[community profile] fandom_stocking fic for [personal profile] imamaryanne.

Fandoms: Torchwood and Harry Potter
Characters: Jack Harkness, Gwen Cooper, Owen Harper, and Neville Longbottom
Gen, 1600 words



Trollwrangling


"It's twenty feet tall, Owen!" Her voice echoing in the cavernous warehouse, Gwen tapped at her headset, as though attempting, in the process, to slap some sense into her colleague. "How the bloody hell did you lose it?!"

"I don't know!" His voice was almost as high-pitched with exasperation as hers. "It was... and then... I don't bloody know, okay! Maybe it can teleport."

"Hey, if you guys are going to scream at each other over the network, warn me to turn the volume down first, okay?" Jack sounded remarkably calm, given that Owen had just reported the escape of an unidentified, twenty foot tall monster, with canines the size of a man's hand. "There's no sign of any residual energy. It didn't teleport. So everybody stay focused, and stop bickering. We have to trap this thing."

"You know what it is, Jack?" asked Owen, but their leader had gone quiet. Gwen heard the medic mutter several four letter opinions on the subject of their current assignment, and her earlier irritation softened into a smile.

"Come on, Owen. Let's head towards each other. Maybe we can trap it between us."

"And then what? Ask it nicely to surrender? I know you're good at the one-to-one stuff, Gwen, but that might be a bit much even for you."

"Do you have any better ideas?"

There was a pause. "No. I don't know. Run away?"

"Funny." He didn't reply, which she took as aquiescence. For all his argumentative nature, Owen always knuckled down when it mattered. Heading towards his position, she scanned ahead, both with her own eyes, and with the electronic ones provided by Torchwood. Her equipment was a mass of bright blue lights and scrolling text; the warehouse was a confusing jumble of shadows, many of which had a disconcerting tendency to move. It was not easy to remain focused on her objective; but when the huge shape loomed up ahead, there was no misidentifying it. She gripped her suddenly inadequate machine pistol in a clammy hand, and whispered a summons to the rest of the team.

"Stay cool, Gwen," was Jack's advice, and Gwen offered up a fierce glower to the empty air between them. She had hardly been planning to start panicking, no matter how much she would rather be anywhere else at this moment. Footsteps echoed behind her, and she breathed out a sigh she had barely noticed holding.

"Hey, Gwen." Jack was, predictably, the first to arrive, coat a-swirl, cock-eyed grin lighting his face. They might have been meeting in a bar, rather than about to face a hell beast. She managed a smile in reply – somehow he always inspired that – before glancing back at the creature. It had seen them now, and began to head their way, each serving-dish-sized foot stamping down, and echoing against bare concrete and corrugated iron.

"What do we do now?" asked Gwen, aware that she not did sound her most confident. Already they could smell the creature's breath, and it bent low, a throaty roar beginning to rumble its way out past those giant, hooked fangs. Jack levelled his severely undersized Webley, and flashed her a grin.

"Maybe I should flirt with it?"

"Maybe you should duck," said a new voice. Gwen had time for just the one, startled noise before Jack caught her shoulder, and shoved her to the ground. She was aware of something flashing over her head – something green. A laser bolt perhaps? – and then, with a faint squeak of protest, the giant beast stiffened, shivered, and fell backwards with a resounding crash. The floor vibrated, and Gwen looked up in confusion.

"What the hell?"

"Don't worry, it's perfectly safe now." There was a man standing nearby, eyeing the stricken monster with a speculative expression. He was quite tall and stocky, with noticeably prominent teeth, and a friendly, cheerful smile. Somewhat incongruously, he was dressed in a pair of outlandish flares, and an extremely garish kipper tie.

"Yes, but... I mean... I..." She stared from him to the beast to Jack, who was striding forward with his hands outstretched. Neither of them seemed at all shaken, she realised. Maybe she should just go with the flow.

"Neville!" Grasping the other man's hand with both of his own, Jack shook his entire arm with gusto. "It's great to see you again. Excellent timing, too. You tracking this thing?"

"Yes. I'm sorry, there wasn't time to warn you. I don't know how it got here, but I'll have it back where it belongs in a jiffy. Did many people see it?"

"Some local cops. They're used to weird stuff though. A couple of drunks. Nothing you need worry about." Eyes alight with good cheer, Jack indicated the new arrival. "Gwen, this is Neville Longbottom. He teaches at a private school up in Scotland."

