Turn Left, Torchwood

Where Everything Changes

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Turn Left, Countrycide (2/2)
Title: Turn Left, Countrycide (2/2)
Author: vipersweb for the Turn Left, Torchwood Project
Rating: PG-13
Notes: A retelling of Torchwood Series 1, Episode 6 where different decisions are made. Part of the turnleft_tw Challenge. This episode exceeds the LJ posting limit and is split into two parts.
Reminder: Project participants, don't leave any telling information in comments.


It snorted in glee when the young boy was brought to it. The boy had evaded them for too long. Holed up in a building, forcing them to lay siege to his position. It had frustrated them, while at the same time increasing their desire to have him. He was a worthy prey – or so they had thought. The boy laid sniveling and crying on the floor. Pathetic. "Throw him in with the other," it ordered.

Ianto sat on an overturned bucket; his head continued to pound and he could feel a knot forming. He wondered where Jack was. Wondered whether he would be rescued before whoever had captured him decided to return.

He heard a shuffling outside the door. Lurching to his feet, he stood with his makeshift weapon at the ready. Before he could get into a proper position, the door opened suddenly. A boy was thrust inside, directly into his path and they fell to the ground, feet tangled up with each other. The door slammed shut before Ianto could get to his feet again.

"Oh God, oh God," the boy whimpered. "I'm going to die. They're going to kill us."

"Calm down, alright. What's your name?" Ianto asked, trying to project an aura of calmness. He doubted it worked. The boy sniffled, backing away from the door and otherwise ignored him. Ianto sighed and sat down again. He needed to know what he was up against, so therefore, the boy needed to calm down. "Hey. Look. It's alright," he tried to soothe. "It's just me in here. Why don't you tell me your name, eh?"

"Kieran," he finally said, rocking with his knees to his chest.

"Hello, Kieran. I'm Ianto and I'm with Torchwood." The kid probably had no idea what Torchwood was, but identifying himself seemed the right thing to do in this type of situation.

Kieran didn't respond, so Ianto tried again. "Did you get a look at what caught you?" If he could get a good description of what had captured them, then perhaps he could plan their escape better.

He just laughed and sobbed in response, refusing to meet Ianto's gaze, even in the dim lit. He kept up his mantra of "We're going to die." Ianto closed his eyes and took a calming breath. He had to believe they would escape this – even if Kieran seemed convinced it was impossible.

"Kieran," he began, grasping his shoulder with his hand. "We're gonna get out of this, okay? I'm not here alone." He hoped. He really hoped that Jack and the others had figured out where he was stashed and were on their way to rescue them.

"Doesn't matter," Kieran insisted. "They'll be caught, just like us."

A part of Ianto feared he was right.

It sneered. They had finally caught the boy. His flesh would taste all the sweeter for the time and effort it had taken to capture him. Soon, they would bring the boy and the man upstairs and ready them for the Harvest.

All throughout the village, they had seen signs of neglect. "This is really creepy," Tosh said, as they searched yet another building.

"Whole place is deserted," Owen agreed. "I feel like we're on the set of a horror film."

Tosh gave him a sidelong glance. "That doesn't help, Owen." She desperately hoped they would find Ianto – just as she was terrified they wouldn't find him in time. She didn't think she could handle losing another teammate so soon after Suzie.

"That's the last of the buildings in this area," Jack announced as they exited the latest building to be searched. "We should grab the SUV and head up further." He had grown quieter and tenser as time had passed without any sign of Ianto – or the creatures responsible.

Tosh peered down the road ahead of them. "Aren't those lights?" she asked, pointing towards the distance.

Joining her, Owen placed a hand at the small of her back. "Does it seem odd that I'm more scared that we found signs of someone alive than I should be?"

"That's where we'll head next," Jack announced, ignoring Owen's comment. Tosh just nodded her head in agreement. She had a terrible feeling they were being guided. The question was, what was at the end of it all?

Keeping watch on the trio, the figure dressed in black and hooded tripped over a root and crashed into the ground. Its body hit the ground, crunching leaves and small sticks. The man in the big coat jerked his head up and peered towards the woods that shadowed their path. "Hear that?" he asked. The other two looked confused for a moment and shook their heads.

It would have cursed but didn't want to let them know it was nearby. It held its breath, hoping the trio would continue up to the main house and lay perfectly still. ‘Come into my parlor, said the spider to the fly,' it giggled to itself. The Harvest was almost at an end and these three would provide meals fit for a king.

"You two head on up there," the man in the coat said. "I'm going to check this out. Don't separate. If the house looks suspicious, don't go inside. Wait for me. I shouldn't be too long."

"I thought you didn't want us spitting up," the other man stated. "What if what got Ianto, also gets you?"

