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Time Trap

Chapter Text


3 June 2014




Patrick Delaware was panting as he hauled ass through Hyde Park, the Serpentine on one side, and a curving line of trees on the other, his gun out and held so the barrel was pointed toward the ground.  He swiftly moved from tree to tree, across bare patches of grass, angling toward what looked like a boathouse and hoping whoever the hell was also in the park didn’t shoot him.

Their Metropolitan Police contact, Detective Inspector Anderson, hadn’t sounded the least bit happy when he’d rung up Patrick in the middle of the night to inform him that there were people shooting up Hyde Park using what looked like laser guns.  The very term ‘laser gun’ was what had gotten him out of his nice warm bed, Alice grumbling an irritated, “Bloody Torchwood,” as she stole his share of the sheets and went back to sleep. 

There were a shit-load of reasons he’d fallen for Alice.  Her near-constant irritation with all things Torchwood was, surprisingly, one of them.

Patrick put his back to a tree, trying to catch his breath.  Every once in a while he could hear the unmistakable hum of a directed energy weapon, which told him their contact had been right on the money.  One of the laser blasts had taken out a chunk of one of the trees he’d been hiding behind, coming far too close for comfort.  He tapped the comm in his ear.  “You got anything, Clint?” he whispered, knowing even that breathless question would be caught by the overly sensitive comm system.

“Our people have the combatants boxed in,” came the steady voice of Patrick’s Weapons and Surveillance Specialist, Clint Barton, from his post on the roof of the Old Police House near the centre of the park, one of the highest vantage points in the area.  “I can make out four aggressors, and one other who seems to be hunted by the others.” 

Patrick glanced around his tree, but could not make out the house from his location.  The first thing Clint had done when the primary and secondary Torchwood teams had arrived on-site was get to the best vantage point, and Patrick wasn’t about to ask how he’d climbed the side of the Police House in order to get to the roof.  There were things a person just shouldn’t know. 

Besides, he believed Clint loved heights better than Patrick’s father-in-law did, and that was saying something.   

“One is by that naked guy statue –“

“That’s Achilles,” Martha Jones-Milligan chided, barely covering the laugh in her voice.

“Yeah, yeah whatever…number two is in the trees approximately fifty yards from Mickey’s position.”

There was a click down the comm line, a silent signal from Mickey Smith that he’d heard and was aware.

“Three is just beyond the boathouse Patrick’s heading toward.”

Patrick looked out from around the tree, but could see nothing but the boathouse, a brilliant blue colour even in the faint moonlight at nearly three in the morning.

“Four is near my position, just off the walkway and in the trees,” Clint finished.  “And the one they’re chasing is laying low near a bench approximately in the middle of the park.”

“Can you take out yours, Clint?”  Patrick murmured.

“Shouldn’t be a problem.  I doubt he even knows I’m up here from the way he’s squatting by his cover.”  There was a moment of silence; Patrick could imagine Clint setting an arrow to his bow string and pulling it taut, ready to fire.  “Give the word.”

“Do it.”

There was another moment of silence, and the Clint was cursing a blue streak into the comms.

“What is it?” Patrick demanded, stiffening.  “Clint, report.”

“The bastard just vanished!” Clint exclaimed, still managing to keep his voice down.  “I hit him in the shoulder, and he was going down when suddenly there was a white light and he was gone.  I don’t know if he exploded or if it was something else.”

“There wasn’t any sound of an explosion,” Josh Gates said.  “I’m in the trees near Clint’s position and I saw the light too, but no noise.”

“It must have been an implosion, then,” Luke Smith cut in, from where he was set up in one of their SUVs, monitoring from outside the park.  “Any noise would have been sucked into the event horizon –“

“I do hate to correct you,” the calm tones of Mr Smith, the supercomputer that Sarah Jane Smith had built and Luke had inherited, “however, there was a surge of temporal energy in the exact moment that Mr Barton saw the so-called explosion.  I postulate that the assailant, having been injured, simply returned to their own time in order to protect themselves.”