"You're a... teacher?" asked Gwen. Neville smiled at her, a little bashfully.

"Of herbology. Hi."

"And you hunt monsters in your spare time?"

"It's a school with a very varied curriculum." He didn't appear to be joking. "Also I used to work for the Ministry, so I help them out from time to time." He looked from her to Jack, and then down at himself. "Although I obviously need more practice. I seem to have misjudged the local fashions again. Muggle clothing is surprisingly hard to get right."

"Who cares. It's good to see you." Jack slapped him on the back, at the same time sending a brief message over his headset to tell the others that the crisis was over. "Neville, this is Gwen Cooper. You two ought to get along great. Can you stay?"

"A drink perhaps. This evening? I have to get this thing somewhere secure first, and I'll have to report its capture to the Ministry. I'll send you an owl to say when I'm free, okay?"

"Sure, looking forward to it." Jack seemed delighted. Gwen frowned.

"An... owl. Is that an acronym?"

"No, it's a bird." Neville smiled at her kindly, then pulled a short length of polished wood from a pocket. He pointed it at the beast, and muttered something. Gwen did not catch all of it, but it sounded Latin. There was a sharp crack, and the beast vanished. Gwen's eyebrows shot up into her hairline.

"It was nice meeting you, Gwen," said Neville, and before she could do more than gape at him, he had muttered some more words, and disappeared after the beast. She immediately looked at her equipment, but it proved to be unaware that anything had happened.

"Teleport?" she asked. Jack shook his head.

"Not exactly. The technology isn't anything that registers with electronic devices. Even my wriststrap can't make head nor tail of it."

"Alien?"

"Or something highly advanced. They call it magic, but then humans call everything magic when they don't understand it. Neville's definitely human, anyway."

"And he... teaches that stuff?"

"Yeah. Makes you wish your own school days had been so interesting, right? They're pretty choosy though. Old families mostly, from what I gather. I ran into a field study group Neville was leading when I was up there a year or so back looking for Torchwood Two. You remember I told you it had disappeared? Neville was a great help. Wouldn't tell me where the school was though, and I never did find it." He shrugged. "Still, handy guy to have around, isn't he."

"Hey!" Owen had appeared across the way, hurrying towards them with gun drawn, and frown at full force. "I thought you said you'd got it?"

"It nearly got us," said Gwen, recalling the wash of hot, stinking breath over her face. "But it's all dealt with now."

"Yeah, but..."

"By a teacher," said Gwen, rather enjoying this new sport of Owen-baffling. "A herbs teacher, I think he said."

"The twenty foot hell beast was beaten by a nerd in brown corduroy?"

"Green flares actually." Gwen frowned. "And what was that about not understanding clothing? Muggle clothing, did he call it?"

"Figure of speech. I don't know." Jack shrugged. "Ask him tonight."

"Ask who tonight?" asked Owen, now entirely left behind. Gwen took away his still readied pistol, and returned it to his holster.

"Neville," she said soothingly. He eyed her suspiciously.

"Neville? The herbs nerd? A herbs nerd called Neville disintegrated the giant monster thing?"

"In all fairness, Owen, most of Torchwood are card-carrying nerds. I don't think any one of us can go about using that word like it's an insult." Gwen stared over at the space where the monster had been. "Although, for the record, he didn't disintegrate it. He... sort of... said a magic spell. And... sort of... waved a magic wand."

"Did you get hit on the head?"

"Relax." Grin wider than ever, Jack slung an arm around each of them, and began guiding them towards the exit. "I'll get Ianto to brew up some special recipe coffee, and that'll take care of the headaches. Then tonight you can ask Neville all the questions you want."

"And that'll clear things up, will it?" asked Owen. Jack's smile did not waver so much as a nanometre.

"Not a bit of it," he said cheerfully. Owen scowled.

"You're enjoying this way too much, Harkness." he accused. Jack laughed lightly.

"Hey, I'm barely getting started. I can't wait until he starts talking to Tosh about magic."

"Magic? Seriously?"

"Would I kid you, Owen? Now come on. I'm expecting an owl."

"An..." Owen glanced across at Gwen, then closed his mouth sharply. Whatever, his expression plainly said. This was obviously going to be one of those weeks.


The End


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