"I'm awake, Ianto wasn't. I'll be fine. I promise," the first man assured.

"I don't like this," the woman muttered. She and her companion watched as he moved towards the woods. It didn't like it either. Being found wasn't part of the plan.

"They're going to eat us, you know," Kieran said, breaking the silence that had descended. "They killed everyone else."

"How did they find you?" Ianto asked, wanting to keep him talking.

The boy shrugged. "We thought it would be fun, you know? Visit the countryside, stay a couple of nights in some small village. Except it all went wrong." He stuttered to a halt. "I don't want to die," he confessed.

"You're not going to, alright?" Ianto assured him, trying to sound positive. "We just have to wait for the right opportunity to escape. If it comes, I want you to run as fast as you can. Don't wait for me. Hopefully, I'll be right behind you."

"You're mental if you think we're going to escape this. Nobody does," Kieran said bitterly. Ianto just sighed and wished he had a clearer head. He thought the pounding had subsided a little bit, but he suspected it was more wishful thinking.

They heard a scraping sound from outside. Ianto recognized it as the same sound from when they had brought Kieran here. "They're coming," he warned, getting to his feet and moving towards it.

The door swung open; a frightened woman holding a hunting rifle was framed in the door. "Stay back!" she warned, sounding near tears. "I'll shoot, if you try anything."

"We're back," Ianto told her, holding his hands in front of him in a placating manner.

"Are you hurt? Were you hurt when they took you? I'm a nurse; I can help you."

Something seemed odd. Why had this offer not been made earlier, when they had brought Kieran? "We're fine." Ianto replied cautiously, moving closer to her. "Can you go for some help?"

She snorted; behind Ianto, Kieran whimpered. "I can't help you. No, no," she said, shaking her head in denial. "I need to collect you."

"You don't have to do this," Ianto soothed.

"You don't understand," the woman said. "Every ten years – it takes us. The Harvest they call it." That didn't sound pleasant. In fact, it sounded like something he very much wanted to avoid. She continued, "I don't have a choice. I'm sorry." She gestured with the barrel of the rifle for the two of them to proceed her. Taking a deep breath and trying to remain calm, Ianto grabbed Kieran's hand in his and led him the way she indicated. Though he dragged his feet, Kieran followed his lead.

"Remember. Take the opportunity to run when I give the signal," he whispered into Kieran's ear as they climbed a set of stairs. He hoped the woman hadn't overheard them.

"In here, please," the woman said as she pushed them through plastic hangings into what was once a country kitchen and now resembled an abattoir. Ianto nearly gagged at the smell. Kieran whimpered as he saw the organs chopped on the sideboard and bodies – previous victims – hanging in plastic from the ceiling.

"We can help each other," Ianto tried again, feeling panic rising. This was worse than Canary Wharf – he had thought nothing would ever replace the nightmarish image of the cyber conversion room. He tried to breathe in through his mouth. "Tell me what they look like, these creatures who are forcing you to do this." He kept a calming hand on Kieran, who looked like he was about to pass out.

A man chuckled, entering the room and taking the rifle from the woman before kissing her. He looked like a typical country farmer, with coveralls stained in blood. Ianto tried not to gag with the knowledge that any of the blood and gore on his clothing likely came from the bodies hanging around them. Breaking the kiss, the man responded to his question, "What do they look like?" He laughed. "They're us." And the woman smiled evilly.

"Oh god," Ianto whispered. "What are you going to do to us?" He needed to know, needed to hear confirmation that they were responsible for the disappearances and the appearance of this room.

"Ah, don't worry sweetheart," the woman reassured him. "You're just meat to us. That's all we ever are – just meat."

Ianto swallowed heavily. He nudged Kieran's foot with his own, moving back so they stood next to each other. "Get ready to run," he warned. He raised his voice so that their captors could hear him. "What are you gonna do? Put us on meat hooks?" He snorted, as if to say it was a ridiculous notion.

"Don't be so impatient!" the man chided. "We have to tenderize you first. Helen?" he asked, turning towards his wife and accepting the baseball bat she handed him. He moved towards them. "You see, we've discovered that the more we tenderize the meat before we bleed it, the better it tastes."

Forcing a tight smile onto his face and hoping it worked, he rushed the man. "Run, Kieran," he shouted. The boy didn't hesitate and practically flew out of the house, shoving Helen to the side as he did. She snarled and grabbed the rifle from where the man had place it. Ianto grappled with him, trying to push him to the ground so that he could follow. Unfortunately, the man was heavier than he and not suffering from a concussion. He easily pushed Ianto back, slamming the bat into his stomach. He gasped in pain, falling back as the breath rushed out of him.