Time travel.  Lovely. 

“Clint, guide us in,” Patrick ordered.  “Two-on-one, people.  Take them down any way you can.”  They couldn’t allow time travellers any chance to mess with history.

“Copy that.  Mickey, Clyde is on your six.  Clyde, if you move twenty feet to your left, number two will be between you and Mickey.”

There was another answering click on the line, and Patrick was once again amazed at just how quiet Clyde Langer could be when he wanted to.  Not that he wanted to often…

“Martha, you’re closest to Patrick.  Make your way toward him, about thirty-five yards to the south.  Number three is on the move, but he’s going to pass Patrick’s position from enough distance he won’t see him.  You can get in front of him if you hurry.”

“Copy that,” Martha answered quietly.

“Josh, Tom…you have number one.  You’re both quite a distance and it’s all open ground, but you can intercept him if you leave your positions now.”

“Which way?” Tom Milligan asked.

“He’s moving in nearly a straight line toward the bench where their prey is hiding.  I don’t know if he realises whoever it is is actually hiding there, but you’re not going to make it before he gets there.  Tom, head south-east; Josh, you’re going to go a little more east than south.”

“We need someone on the non-combatant,” Patrick said.  “Tish, you and Eion see if you can give whoever it is some form of cover.”

He got several versions of “Copy that,” over the comms just before he noticed a shadow heading away from him, and Patrick knew that was his target. 

He pressed his back against the tree, gun at the ready, waiting for the person to get a bit past him before moving in on their rear.  He moved as silently as he could, knowing that while Martha was good, he was better at the stealthy stuff and the stranger would notice her first.  Patrick wanted to be in position in case whoever it was fired. 

Suddenly, there was the high whine of a laser discharging, and the twin barks of two guns going off.  Judging from the sound of the weapons Patrick knew it was Clyde and Mickey making their move.  Seconds later, Mickey was on the comms reporting that their opponent had vanished like the one Clint had wounded.

Patrick’s prey had started at the noise, and had begun running forward.  However, Martha was suddenly in his way.

Martha always insisted on carrying a stun gun instead of a regular weapon.  Patrick knew it was a holdover from her time with the Doctor, who didn’t believe in using deadly weapons, and if she wasn’t Martha Jones-Milligan he’d have been afraid for her safety.  But she was the Nightingale, the woman who’d walked the world in order to save it, dodging eerie metal balls and hunting parties using only her wits and the help of a certain dragon. 

Not that Patrick had any first-hand knowledge of that, since he didn’t remember any of it, but he’d read the reports and had personally trained Martha in self-defence, so he knew very well that she could take care of herself.

Their target stopped in their tracks, raising one hand with a strange, bulbous shadow in it, which Patrick knew had to be yet anyone energy weapon.  He called out to draw their opponent’s attention, causing them to spin in place.

And that gave Martha the opportunity to dart forward and use her stun gun.

The being jerked, and then is a sudden flash that had be exactly what the others had seen, the stranger vanished.

Patrick knew at this rate they wouldn’t be getting anyone to question, but he figured as long as they were back where they belonged by the end of the night it would put this firmly into the win column.

“Ours is gone,” he reported.  “We’re fine.”  Martha nodded to confirm his words.

It only left Josh and Tom.  They’d had the farthest to go, so it wasn’t a surprise to have not heard from them yet.  Patrick headed toward the area of the park where the person these strangers had been chasing was supposed to have hidden themselves; he knew Tish and Eion could handle anything that came their way, especially since Josh and Tom were running toward the same area.  Chances were they’d meet up and take care of business.

Patrick ordered everyone to rendezvous there anyway.  Although there was no telling what the supposed victim would do if they found themselves surrounded by strangers, Patrick didn’t want to risk anything happening to either his team or anyone who happened to be innocent of what was happening around them. 

