I'd go hopping all over the damn place with it. I should never have let him.”

“No point moaning over it now,” Ianto said. “What we should be doing is thinking of other options.”

“What other options?” Jack asked bleakly. “We have no other options.”

Again, Bobby and Ianto exchanged looks, and Ianto was mildly surprised to see a hard glint appear in the detective's eyes.

“Are you giving up?” Bobby asked, his voice taking on an edge that definitely had not been there before. Jack looked up at him, slightly taken aback by the abrupt change in the other man's demeanour. For several seconds that seemed to stretch out into an eternity, they stared at each other. Then, finally, Jack blinked and dropped his gaze just a fraction.

“No,” he answered soberly. “I don't quit. But I... I'm...”

He faltered, suddenly painfully conscious of the effect that his uncertainties... his vulnerabilities... might have on his two companions.

“You're what, Jack?” Bobby asked quietly. “Scared? Angry? Helpless? All of the above?”

Jack's mouth had very abruptly gone bone dry, and he couldn't get a word out. He'd already guessed at Bobby's high intelligence, but now the man was displaying a level of perception that was just plain terrifying. He wondered whether Bobby unknowingly possessed some degree of psychic ability – most likely empathy – and resolved to test him if... no, when they got out of there. Bobby went on, apparently oblivious to the attention he was garnering from both Jack and Ianto.

“I'm not giving up,” Bobby stated with an understated ferocity, “and neither are you. Not while we have our colleagues out there somewhere, all of them probably working their asses off right now to find us.”

Jack stared at Bobby, unable to completely hide his distress.

“Don't you get it? It's not me that I'm afraid for. Whatever it does, it can't kill me... but it can kill the both of you.”

“Jack,” Ianto said softly, “I think we all know that it's not interested in me or Bobby.”

Bobby nodded his agreement.

“We're just collateral here, Jack. Something it can use as leverage against you. It assumes it can keep you subdued by holding me and Ianto to ransom.”

“Well, then, it assumed right,” Jack said bitterly. “I won't do anything to risk your lives.”

Irritation flashed across Ianto's face, but it was Bobby who responded first.

“I'm a cop, Jack. I'm NYPD. Risking my life is part and parcel of the job. Do you really think that I've never been in situations that might have gotten me killed? That I've never been shot? Or injured in any way? I have, more than I care to remember. Tell me, why should I react any differently to this, as opposed to any of those other situations that I've been in?”

Jack opened his mouth to answer, but was cut off by the irate detective.

“And don't you dare use the 'we catch aliens' line on me. Maybe I only deal with ordinary humans, but I'm betting I could easily trade stories with you. Humans can be some of the worst monsters around.”

Unable to help himself, Jack glanced back over his shoulder to catch a glimpse of the sober expression on Ianto's face. It was an argument that neither would deny, not after their experiences in the Brecon Beacons back home.

“I know,” Jack whispered. “I know you're right.”

Bobby hesitated, and then began to unbutton his shirt. Before either Jack or Ianto could ask what he was doing, he'd opened it up to reveal his bare chest, and the scars from multiple wounds that peppered his flesh.

“Some of these my father is responsible for, but most were caused by my mother. She was a paranoid schizophrenic, with a tendency towards violence. I was her favourite target when she suffered a new break. I was seven when it happened the first time, and I was terrified. So don't think I'm going to shut down now, because I won't. We're all here, and we're in this together. My life is not exclusively in your hands, Jack.”

Jack tried to smile, but couldn't quite manage it. What came out instead was a strange sort of grimace.

“You've got balls, Bobby, I'll give you that. Just... promise me one thing.”

“Here we go,” Ianto muttered. Jack glowered back at him, but there was no real animosity in the look.

“What?” Bobby asked, his tone significantly calmer than it had been just half a minute ago.

“Promise me that when the Grysliaak comes, you won't get between it and me. Because believe me, it'd be suicide. Maybe your life isn't in my hands, but that's no excuse for you to be an idiot, either. You too, Ianto.”

Bobby nodded passively.

“Okay. I won't get between you. Now, can we put our heads together and think of a way out of here?”

Jack smiled faintly. He really, really liked the big cop, and was of half a mind to ignore the Doctor's directive not to expand his team. Instead, though, he just nodded and spoke a single word in a subdued tone.


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