"You're not going anywhere," the man snarled. Ianto tried to sidestep him but Helen came towards him with the rifle.

"I got him, Evan," she said, cocking the rifle with her finger on the trigger. Unfortunately, Ianto couldn't see a way for him to follow Kieran, so he raised his hands to show he surrendered. "Cuff him," Helen ordered, keeping the rifle trained on him.

Evan put the bat to the side and roughly turned Ianto around. "I'm gonna have so much fun with you," he whispered. "I love it my meat tries to fight back. It's the all sweeter when they realize they're not going to get away." He licked a strip up Ianto's neck, causing him to shudder.

"Go after the boy. If you see Huw and Daffyd, send them up here," Helen said. "I'll look after this one here." Ianto didn't like the sound of that.

Tosh had never had a problem with the countryside. She liked the smell of fresh air and the bucolic nature of it. This trip was quickly revising her opinion though and she had a feeling she wouldn't be so keen to make the trip again. "Do you think Jack's okay?" she asked Owen as they continued down the dirt road towards the house in the distance.

"Fuck if I know," Owen replied. "Don't know why we couldn't wait for him to rejoin us. After telling us we weren't splitting up, he goes and does it."

"He is the boss," Tosh pointed out, trying to sound reasonable. Of course, she also thought his decision to go into the woods just because he heard something was not just a little bit foolish.

"Doesn't mean he was right," Owen retorted. "God, I hate the rain. All it ever does in Wales is rain."

She shrugged in reply. She certainly couldn't refute his comment. "We're almost at the house. We can probably dry off and warm up there."

"Unless it's a trap," Owen said.

"Odds on that?" she asked.

"I don't know. Just have a bad feeling about this. Don't know why Jack felt the need to drag us out here for this. He should have let the cops handle it. Or UNIT."

"I think he thought this was a bonding weekend or something like that," Tosh volunteered. "And UNIT probably refused to help."

"They are right bit of wankers, aren't they," Owen muttered. "Can you see anything?" he asked, changing the subject as he peered down the road.

The trees that lined either side of the road created an oppressive atmosphere not helped by the consistent drizzle that helped to obscure their view. The lights still flickered in the distance, partially obscured by the trees. Owen's stray comment about being on the set of a horror movie replayed in Tosh's mind and she shuddered. "We should be careful," she warned. She had a very bad feeling about all this.

Sending Tosh and Owen ahead might not have been the best idea Jack had had this trip. He knew he had heard something. If he was lucky, it would be someone who had answers and not just a victim that had gotten away or a stray animal. His face hardened as he peered through the woods, walking carefully towards the noise he had heard. He wanted answers, wanted to know who or what had taken Ianto and all the others. And he would do whatever it took to get those answers.

Leaves rustled under his feet. He didn't know the exact spot the sound had come from but he knew the general area. He moved slowly and carefully. Getting injured or killed despite its lack of permanence would not help anyone. The woods echoed with unnatural silence. No birds, no insects, no small animals made themselves known. It was as if the very air held its breath, waiting for something. It made him even more wary.

Peering right and left, he saw nothing untoward. He moved deeper in, no longer hearing the soft murmur of Tosh and Owen. He could only assume they had complied with his directions and had continued on towards the house. He only hoped that they exercised caution. He continued searching; when he was about to give up and head back, he saw a dark mound by a tree. In the shadowed woods, it was difficult to see for sure what it was, but it didn't look natural. He moved towards it and when he was almost upon it, the man – for it was clear that it was a man now – leapt up and ran in the opposite direction.

Jack gave chase, not willing to let the first possible clue get away. He wondered if this was one of the beings that had ran from the inn earlier today – or if he was responsible for Ianto's abduction.

The man ran through the woods, weaving in and out of the trees and leading Jack God knew where. "Stop!" he shouted, hoping that he would listen. He didn't. "Stop, or I'll shoot!" The threat only seemed to invigorate the man and he sped even faster. Jack cursed under his breath. Not a victim then, as he had hoped.

Shooting while running was not an easy thing. Of course, if he didn't particularly care what he hit, it was one thing, but he also knew the chances of him actually hitting this guy whist running where zero to nil. He tried to catch up with him but he was a fast bugger and he clearly knew the area better than Jack. It was hard enough to avoid tripping over the roots and ground debris.

Up ahead, the man flailed as he tripped over something. In that split second, Jack stumbled to a halt and grabbed his gun. Taking aim, he let off a shot. It hit the tree the man stood next to. Cursing because he had limited number of bullets, Jack took aim once again. Ahead of him, the man had hunched over as if that would make him a smaller target. This one hit true, lodging in his side and the man fell. He tried to crawl away but it didn't work very well.

