Captain Jack Harkness crouched, breathing hard, behind a trio of barrels filled with Trecadian Salamander eggs in stasis gel. He felt pretty confident that his assailant wouldn't approach him here - in fact taking cover here was kind of unfair - but so help him, they'd been at this for four hours and he wasn't Superman.
...He was better. At least he knew a thing or two about fashion. Blue and red spandex. Really.
Jack eased one eye around the edge of the barrels. His opponent stood in the doorway, one long, dark, unaffected shadow, like he'd just walked out of a noir film.
"That's cheating, soldier!" Jack yelled.
"I assure you, Jack," Castiel replied, his voice gravelly and neutral, "I am following the aforementioned rules to the letter." After a pause, he added, "it doesn't seem safe for me to pursue you here. I could damage--"
"That's why I'm in here."
"You wish to damage the contents of this room."
"I want you to give me a minute, Terminator!"
And Castiel stood there a moment, clearly indecisive, before heading off down the hall. Jack marked which direction he took, gave himself another ninety seconds, and stalked after him.
The angel was waiting for him one level down, coming up at him as he followed the dim stairwell in the underbelly of Torchwood Five. On instinct, Jack went for his Webley, then recalled the first hour - when he'd emptied the gun into Castiel with absolutely no effect.
Just not fair.
Instead, he went at Castiel with his hands, and nearly broke his fingers on the angel's jaw. His knuckles were still humming with pain when he ducked under Castiel's arm, leaped the rest of the staircase, and spun around on the landing. There wasn't even the satisfaction of a blooming bruise on Castiel's face. Maybe a little pink, but really, this was ridiculous.
"You know, I bet you're a real pill in bed," Jack hollered, backing up as Castiel came at him, "bet you're a control freak. Bordering on psychological problems."
"You would know, Jack," Castiel replied evenly, and brought his forearm hard against Jack's chest. Tried to, anyway. Jack dodged him at the last minute and was gratified to see his opponent lose his balance. Castiel wasn't the most graceful creature, when he didn't have the luxury of transporting himself in and out of reality like a metaphysical popcorn kernel.
"First lesson of self defense, Cas," Jack said triumphantly, "'use your enemy's strengths against him.'"
"I'm not certain that's the first," Castiel said from the floor.
Jack shrugged. "Is in my book." He watched for a moment or two with a little grim pleasure as Castiel picked himself up. Jack shot off down the corridor well before he was on his feet.
Forty-five minutes later, Jack had Castiel in handcuffs and he had Owen Harper to thank for it. So he thought.
"So apparently, what's good enough for subduing the Hoix is good enough for the Holy Host," Jack said, holding up a half-empty syringe of liquid. Castiel gazed calmly up at him from behind the plastic wall of a holding cell. He said nothing.
"Oh, come on, not even a few sour grapes, Cas?" Jack taunted. He set the syringe down on the small table at the end of the row of cells, then returned. "I dropped you with modified horse tranquilizers. That doesn't concern you?"
"You dropped me with modified horse tranquilizers, Jack," Castiel replied, "that doesn't concern you?"
"It's not on your - sort of unacceptably short, by the way - list of weapons that can kill an angel. I wasn't worried." After a pause, Jack wondered if, possibly, he'd gotten just a little overzealous when reaching for the Hoix tranquilizer.
"That's not what I was talking about," Castiel replied. He continued to pin Jack with an unwavering gaze, while Jack parsed his meaning. When he got it, and his eyes widened, Castiel nodded once.
"You let me beat you," Jack said, just on the edge of angry.
"Our match was proving fruitless on either side," Castiel shrugged, "and you aren't about to admit defeat, nor was I particularly interested in defeating you. It seemed prudent."
Was that just Jack's irritation talking, or did the damn angel sound a little arch?
They stared at one another, Jack pissed, Castiel... whatever. Jack was about five seconds from just walking away and leaving him in that cell to find his own way out, when Castiel leaned back against the wall and smiled at him.
"However, I am in handcuffs."
"As I believe was your original intention. Jack - there is one way in which you can always best me."
Jack knew what that was, of course.
And he was no quitter.