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Sheep May Safely Graze

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The Volturi scoffed at him for moving to "such a barbaric country" as Wales, but it seemed a fitting place for him to settle for a while. Cardiff needed all the physicians it could afford, particularly with the number of workers on the docks, and the surrounding countryside provided enough livestock to keep him fed. No one would suspect anything amiss: sheep vanished all the time, and doctors went out of town on locum all the time.

* * * * *

"Sheep with their throats bitten? Aren't there wolves or feral dogs in them thar hills that might be to blame?" Jack asked, staring at the slip of paper Alice Guppy held under his nose.

"Mister Harkness, there have been no wolves in Britain since the time of King Henry V," she replied patiently. "And wild dogs would do more harm to livestock than merely draining the bodies of their blood."

Jack raised an eyebrow. "Some kind of publicity stunt to promote that vampire novel?"

"I doubt that Mister Bram Stoker had a hand in something so louche," Miss Guppy replied. "So will you take the case?"

Jack tilted his head, shrugging one shoulder. "Wouldn't mind a ride out to the country: plenty of lonely shepherdesses out there who could use some company."

She looked at him with patient disdain. "You will be certain to focus your energies on protecting the farmers and their livelihoods."

"Doesn't hurt to give the farmers some attention," he said, pocketing the slip of paper, on which his handler had written the location of the last killing.

* * * * *

Carlisle was careful to move from farm to farm on different weeks, but one farm in particular, by the ironic name of Blaidd Drwg, had such a large number of sheep and the farm was so far up in the hills where no one would think to look, he was able to slip in and out without leaving a noticeable dent in the population. He had kept an eye on the farmer and his laborers for some time, and they were so slipshod in tending their stock, it was nearly a mercy to put some of the more poorly sheep out of their misery.

* * * * *

It took several days of watching and asking around -- usually in the local pubs, also a good place for finding company for the night -- before Jack was able to find a pattern to the sheep slayings, and they all seemed to center on one farm, ironically called "Bad Wolf". A way to ward off predators? No matter, it gave him a place to start.

All it would take was a sheepskin and a night hiding in a pen among the sheep: blend in and watch for any suspicious beings approaching.

* * * * *

A moonlit night: too bright for Carlisle's liking, but his hunger pricked at him intensely and he had to feed it before he gave in to temptation, to take from one of his terminal patients.

He scaled the wall of the sheepfold, perching himself on the parapet, looking out over the sea of shifting woolly backs. On the edge of the flock, he spotted one especially large sheep, possibly a ram, and he tended to favor rams since their blood was usually more abundant. He clambered along the wall, getting closer, then dropped down into the pen, as silent as possible. Sliding closer to the ram, he reached out and gripped it by the scruff of it's neck.

The ram suddenly bucked, ramming its head into his stomach. He reached for it again, but the skin of the thing flew off, startling the rest of the flock. A man about Carlisle's height reared up, pinning him to the wall of the sheepfold.

"Ah, so you're the fellow who's been tapping the local livestock to make your blood pudding," the man said, with a grin.

"Blood pudding? Hardly," Carlisle grunted. The urge to drive the man off rose in Carlisle's heart, but he was human, not someone he wanted to harm, even in self-defense. And if this was a vampire hunter, he wouldn't have come alone, much less merely pin him to a wall and make cheap jokes. "Who might you be?"

"Captain Jack Harkness, Torchwood: Livestock Protection Division," the other replied.

"Doctor Carlisle Cullen," Carlisle replied. "Torchwood? I've not heard of them before,"

"Good to hear: we like it that way," Harkness replied. "So if this isn't about ingredients for strange local cuisine, what's a handsome gent like you doing in a place like this?"

Carlisle drew in a harassed breath he didn't need, except for show. "I was seeking an evening meal."

Harkness tilted his head. "Market mutton ain't to your liking, or do you get off on stealing your eats?"

"My food is... not something that is typically sold in the meat market," Carlisle admitted.

"Would that something be sheep's blood?" Harkness asked.

"Or the blood of any animal: sheep are the most readily available," Carlisle said.

"So you're a vampire?"

"In so many words, yes. And no, I'm nothing like Mister Stoker's Dracula," Carlisle said, patiently.

"It's a work of fiction: met vampires before, in a different place far away from here, and they weren't about to step into Bela Lugosi's cape," Harkness said.

"Who?"

"Doesn't matter," Harkness cut in, his grip relaxing, but making no effort to move away from Carlisle. "So, you limit yourself to donors of the four-legged variety?"

"Yes, I have no patience with vampires who stalk humans," Carlisle said. The scent wafting from the man's skin and hair set Carlisle's mouth watering: he had smelled tempting humans before, but never ones as rich and deep as this.

"Neither do I: staked a few that were taking advantage of Mister Stoker's bestseller," Harkness said. "Any others, none of my business how they get their daily red. Long as they aren't bankrupting any helpless farmers."