Jack strode forward, keeping his gun trained on the man. "Hurts, doesn't it?" he asked, kneeling down next to him and turning him onto his back. He examined the wound and whistled. "Looks nasty. Bet you would love a doctor right about now. And some pain meds."

The man whimpered in reply. "Help me," he pled.

"Why would I want to do that?" Jack asked. "But maybe – maybe – if you answer some of my questions, I'll get you some help." He hoped the pain and loss of blood would help the interrogation along. He didn't want to leave Tosh and Owen alone for too long, since he suspected this guy hadn't been on his own.

The man kept switching his gaze between his bloody hand that was pressed against the exit wound and Jack's face. "Why do you think I know something?"

Jack smirked. "Lucky guess," he said as he leaned closer to him, so that his face was right next to his. "The faster you tell me what you know, the sooner you'll get help. I don't mind waiting" It had been a long time since he had interrogated someone, but it was a skill he had perfected. He didn't think he would have any trouble remembering how to get answers out of this guy.

Kieran ran. He ran as if the very hounds of Hell were at his back. And perhaps they were. He needed to find a place to hide from the monsters, who seemed intent on killing him and adding him to their menu. A part of him felt badly that Ianto had not gotten out at the same time as him. The larger part was just grateful he had created the diversion so that he could get out.

He had barricaded himself in one of the buildings here for weeks. It was only when he had fallen asleep, too exhausted to sleep lightly that they had caught him. Or perhaps they hadn't really tried to get him, content to leave him where he was until they were ready.

He didn't want to die. He ran from the house, cutting across the tree-lined pasture, hoping to find a way out of this village and this horror. So far he hadn't been pursued, but he knew it was only a matter of time. The trees creaked ominously around him and he considered using them for cover. But no, he didn't know the area at all and he would rather get as far from h ere as possible. Maneuvering between the trees would take too long.

‘Please, God,' he begged silently, ‘don't let them find me.'

"Let's cut across the field," Owen suggested as they rounded a bed of the road and saw pasture instead of trees to their right. "Should get us there quicker." He hunched his shoulders as they continued on their way.

"Get the feeling it isn't aliens we're chasing?" Tosh asked, breaking the silence that had descended as they tromped through the woods.

Owen shrugged. "Whatever it is, we'll stop it." He didn't really want to consider what had taken Ianto. Whatever it was had to be monstrous simply by the stripped skeletons they had found.

"Hopefully not before it's too late," Tosh replied darkly. Ianto had been missing for hours and they had no idea how long his abductors would keep him alive.

"Do you see something?" Owen asked. "Coming towards us right now?"

She squinted and looked in the direction where Owen had pointed. "Looks like a person."

And sure enough a teenage boy came barreling their way. "Get out of here!" he shouted. "They're coming!" Behind him, Tosh and Owen could see a man chasing after him.

"Reckon the man's one of the bad guys?" Tosh asked.

"Would guess so," Owen replied as he caught hold of the boy. "Hold still!" he snapped. "We're not going to hurt you."

The boy was clearly panicking as he struggled in Owen's grip. "You don't understand! They'll kill us. We have to get out of here, now!"

Owen rolled his eyes at the boy's dramatics. "Don't worry, kid," he said. "We'll take care of this."

The chaser came closer and both Owen and Tosh trained their guns on him. "Freeze!" Owen ordered. The man came to a halt near them. "Always wanted to say something like that," he told Tosh with a slight grin on his face. She stifled the laugh that came – it wasn't the time for it.

"Why are you chasing the boy?" Tosh asked.

The man remained silent, holding his arms loosely at his sides.

"He's one of them," the boy explained. "He and his wife, both. The whole village is in on it."

"In on what?" Owen asked.

The man remained quiet, smirking as if he knew something they didn't.

"Come one then, why don't you tell us what's going on?" Owen asked.

"No, I don't think I'll be doing that," the man smirked. "Huw, Daffyd, good of you to join me."

Tosh and Owen both started as they felt something that seemed like a gun pressed against each of their respective backs. "Fuck," Owen said.

"We'll be taking those," the man in front of them said, gesturing towards the guns they held. Tosh and Owen exchanged a glance. There was no way that the people behind them could miss. They had no choice and with a sigh, handed over their side arms. "Good. You two will make a lovely addition to our Harvest." The two men behind them took their guns and then tied their hands behind their backs.

As they were led forward, the boy whimpering next to them, Tosh and Owen could only hope that Jack would find them – and find them soon.

Jack felt a cold anger descend upon him as the man in front of him told him what he knew. Cannibals. In Wales. It seemed utterly horrific and completely unbelievable, and yet, if he could believe this man, it was something in which the entire village took part. And, they had taken Ianto, though he didn't know if he was still alive. Jack hoped for the villagers' sakes, he was.

