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Road Safety

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There had been a moment, just after he hit it, when Ianto had thought 'what if'. What if this wasn't an alien at all? It had seemed terribly vulnerable and child-like as it flew through the air, limbs as limp and helpless as a puppets. All of them, they looked like children.

That was why people didn't think twice about getting close to them. That was why it was so easy for them to attack.

But there was still that moment where it fell into a heap, huddled at the bottom of a tree, where he felt like a murderer.

He took out his phone, eyes still glued to that small huddle of clothes, dialed a number without looking. "I think I got one."

"Don't drive away until you're sure," Owen's voice on the other end was tense, stressed. "These things seem to have more bloody lives than Jack does. You turn your back on them for a minute and they're getting back up and launching themselves at your throat."

"Right." Ianto was silent for a moment, fingers drumming on the steering wheel. "You know, it would be a lot easier if we could shoot them."

Owen laughed sharply at the other end. "Of course it would. Don't come running to me when it bites your head off straight after, will you? I told you after I dissected the first one, stupidly tiny internal organs, difficult to hit anything that could do damage. You want to fight them and live, you do it inside a car."

"Cars don't always seem to do the job either though," Ianto pointed out, and it was a moment before he added awkwardly, "and I think I damaged the car."

That confession injected something close to amusement into Owen's voice. "Better you telling Jack than me. What, did it scratch the paintwork?"

"Bounced off the bonnet." It had been a horrible sound, one that turned Ianto's stomach, and it took until now for his pulse to slow enough for his brain to add clinically, 'that'll leave a dent'.

The thing beneath the tree was moving, slow and gradual enough that his eyes didn't register it for a moment. The slightest shift of a joint pulling itself back into place, the sickening crack of a bone knitting itself back together. After this long with Jack, perhaps this sort of regeneration should have seemed more normal, but it was still difficult to view the self-healing with anything other than horrified fascination.

They'd thought maybe the things had something in common with Jack at first. Owen had been all prepared to perform a thousand exciting experiments on the first one until it launched itself at Gwen, all teeth and nails and fury. It turned out that 'child-like' didn't also mean 'nice'.

The one Ianto had hit was dragging itself into the road now, pulling itself along by its arms, legs not yet healed, murder in its eyes.

"I'll call you back," he said hastily, and pressed the button to cut the phone off, already revving the car's engine. Perhaps this time he could get up enough speed to ensure the thing stayed dead.

As it sat up in the road, ready to launch itself back at the car window, Ianto drove straight at it, Owen's instructions still repeating in his brain.

'Hit them at forty miles an hour and there's an eighty per cent chance they'll die, hit them at thirty miles an hour and there's an eighty per cent chance they'll live. Go in as fast as possible, and whatever you do, don't get out of the car!"