It was a great opportunity. Help build a mine, carry a gun, study some pretty amazing technology, oh, and learn everything about intergalactic travel and meet some aliens. Torrington loved it. He'd consulted on a naquadah mine, was in charge of building a trinium mine. Then someone realized that he'd picked up enough knowledge of Goa'uld and Ancient technology to be useful in the field. So now he spent his time going off world, on exploratory trips, except for those occasions where he had to run from angry natives or repair vital equipment under heavy fire.
Once in a while a blast or a bullet or even a freaking arrow would fly past way too close and Torrington's brain screamed for a return to much simpler time, when he was one of the guys who built mines. And then he would look at Major John Vickery, their team's leader, Captain John Padstowe, second in command, and Sergeant Friedrich Rottlander, who seemed to have a soft spot for Torrington and always had cookies stashed on his person just for him. What a German was doing on a British gate team was still a mystery, but SG-12, Torrington's team, didn't let that bother them. On the scale of things it wasn't important.
And then there was SG-13, who ninety percent of the time was the team who would come to SG-12's rescue. It's not that SG-13 never got into trouble, but it was an unspoken rule that other teams took it in turns to pull SG-13 out of the fire, because the kind of trouble they got into was weird even by intergalactic standards. (There was an incident with goats, which happened before Torrington's time and nobody wanted to talk about it. Only the leader of SG-1, Richard Sharpe whose turn it was to lead men to SG-13's rescue that time, muttered something about never being able to look any goat in the eye again.)
So it wasn't surprising that when an off world base was attacked during a big training exercise and Torrington got cut off from his team, it was Hunter, the leader of SG-13, who'd ended up pinned down by enemy fire with him.
'Where'd you lose everyone, Torrington?' he shouted over the sound of gunfire, while taking precise shots at the Jaffa, so that Torrington could get the access panel to work.
'Our training objective was to patrol the perimeter while the scientist carries out the tests. I was the scientist,' Torrington snapped back, trying not to imagine all the horrible things that could be happening to Vickery, Padstowe and Rottlander. 'Where did you lose your guys?'
'Helen's on the other side of the compound, kicking some ass Tok'ra style. Hopefully Duff and Prestwich are still with her.' And no wonder, thought Torrington as he pulled on a wire, that SG-13 were affectionately known as “Freaks”. There was Major Hunter, who rumour had it was a serial killer in his spare time; Dr. Prestwich, who had a real attitude problem; Captain Duff, who apparently alternated between being military and civilian and Helen, or when her eyes were all golden, Alkel, a Tok'ra.
'Hopefully,' replied Torrington and prayed that his team is alright as well. Then they were in the compound itself. There were several civilians in here somewhere with the SGC Commander: after nearly shooting each other while trying to take cover and hide from the Jaffa, Torrington and Hunter had taken it upon themselves to go save them.
'I think I ought to warn you,' said Hunter quietly as they made their way down the corridor cautiously. 'The general will probably be armed. So once we got them, stay out of his line of fire and keep the civilians out of it too,' Torrington was about to protest that thank you very much he knows that much, but Hunter carried on. 'And by his line of fire I mean everywhere in front of him. General Wellesley couldn't hit the side of the barn with an RPG.'
Torrington snickered and that had to be a nervous reaction, but in fact wasn't. Sometimes he thought he didn't have any nerves left. Suddenly Torrington heard a voice raised and sounding very very annoyed. Hunter turned round and grinned at Torrington over his shoulder. 'The General must be trying to calm the civilians down.'
One of the things he'd been told when he took the job was this: “Look we don't care who sleeps with whom. General Wellesley and SG-1's leader, Sharpe, fuck like bunnies whenever they can, though everybody pretends they don't. Just try not to sleep with your team member, it could prove awkward.”
Torrington grinned back at Hunter and readjusted his rifle. Torrington was pretty good with following the rules, so he didn't sleep with any of his team members, he slept with SG-13's leader. Although considering they were getting married in a month, he should probably stop saying slept and start saying fell in love with.
It was well past lunch time when Torrington got out of the Global Dynamics building. Everyone was on edge and working overtime and Torrington was this close to punching a wall. He thought he liked General Wellesley when they first met, but now he was coming with an inspection and everyone was so scared that something would go wrong during his visit, that it could drive a man insane.
Cafe Diem was practically empty, but Rottlander was at the bar stand as ever and he immediately offered him a steak and shoved an industrial-sized cup of aromatic coffee into his hands. For a brief moment Torrington felt like hugging him.
A quiet 'oomph' came from the corner of the Cafe, and Torrington turned, looking for the source of the sound. He only saw a pair of legs and a very very nice arse in a pair of tight jeans, because whoever it was, was bending over to pick something up. Oh, who am I trying to fool? Thought Torrington with disgust. He knew exactly to whom those legs (and arse) belonged to, even though he'd only seen the new sheriff in his uniform so far.