Having gotten the last bit of useful information from him, he hesitated. A part of him wanted to end his life; the other part of him shied from what would be an execution. Maybe he would regret it, but he decided to leave him be. The man could crawl for help. Or he would die, but Jack wouldn't decide his fate. As he walked away, the man begged for his help. Jack ignored him. He had more important things to do – like rescue his team.

They were led to the big house, the same one that they had been heading towards before they met up with the boy and the man who had chased them. Tosh did her best to ignore the increasingly more disturbing comments of their captors, who seemed utterly fascinated to have caught an Asian woman. It sickened her and made her want to vomit. Owen was also growing more and more angry by their comments, seeming to take it as an insult.

"Did you find the brat?" a woman asked as they entered the house. It looked like something out of a nightmare and the smell was nauseating.

"Found some others too," the man smirked.

"Good. Bring them here. Let's see what we've got." It was amazing how cruel and eager her voice sounded, something reflected in the eyes and smiles of their captors. These were not fly-by-night operators. They knew what they were doing, were happy to be doing it – and that made them all the more dangerous. They saw others who must make up the rest of the village population sitting around tables, chatting as if killing humans and then butchering them was normal.

Thrust into the kitchen area, Tosh blanched at the scene before her. On the one hand, they had found Ianto. On the other, he looked awful and it was only pained gasping that came from him that told her he still lived. One of his legs was bent at an awful angle, clearly showing a break. His clothing showed rips and tears from whatever they had done to him. He had a bruise on his head that had already decided to color quite nicely.

"See you started on this one," one of the men said, kicking Ianto and causing him to groan. "Which one should we do next?"

"Oh, lets do the boy, love. He's been so troublesome. We don't want him to escape again."

"You're right, Helen. Huw, Daffyd, bring the boy here."

"Now, wait here," Owen protested. "You can't do this!"

They all chortled with mirth at his statement. "Can't do this? Can't do this? And who's gonna stop me?" the man asked.

"Aw, Evan, he's a comedian, he is," Helen said. She walked over to Owen and caressed his face. "I like fighters," she commented. "Your friend over there," pointing her hand towards Ianto's unconscious form, "he tried to fight. Didn't do him any good. Won't do you any good."

Neither Tosh nor Owen had anything to say to that. They could only hope that Jack would turn up soon. Next to them, one of the other man shoved the boy forward, into Evan's arms.

"Hello, Kieran. Thought you could get away, did you?" he asked. Kieran babbled in fright. "Shh… shh… It'll all be over soon. You won't even feel a thing!" he soothed. He turned the boy so that he faced Owen and Tosh. "Sometimes, we bleed them first. But this one? He's been a bit of trouble. So we'll just take care of it quick like." Before their eyes, he reached and snapped the Kieran's neck. He didn't even have time to scream before he was dead. Two of the villagers came and dragged him away to be bled before they stripped his skeleton of meat.

"How could you?" Tosh asked, even though she didn't really expect an answer. She didn't get one, except in the form of laughter. She wondered who would be next. Wondered if Jack would come to their rescue anytime soon, or if he, like them, had been captured and was even now being escorted to this butcher house.

"Who's next?" Evan asked. "Should we take care of this one?" he asked pointing towards Ianto. "Or one of his friends?"

"Oh, let's do the Asian. She looks delicious. Feisty too."

Behind her, Tosh felt someone prodding her forward. She shrugged their grip off of her, a task made more difficult by her bound hands. A more punishing grip grasped her upper arms and dragged her towards the other couple. "Do you know how wonderful the meat tastes when you bleed it first?" Helen asked. "It's so very delicate and tasty. I'm sure we'll enjoy you quite a bit." She reached for a knife and dragged it across Tosh's chest, leaving a line of blood in its wake. She continued to make small cuts in Tosh's skin, ignoring her struggles and trusting in her cohorts to keep her from breaking free.

Owen tried to break free of the grip hold him back. He wasn't going to let these monsters torture Tosh like this. An entire village of sadistic cannibals – of course Torchwood had to stumble across it. Jack should have just insisted UNIT take this fucking case to begin with instead of dragging them out here to the countryside.

Rearing back, he smashed his head into his captor's. He winced in pain – not the smartest move he had ever made – and pulled free from the grip holding him back. "Get away from her!" he shouted as he barreled straight into the grouping front of them. They all fell to the floor in a heap. Tosh squirmed, kicking out at whoever she could reach and putting her teeth to good use as well. Owen followed suit. He cursed as someone grabbed one of his feet and dragged him from the pile of bodies. He tried to kick free, but it was useless. The man holding onto him didn't care enough to be gentle and tossed him to the side. Owen hit his head hard against the floor, his vision blurring and losing consciousness.

