Adina (adina_atl) wrote,
Adina
adina_atl

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Fic: The Archivist (Torchwood)

Title: The Archivist
Fandom: Torchwood
Pairing: Jack/Ianto
Rating: If you're old enough to watch Torchwood, you're old enough to read this. (All Audience)
Spoilers: Children of Earth
Length: 2030
Genres: AU, CoE fixit
Summary: An entirely different Day Five, with a happy not-ending or two. If you like your stories dark, this probably isn't for you.
Author's note: Thanks to copperbadge for looking this over.

***

Jack crouched over Ianto--over Ianto's body--head bowed. Gwen's voice was a murmur in his ear, her words no more heard than the crash of waves on the beaches of Boeshane, as comforting and as distant as that shore. He wanted to shut his eyes, but he couldn't look away from Ianto's face, as calm and peaceful as if he were sleeping and would soon awake.

The glow of Ianto's skin had to be a mirage, a hallucination. Dead skin was white and cold, not warm and bright as if he were lying in full sun, especially not in the dim confines of the makeshift morgue where the bodies had been laid out. Dead skin--

"Shit! Jack--" Gwen's voice penetrated his misery. "What--?" She reached out towards Ianto's face, jerking her hand back before she touched him. He was glowing and the light was getting brighter. Jack stared until his eyes watered, then squeezed them shut when the light became too bright to bear. The light blazed and flooded the room before abruptly vanishing. Jack opened his eyes.

Ianto looked up at him, at them. "Well," he said, a slight frown wrinkling his brow. "It worked, then. She said it would, but--" He gave a shrug.

Jack could only stare. It wasn't the glove; it was nothing like the glove. His own resurrections didn't light up the room, or at least no one had told him if they did. The only species--

"What worked?" Gwen snapped before Jack could speak. She sounded about ready to smack Ianto, if not shoot him, her grief turned to irritation. Jack would have stopped her if she tried to shoot him, probably, but the impulse had its attractions.

Ianto ignored her, sitting up and straightening his tie, brushing down his jacket sleeves. "Thames House could do a better job with the floor cleaning," he complained.

Ianto couldn't be. He was human. He was Welsh. Jack reached out and laid a hand flat on Ianto's chest, moving it from one side to the other. "You only have one heart," he said finally.

"That would be because I'm human." Ianto's eye-roll proved that he really was Ianto, not an alien shapeshifter. No one else in the galaxy could stuff that much exasperation into a single sentence.

"Not a Time Lord," Jack said. He wasn't sure if he was agreeing or begging for confirmation. He had read reports from UNIT, damn it, every hint they had about the Doctor and his regenerations. They all mentioned the light, the glowing. Except that Ianto still looked like Ianto and there were only two Time Lords left and Jack didn't want Ianto to be either of them.

"I suppose I am a Time Lord now." Ianto pulled a face. "Bloody pretentious title, if you ask me." He rolled his head on his shoulders, working out the kinks from being dead that Jack knew only too well. It would feel so good to rub those knotted muscles out, returning the favor for all the massages Ianto had given him after bad deaths. (There were no good deaths, according to Ianto.) But first he had to understand.

"Wait, what?" Gwen asked. "You just said you were human!"

Ianto smiled up at her. "Human, definitely. Time Lord, I suppose. Gallifreyan, no fucking way." He scowled and muttered something under his breath that might have been, "Bloody tossers." He stood, reaching a hand down to Jack to pull him to his feet. Jack took it. His hand felt--exactly like it had before they walked into Thames House, exactly like it had in the warehouse where they caught Myfanwy. Jack gave in to temptation and leaned in to kiss him. He still tasted the same, his mouth human hot, not the chill of a Time Lord. Of a Gallifreyan?

Jack pulled back from Ianto's mouth reluctantly. "You said--"

"Jack," Gwen interrupted. "Sorry, but we still have aliens to deal with."

"I--have an idea for that," Ianto said. He stuck two fingers in his mouth, letting out a shrill whistle. Jack followed his gaze and saw Myfanwy flying towards them, gliding in for a landing. She flew through the walls--or no, she flew from a direction in which the walls weren't, even though they enclosed the room. She was traveling through another dimension, he realized, a feat that only St. Escher and his 45th century disciples could make sensible in three dimensions. She cooed to Ianto, swiping his shoulder with her beak, graciously accepting his touch as he scratched above her eyes. "Hello, love," he cooed back. "We need to go inside, if that's okay."

The pterodactyl flickered and was gone, a doorway standing in her place. A doorway with no walls, no depth, only a frame and a door, standing in the middle of the room. Ianto opened the door and stepped inside, holding it open in obvious invitation. Gwen looked at Jack but he could only shrug and follow Ianto in.

"We're inside the pterodactyl?" Gwen asked, looking around what looked like a comfortably appointed office. A large desk made of some blond wood dominated the center of the room, with a tan couch against one wall and copious bookshelves lining all the others. It was warm and inviting, lit from no known source.

"Pteranodon," Ianto said. "And no, not exactly." He turned, his hands spread out. "She's a TARDIS." He paused, seeming to listen to something, and then laughed. "She's my TARDIS," he corrected himself. "Or I'm her Time Lord." He pulled the same face over the title that he had before. "Torchwood One found her; I was studying her when the--when the Daleks and Cybermen came." Jack stepped forward without his conscious will and laid a hand on Ianto's shoulder. Ianto looked down at his hand and smiled, though it wasn't a strong smile.

"So what's your plan?" Jack asked, willing to distract him from the memories.