The sheriff straightened, unfolding the piece of paper he'd picked up. 'Huh, well this can't be good...,' Sheriff Hunter said and at that moment something whizzed past the Cafe's window and there was an almighty crash followed by an minor (by standards of Eureka) explosion.
'What was that?' Torrington didn't even notice the Sheriff move, but the man was standing next to him.
'If I am right, it was one of Willoughby's drones, but I can't be sure, it went by too fast.'
'Huh. I thought Willoughby was the one who did strange things with horses.'
Torrington hid a smirk behind his coffee cup. 'Well, mostly he works on projectiles.'
Hunter nodded and sighed. 'This was supposed to be my day off. Better go check it out.' Hunter grabbed his leather jacket off the back of a chair. 'Wanna come with? You know I am no good with your science voodoo.'
'It's not voodoo, Hunter, just because you fail to understand it,' grumbled Torrington already following Hunter out of the cafe. The steak could wait. Especially when there was a possibility of Hunter bending over again.
'I will not repeat myself again, Torrington,' growls Hunter. 'You. Will. Wait. Here,' he punctuates every word with poke to Torrington's chest, 'and wait for me to give you an all-clear. You will only be in the way now.'
Torrington's has had enough of Hunter's swagger and easy SAS assurance, so he punches him. It's stupid, it's not him, but it's very satisfying. Hunter blinks at him, snorts in a weird mixture of amusement and disbelief, then shoves a rifle into his hands. 'If you don't keep up or you get attacked I'm not saving your ass.'
Torrington wants to punch him again, because his role here may be that of the technical expert, but he is career army too, thank you very much. Instead he grabs the rifle and follows Hunter and his team.
A few hours later, when the anomaly is shut and Torrington has shot what he's pretty sure was a velociraptor, Hunter sidles up to him, not exactly looking apologetic, but definitely with some sort of contrition in his eye.
'Look, I am not sorry about earlier. It's my job to protect you and scientists generally tend to want to cuddle the bloody things instead of shooting them in the face, but thanks.' There should be a for saving my life tagged on to the end of that sentence, but Torrington will take what he can get.
'You do realise we want to study them, and live specimens are quite useful for that purpose,' Torrington snaps waspishly.
Hunter snorts. 'Yeah, tell me that when a T-rex is trying to eat you whole.'
Torrington doesn't have a come back for that, but it's okay, he's pretty sure Hunter has already learned a lesson today.
'I like your place. Very, uh, atmospheric,' Hunter smirks, pulling down his sunglasses. Torrington is not exactly overjoyed to see him. He probably has an army of journalists following him and Torrington rather likes his status of mostly recluse millionaire.
'What do you want? You and your friends don't exactly need help blowing things up.' Torrington scowls and waves the butler away, before he can bring Hunter a drink and therefore prolong the man's visit.
'I am not here for that,' says Hunter in a low voice and oh, no, no, thinks Torrington. He doesn't need this. This wasn't even supposed to happen the first time around. It had been a mixture of adrenaline and fighting and Hunter pulling him out of Loki's grip and then Torrington trying to remember all of his engineering knowledge to put Hunter's heart together. Torrington was sure that if he was to ask any person, they would say: “Yeah, stress relief sex happens under those circumstances.”
Except maybe it hadn't been just stress relief, because he remembers Hunter looking vaguely lost, when he announced the fact that he was leaving and his intention to never ever get sucked into their problems again. But Torrington also knew Hunter and the reputation of the playboy that preceded him.
And now Hunter was here, tense and trying not to show it and may be Torrington was wrong to walk out like that. Hunter must see something in his face, because his shoulders relax and he smiles softly.
'Come on Batman, after I let you literally put your hands on my heart, the least you can do is show me the cave. And the car. You car is cool.'
Torrington swallows around a lump in his throat. 'Well, your heart is a lot cooler than my car, Ironman.”
'I would say she died about four hours ago. Asphyxiated. But don't take that as gospel, wait for autopsy results,' snaps Dr Cassel as soon as Detective Hunter walks through the door of the crime scene.
'Sure, Doctor,' says Hunter easily, used to the medical examiner's temper by now. Torrington concentrates on dusting the surfaces for fingerprints, but he can feel the detective's presence as the man walks around the crime scene, taking stock.
'Third one in two weeks. Wellesley is going to have my head if we don't get this bastard soon. Frankly, I'll let him have my head.' Hunter is standing next to him, seemingly studying the girl's family photos, prominently displayed on the mantelpiece.
'It's too early to say that this is definitely his third victim,' says Torrington and practically hears Hunter roll his eyes.
'Oh, yeah, the fact that she's had her heart cut out like the other two is just a coincidence.'
'Just being thorough, Detective,' replies Torrington coldly.
'Yeah, I like it when you are thorough, Edward,' drawls Hunter softly so only Torrington can hear him. It should horrify him, flirting while standing next to a dead girl, but he knows it's Hunter's way of keeping sane so he lets him.