Tosh was picked up by the same man and held tightly to his body. "Got her," he stated.

"What is it with these last offerings? They're so troublesome!" Helen complained.

"It will make their meat all the more satisfying to eat," Evan reminded her.

"I suppose," she grumbled. Truthfully, she wouldn't have minded another few easy prey, especially since it was already at the end of their Harvest. Still, the feisty ones always made her Evan happy and she liked it when he was happy. "Now, where were we?" she asked the female held tight in Huw's arms. Her skin glistened with smeared blood that continued to escape from the cuts she had made before the other one had interrupted her.

Dazed from the fight, Tosh could only struggle in a vain attempt to break free from the person holding her as Helen approached her again with the knife. She spared a thought for Owen, who now lay unconscious on the floor and wondered if this was the end.

According to the man he had shot, the rest of the villagers should be at the main house. If they had captured Tosh and Owen – as he now suspected they had – he needed a distraction in order to take care of the villagers before they did something drastic – like kill one of his people. Hence, the tractor he had found in the pasture. It hadn't taken him very long to hotwire it and that, combined with the shotgun and rifle he had found, should do the trick. He just hoped he wasn't too late.

A loud rumbling noise sounded in the distance. The villagers looked at each other in confusion as it came closer, unsure as to what it might be. Daffyd moved towards the door when it suddenly fell to the ground, a long with a portion of the wall as a tractor drove through. Then the villagers didn't notice anything else, except their own screams and sudden pain as they were incapacitated.

Jack didn't believe in mercy for any of these villagers. Especially not when the first thing he saw was Tosh being held by someone while a woman cut her with a knife. It was with little remorse that he shot the woman in the back. Soon after, another man came running towards him, yelling about how he had killed his wife. Jack didn't spare him a thought as he shot him as well. In a matter of moments, the only villager still standing upright and not moaning in pain was the one who held Tosh.

"Don't come any closer or I'll kill her!" he warned, looking panicked. Jack just smirked as Tosh looked to him for a signal.

"You kill her and I'll kill you," Jack promised, aiming his gun at the man.

"But she'll still be dead!" the man pled.

Jack just shrugged in response. "Now, Tosh!" he commanded and she stomped on the guy's instep and ripped herself from his arms. Jack immediately shot him.

"Are you alright?" he asked as he hurried towards her. He knelt by her side and swiftly took care of the ropes that bound her.

"Ianto's over there," she replied instead of answering him. "Jack, he needs a doctor."

Just a glance told him she was correct. "How's Owen?"

"Unconscious, but not hurt otherwise. He tried to save me when they… well, when they started," she said.

"Alright," he nodded. "I hate to ask this because I know you're hurting. Do you want to see if you can find a phone to get the police and paramedics here? Or do you want me to?"

"I can watch over them. You should do it – you'll be much faster."

Reluctantly, he nodded, knowing she was probably correct. He handed her the shotgun and some extra shells. "Here, don't be afraid to shoot if they even twitch in your direction. I'll be back as soon as I can." He pressed a kiss to the top of her head, before moving to where Ianto lay. He grimaced at the visible injuries he saw, but was too scared to touch him in case he made something worse. Instead, he contented himself with gently caressing his unconscious lover's face. "I'm so sorry, Ianto," he whispered before going to check on Owen. Except for the knot that had started to form on his head, he looked fine. He gave Tosh one last look, ignoring the moans of the villagers who still lived and headed back outside to find the nearest phone. His people needed help; the villagers could die for all he cared.

Gwen watched the morning news with Rhys as he did his best to make her smile. She did her best to not make him worry. Though he hadn't really said anything about it, she knew he hadn't taken her time spent in Providence Park well and still worried she might have a relapse. So she did her best to dispel his worry by trying to act as normal as possible.

"Oi! Hear that, love? Cannibals out in Brecon Beacons. Can you believe it?" he asked.

She turned with horrified eyes to the telly and watched the report. She shivered as she realized that this was what Torchwood had gone to investigate. What could have happened to her had she not forced herself to remain in Cardiff? More importantly, just what did Torchwood do if this was the sort of thing they got called in for?

In a private hospital room, a man sat at the bedside of another man. The man in the bed was covered in bruises and had a tube down his throat to aid in his breathing. Underneath the hospital gown, his ribs were bandaged. His leg was held in traction and he would need to wear a cast for weeks. Antibiotics and other fluids were being pumped into him. He had yet to regain consciousness. The man in the chair held one of his hands, rubbing it gently and talking softly about anything and everything, just waiting for his lover to wake up.