"I am careful only to take one sheep at a time, every few weeks," Carlisle said.

"Gotta be another source you could take from, someone willing and able and a lot more nourishing than a piece of mutton," Harkness said, his voice turning husky and seductive.

Carlisle pushed him away, careful not to be too hard with the human. "No. I can't feed from you," he argued, but his hunger begged him to say yes. "I could kill you."

"Try me: I'm made of pretty stern stuff," Harkness said, moving in again, putting a hand on Carlisle's waist. With his free hand, he pulled open his shirt collar, uncovering his neck and upper chest, baring them to the moonlight.

Carlisle shook his head. "I couldn't, not from the neck, but if you insist," he took Harkness's arm and pushed up the sleeve of the man's greatcoat and shirt. Pressing on the main vein of Harkness's forearm to raise it, Carlisle raised the man's wrist to his lips and sank his teeth into the vein. Harkness gasped at the touch, but did not flinch. The blood flowed over Carlisle's tongue; the flavor nearly brought a gasp to his lips: so rich, so heavy with nourishment. The taste alone brought a warmth to his flesh that he had not felt in some time, a warmth that spread through his limbs and down his spine, pooling in his groin, awakening sensations he had not been able to experience in some time, at least not to this degree. He forced himself to refocus and swallow, allowing himself five deep pulls before he pulled away.

Harkness let out a breath he had been holding, then wavered on his feet. Carlisle reached out to steady him, but Harkness waved him off. "I'm all right, I'm all right: give me a moment to clear my head," he said.

Carlisle reached into his pocket for a handkerchief to wrap the wound, but before he could do that, the puncture marks closed themselves. He took a step back. "What manner of man are you?" he asked.

"A very gifted one, we'll say," Harkness replied, mysteriously.

"I see," Carlisle said, not convinced.

"How'd I taste?" Harkness asked, looking a bit paler as he leaned against the wall.

"Like second helpings," Carlisle admitted.

"You can always come back for more," Harkness offered. "I'm up in Cardiff, if you can fly up there whenever you need a top-up."

"Flying isn't something I'm capable of doing, but my practice is based in Cardiff," Carlisle said.

"Guess that makes me easy to find," Harkness said, giving him an address on the opposite side of the city.

* * * *

One hundred twenty years later...

Lunch at a cafe which Ianto was fond of, and Jack noticed someone watching him from another table, enough that Ianto turned around to see who it was. A tall, blond man with golden eyes smiled at them, giving them a deferential nod.

"Old friend of yours?" Ianto asked, looking to Jack.

"Very old friend: did him a few favors back in the day," Jack replied, putting a hand on Ianto's arm, as if to reassure him, that friendship was in the past. "Mind if I call him over?"

Ianto nearly voiced an objection, but he pushed it down, along with the concern that threatened to rise up. "No, not at all," he said. "Friend of yours is a friend of mine."

Jack looked back to the interloper, nodding and beckoning to him. The golden eyed man rose from his table and approached theirs.

"Captain Harkness," the golden eyed man said with a smile. "You're looking well."

"Could say that about you, Doc," Jack said. "Carlisle, this Ianto Jones, my handsome companion; Ianto, this is the good Doctor Carlisle Cullen."

"Is he ...the Doctor you've spoken of...?" Ianto asked.

"Nope, different doctor, but a remarkable one no less," Jack replied.

"Would you care to join us for lunch?" Ianto said, gesturing to the third chair at their table.

"Oh, no, thanks, but I've already eaten," Dr. Cullen said, a little too quickly.

"So what brings you back to our noble city?" Jack asked.

"Medical conference: these can get tedious," Dr. Cullen said. "I wondered if you were still about."

"Still kicking around: seen a good chunk of the world, but I keep coming back here," Jack said, and he squeezed Ianto's hand, looking to him. "Got a good reason for staying."

"I was about to say, the two of you look happy together," Dr. Cullen noted.

"And you? Still flying solo?"

"No, I have a wife now, Esme," Dr. Cullen said. "We couldn't have children, so we've adopted several kids: they're all grown up now." And to Ianto's eyes, the doctor hardly looked old enough to have grown children.

"Sounds like a good life," Jack noted.

"It is: our son Edward is seeing a young lady; they're to be married soon," Dr. Cullen said.

"Ahh, so congratulations are in order then!" Jack said, beaming. "Shall I send a wedding present?"

"Only if it's no trouble: they're trying to keep the wedding small," Dr. Cullen said.

"No trouble at all: I got deep pockets," Jack replied.

* * * * *

Later that night, the hotel bellhop appeared at Carlisle's door, bearing a long, narrow cardboard box, the kind that generally contain an expensive bottle of wine. On opening it, he found a clean wine bottle full of blood, bearing a label written on it in red marker: "Chateau de Torchewoude. Vintage Harkness 5021."

Still tempting him after all these years, Carlisle thought. But he fetched a glass from the room's minibar and poured himself a glassful...