This person could have been someone trapped in the park after hours, when these time travellers had arrived and had gotten in between whatever it was that they’d had planned, or they came with the others, and had been brought against their will.  Whoever this was hadn’t acted violently…yet.  They were going to give them the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.  Patrick didn’t want to be responsible for hurting anyone who didn’t deserve it.

And it seemed like the gun-toting time travellers did, indeed, deserve it.

“Damnit,” Josh panted across the comm, “ours rabbited.  Just saw the lightshow.”

Patrick cursed as well, but as long as they were gone he could call it a good thing.

“We have the victim,” Tish Jones reported.  “He seems fine, but he won’t let us approach.”

“Not surprising,” Eion Gwynne put in, his Welsh accent a counterpoint to Tish’s London one.  “I’d be freaked out by the whole thing, to be honest.”

Patrick had to agree.  “Stay with him until we get there.  Talk to him; make him understand he’s not in any danger.”

“Do you see any injuries?” Martha asked.

“I can’t tell,” Tish answered.  “He won’t let us get close enough, although he does seem to be favouring his left arm.”

“I’m on my way,” Martha said.  “Luke, can you bring the medkit from the SUV?”

“On it,” the young man answered.

“Everyone, keep back a bit,” Patrick advised.  “We don’t want to spook him.”

There was agreement over the comms.

It didn’t take them long to get to the part of the park where their visitor had taken refuge.  It was at an intersection of several walkways, where a pair of benches had been set up near a large tree.  Patrick made out the flashlights that his team had brought with them and hadn’t turned on until the coast was clear.  They were standing far back from one of the benches, behind which a man dressed in black was crouched.  Patrick couldn’t make out anything but his clothes, since he was facing away from the team and was looking out into the park, and just from the set of his shoulders Patrick could tell the man was waiting for something.

He didn’t have long to wait.

There were several flashes, and five people dressed in oddly-matched clothing appeared, guns raised.  Patrick didn’t even have to order his team to scramble; they did it automatically, separating in order to make far too many targets.

The expressions on the new arrivals’ faces ranged from shock to anger, and they began firing almost immediately.

Patrick dove toward Martha, sending her to the ground and protecting her with his body even as he was firing his gun.  Weapons’ fire echoed his as his team went on the offensive, bullets flying toward the assholes who thought it had been a good idea to materialise in front of a heavily armed Torchwood.

And then the man in black was moving.

He tucked and rolled, coming up from his crouch to the left of the attacking time travellers.  Patrick watched as he raised his left arm, and a shimmering shield suddenly appeared, protecting his upper body as he pulled a knife from what had to have been a sheath at his boot.  He slammed the shield into one of the attackers, knocking him to the ground, and then followed up with the knife.  He didn’t manage to stab the intruder before the now-familiar white of transport carried him away from the battle.

Three of the attackers were down, two by bullets and one from an arrow, each pulling their disappearing act before any of the team could get to them. 

The shield-carrying not-so-much a victim anymore threw his knife at the last one, piercing his heart just before he, too, vanished.

Patrick finally got a good look at the man they’d helped.  He was average height, and was indeed dressed head to toe in black, from the long black jacket and high-necked shirt to the calf-high boots.  He touched something under his sleeve, and the shield vanished back to wherever it had come from, and he cradled his left arm carefully as he turned to face the team.

It was as if the entire planet had quit breathing, when in fact it was most likely only Patrick who had trouble with his respiration.

Then he realised that at least Clint would be in the same boat.

He couldn’t speak, but he heard Clint gasp, “Phil,” that single word filled with all the pain and longing that Patrick had known his friend had been hiding since that horrible day on the SHIELD helicarrier, back before the Chitauri invasion.

Because the man standing facing them was the dead ringer for Phillip Coulson…who was dead and shouldn’t be fighting laser gun wielding baddies in Hyde Park.