In a flat that overlooked the Cardiff Bay, a woman wearing a man's dress shirt and a pair of panties stared out into the darkness. "It's so pretty out there," she commented. "Hard to believe there could be something so monstrous as those villagers."

"We survived," Owen said as he came up behind her. He held her tenderly in his arms, carefully avoiding the cuts made on her upper arms and torso. "Ianto'll be okay and Jack will be back soon enough, ordering around and being a right twat."

"Sometimes, I don't think I can do this job," Tosh confessed.

"Torchwood changes us. I can't imagine going back to how I was. We'll get through this."

She remained quiet for several moments, letting his warmth comfort her. "Thank you, Owen," she finally said, turning around and briefly kissing him on the lips. He smiled and held her close; happy they were alive.

Coming Up Next: Greeks Bearing Gifts

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Oh this was very nicely done...some lovely Jack/Ianto moments and some really nice Owen/Tosh moments. Good job!

Thanks! It was a lot of fun to do this and it took a lot of twists and turns I wasn't expecting.

You know, Countrycide was such a creepy episode to begin with but adding insight into the villagers? Yikes. Seems perfect to start the Halloween season.

*g* I was pretty pleased to be assigned this episode to write. And you know me, I'm not content unless we get everyone's POV on things. Adding the villager's POV was... really any attempt to bring in a non-TW personality. Thanks for commenting!

Creepy and wonderful, loved the twists you put on this!

thanks! Glad you enjoyed the twists. It was a lot of fun to write.

This is so much better than the actual aired episode, where people forgot to lock the SUV, Gwen blundered right into the young lad's firing range, stupid 'who did you last snog' games, etc! I will be looking forward to the next episode.

Part of the fun for me in writing this was focusing on what stupid things had happened and how I wanted to change them. This is a particularly fun episode to play with b/c there is so much to do.

Interesting retelling. I just rewatched the ep last night, so it was fun to play spot the differences. :)

I had re-watched the episode not long before I wrote this with my boyfr. and a mutual fun, so it was fun to incorporate some of their complaints in this.

Oh, I like this! They were all as smart as we know Torchwood to be: Gwen wasn't there playing her stupid kissing game, they didn't leave the keys in the vehicle and everyone worked together as best they could. Poor Ianto - he ended up in worse shape, but Jack is there with him. And I love that Owen and Tosh were together at the end. And maybe Gwen has finally gotten it into her head that Torchwood deals with seriously dangerous stuff, that it's not a game.

Can't wait to see where this leads the next episode!

I think, especially by this point, the TW team is a lot closer than they were in canon. They are definitely working together in a way they weren't in canon. To be honest? I didn't mean for Ianto to be that badly off. In the actual episode, Tosh was there to take some of it. I figured that the villagers would take their frustration out on him when things weren't going the way they had hoped.

The Tosh/Owen thing was something I debated about for quite a while. I wasn't positive I wanted to end it like that and tried to have it be a bit ambiguous so as to leave the next authors room to maneuver. Reading it now, I can see I didn't really do that. In my defense, I had to write this at a really bad time for me personally so didn't have as much time as I normally like to massage things into place.

interesting alterations here ... as already mentioned the absence of Gwen enhanced the reality of the story ... and Ianto should have been hospitalised after being beaten up and not left sitting in the back of the SUV ... it made sense for shoot them all instead of letting Gwen ask why they did it ... good to see the growing relationship between Owen and Tosh, which will make the adaptation of Greeks bearing gifts very intriguing ...

good job ...

Gwen's absence was something I debated about for quite a while. In early iterations of this, I had her deciding to drive out to the village to see what TW was up to - hence those scenes in the beginning with her discovering the files and looking up things. In the end, I decided if she were to come, there was a really good chance she would die. And considering the other changes I was initiating, I didn't want to do anything else major like that. Another idea I had was for her to come with the responding police officers at the end, or for someone on team TW to call the cops while they're searching for Ianto and the villagers and for her to be one of them, but I decided that was too farfetched.

There are a few things I hated about this episode and you hit two of them in your comments: Ianto sitting in the back of the SUV at the end and Gwen wanting to know why they did it. One of the reasons I was so pleased about being assigned this episode was being able to change those.

Growing relationship with Owen and Tosh was a bit of an accident. I had initially planned to let the end be ambiguous but couldn't really figure out how I wanted to end it otherwise.

Countrycide was such a creepy episode, and you've made it even creepier.
Great job!

thanks! Making it creepier was an unintended side effect, but I'm glad you liked it!

Nice job! Love the changes - especially the bit with the keys. *eyeroll* This was MUCH better. But this had to be my favorite line: He's Jack. I don't think he has a subtle bone in his body. Perfect!