"The 456, right," Gwen said, giving Ianto a hopeful smile. He smiled back.

"Myfanwy?" he addressed the room at large. She was listening, through Jack couldn't say how he knew. "Can you broadcast to the 456?" The response was affirmative, though equally inaudible. Ianto stood in thought for a moment, then snorted and shrugged one shoulder at Jack. "Broadcast, please," he said. He straightened up. "I am The Archivist, a Time Lord of Earth. This planet is under my protection. You will leave it or face the consequences." Ianto stretched and rolled his shoulders again.

"What consequences?" Jack asked softly when he was certain Ianto had stopped. Ianto chuckled.

"Haven't a clue." Ianto crossed to the couch and pulled Jack down with him. "Most of the universe is scared spit-less of the Time Lords, so--" He shrugged again.

"You're bluffing," Gwen said, sitting down behind the desk.

"Yup."

There were questions Jack should have been asking Ianto, things he needed to know about what happened, how Ianto got a TARDIS, how he became a Time Lord. They needed to make plans if Ianto's bluff didn't work. But it was quiet in here and half an hour before he had been mourning his lover's death. He could steal this moment. He pushed Ianto forward, angling his back towards Jack, and began easing the knotted muscles of his neck and shoulders. Gwen for once seemed to recognize that it was not the time for questions.

"Oh, god, Jack," Ianto moaned.

"Just remember I'm in the room, boys," Gwen said with an indulgent smile. Jack laughed in what felt like the first time in years. Ianto's shoulders shook under Jack's hands as he chuckled.

"I'm sure Myfanwy could find us a room." He made no move to get up.

"I--" Gwen pushed her chair back abruptly as an image flickered into existence atop the desk in front of her: the Earth, complete with moon and artificial satellites. A blinking red dot was moving out of orbit, sliding past the moon. The image shrank and expanded to show the entire solar system. The 456 ship passed the orbit of Jupiter and kept going.

"Well." Gwen laughed. "That was anticlimactic."

"Anticlimactic's good," Jack said. God he was tired. He pulled Ianto back against his chest and wrapped his arms around his shoulders.

"We should be out there," Gwen said after only a moment's peace. "The world must be going crazy!"

"Screw 'em," Jack said, not letting go of Ianto. "The government got into this mess, they can get themselves back out again."

"Jack!"

"Myfanwy can get us back to wherever--or whenever--we need," Ianto said, reaching up to cover Jack's hands with his own.

"Hope she has better aim than the TAR --than the Doctor's TARDIS," Jack murmured in Ianto's ear. The feeling of indignation emanating from the walls was as palpable as her earlier assent. Ianto twisted to look at him.

"Myfanwy isn't a clapped up clunker that was destined for the scrapyard before she was nicked by an untrained renegade with no clue how to talk to her," Ianto said with exaggerated prissiness, his mouth determinedly straight. "She can put us down where and when we choose, to the microsecond and millimeter. And her chameleon circuits work, thank you very much." His smirk broke free.

"Pterodactyl--sorry, pteranodon--right," Jack agreed. Myfanwy had been flapping about the Hub when Jack had been searching desperately for the Doctor. He--wouldn't ask Ianto about that. "Have you always known she was a TARDIS?"

"Not--exactly." Ianto settled back against Jack's chest. "She wasn't a pteranodon when I first met--first saw her, if that's what you mean." He went very still in Jack's arms. "She--did that when I was trying to get you to hire me," he said. Jack kissed the top of his head and Ianto relaxed. "I think she likes the shape, though."

"Beats a police box," Jack said. The walls seemed to grow warmer. Flattering a lady was never a bad idea.

"She saved me from the Daleks and Cybermen," Ianto said. He sighed, "I should have realized--she would never let Lisa inside, not after--" Not after she had been converted. A Cyberman in control of a TARDIS--Jack shuddered and thought a silent thank you at Myfanwy. A real pteranodon could never have survived a fight with a Cyberman, even a partially converted one. How had he never realized that?

"I didn't know she was the same as the Doctor's TARDIS until you left," Ianto continued after a long moment. "She--wasn't happy about whatever happened while you were gone."

The paradox machine, time resetting. "She wouldn't be, no."

"That's when--" Ianto lifted Jack's hand and turned it over, rubbing his thumb across Jack's palm. It was a strangely intimate gesture, even with Gwen sitting right there listening. "Being Gallifreyan doesn't make you a Time Lord any more than being Welsh makes you a rugby player. Hearing a TARDIS, looking into the Heart of Time, that's what does. That's when I did it, after--whatever that was. It hurt her and I wanted to help." Ianto always wanted to help; he needed to be needed. No surprise that Myfanwy had fallen for him.

"Is that--" Gwen stopped. Ianto lifted his head to look at her. Gwen ducked her head. "You changed, love. You were so lost and then suddenly you weren't. Owen thought you'd gone out and gotten shagged." Meaning that Gwen and Tosh also thought that, but would never admit it. Well, Tosh might not have thought it, but Gwen certainly had.

Jack had noticed Ianto's new-found confidence when he came back, but chalked it up to greater experience while he was gone. In a sense, yes. He had missed so much that he should have figured out about Ianto. Did he know any more about Ianto than Ianto did about him?

Did it matter anymore? They had time to learn all about each other.

"The Archivist, hmm?" Jack said, pulling Ianto down to lie across his lap.

Ianto smirked up at him. "I didn't think they'd be scared of a Time Lord called The Teaboy."
Tags: fiction, torchwood
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