Edited at 2009-10-11 11:13 pm (UTC)

Well, Jack isn't exactly that subtle, is he? *g* Glad you enjoyed this!

you know, I did wonder for a while there if Ianto was going to make it.

I like it. I like that we're now starting to see the ripple-effect: no Gwen means no-one pushing the 'snogged' game, so Ianto's still thinking clearly so the SUV doesn't get stolen. So everything unfurls differently.

And while I always understood Gwen's shock and horror over what happened, and even understood the need to confirm to herself that she was alive, the fact of the matter was that this was clearly a case that would get out into the open and therefore something she COULD have shared with Rhys. She had no real need to turn to Owen. Whereas Tosh and Owen have no-one else, so it's natural that they would turn to each other.

Ianto's my favorite character so no way was I going to kill him. Having said that, I didn't really think about how badly hurt he appeared until I started reading what my fellow authors did with what I had given them. For me, once I started getting into the head space of the villagers, it just made sense to me that they would beat him up.

I'm glad you liked the changes I made. I was trying to think of different ways in which things could unfold, even if it were small.

And yes, my opinion of Gwen soured quite a bit after this episode b/c of her actions with Owen. It was nice not to have to deal with that in this. Glad you enjoyed!

Hey, so this is what Countrycide would have been if the Torchwood team had been in character, instead of bumbling around all 'out of their element.'

Poor Kieran, and after Ianto risked his life to save him and all...

Really like the Torchwood four dynamic. Well done!

Hey, so this is what Countrycide would have been if the Torchwood team had been in character, instead of bumbling around all 'out of their element.'

*g* Glad you think so!

I debated about whether to kill Kieran or not. In the end, I decided his death needed to happen or else the villagers would be grandstanding for too long a time before Jack could come.

Glad you liked the TW four dynamic. I was pretty happy to see my fellow authors write the characters in such a way that I could pull it off without seeming like it was coming out of nowhere.

This was great. Cannibals were still as creepy as ever, especially seeing some of it from their POV.
Loved the little Jack/Ianto, Tosh/Owen moments :)

Thanks! Glad you enjoyed this. I liked adding the cannibals' POV even if I didn't really think about how creepy they were until after the fact.

great twist on canon.

cheers! appreciate the feedback.

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glad you enjoyed this. It was great fun to build on the changes already made and add more to the pot.

So glad Gwen was in the background love Jack /Ianto moments and Tosh/Owen moments, hate that Ianto got hurt so bad!
Thanks for sharing!

Gwen pretty much had to be in the background for this one, especially once I made the decision to keep her in Cardiff and not follow them out, as I had originally conceived. Glad you liked the Jack/Ianto moments and the Tosh/Owen ones. As for Ianto getting hurt... someone had to! (unfortunately, it was him) Thanks for commenting!

The Owen/Tosh relationship is developing beautifully. I really liked their chat in the beginning. They seemed so comfortable together and Owen was behaving almost like a gentleman. His thoughts on why he was taking it slow and why he didn't want Jack and Ianto pushing him and Tosh together intrigued me. He's still sarcastic and abrasive, but you have made him an altogether much more sensitive person.

About halfway through the first part, I found myself wondering if Gwen was really going to stay away this time. Is it awful of me to wish she hadn't?

It kind of annoyed me that Jack hared off on his own so soon after saying they shouldn't split up. If it had been something more pressing that had required him to go against his will, I don't think it would have bothered me as much. I know you needed to get him away from the others so he could come to the rescue in his 'bloody great tractor' but the fact that he did it by choice just bugged me.

This is great! I love the fact that Gwen is NOT in it, with her idiocy and shrieking. You stayed true enough to the episode, but added a twist by putting in the cannibals - if you hadn't ever seen the episode, and didn't know what they were dealing with, the way you wrote the "alien's" point of view was quite ominous. And bless your heart, you actually made Owen a semi-happy man, what with Tosh and then him not letting the bad guys steal the SUV - that was nice of you! I esp loved the part about Ianto being stolen right out from under their noses while they slept. But the very bestpart, the three-inch-thick icing on the cake? Not having Gwen bloody Cooper having to 'understand' why they did it. I hav watched Countrycide countless times now, and as soon as Jack puts his gun to Evan's head to shoot him, I stop the TV. Don't want to watch her stare at the cannibal, and I certainly don't want to have to listen that moronic speech about the way "you lot" ruined her life.

I just discovered this and I'm so happy I did! This is a tremendous effort and quite well done. Putting Gwen aside is a great idea and allows you to focus on making better sense of the stories than the original writers did. I glad to see several glaring problems corrected. Thanks!

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