Characters: Jack, Ianto, OCs
Word Count: 1578
Summary: While their cargo ship is being repaired, Jack and Ianto are taking a break on one of the most beautiful planets they’ve ever visited.
Written For: My fffc bingo square ‘Outlander’.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood or any of the characters. Which is sad.
A/N: Set in my Ghost of a Chance ‘Verse.
They weren’t called ‘aliens’ here, even though technically that was what they were. The people of Silberon, tall, graceful beings with long, white hair and pointed ears who might, if they’d been on earth, have been termed Elves, considered the word ‘alien’ rude, even insulting. To them, Jack and Ianto were simply Outlanders, people of a different land, neither more nor less worthy of respect than themselves.
They were a gracious people, slow to anger, but formidable enemies when crossed. Few people made such a mistake with them twice, but then few people who crossed them ever lived long enough to do so again. They treated everyone fairly in their dealings with the peoples of other planets, and expected to be treated fairly in return. Most were wise enough to do so.
Jack and Ianto liked trading with the Silberone; they were cultured and artistic, with a taste for the finer things of life, expensive fabrics, exotic spices, books, music, handcrafted items from all over the universe, for which they traded the perfumes they made from the flowers that filled their world with colour and fragrance. Those perfumes made a very healthy profit when sold among the inner worlds of the Galactic Federation, where they were rare and prized. It made venturing out close to the Galactic Rim a worthwhile venture even when Jack and Ianto had no other reason to go there.
This, however, was the first time they’d visited Silberon itself, having usually done business at one of the more easily accessible space stations in the general vicinity that served as trading centres. The planet was a bit off the beaten path, and getting there meant detouring around a small nebula inconveniently situated smack in the middle of the most direct route. It added a good three weeks’ travel time to a journey that would have otherwise taken no more than eight days. Few traders considered the extra fuel consumption worthwhile when the Silberone maintained a continual presence on all the trading stations.
The Happy Wanderer wouldn’t have wound up there at all except that Jack and Ianto had been returning from a mapping expedition out on the Rim when their ship had passed too close to a previously undiscovered pulsar which had affected their navigational instruments. They were still usable, just barely, but needed to be completely recalibrated before it would be safe to use them for vortex travel, so they’d headed in what they hoped was the general direction of the nearest inhabited planet, miscalculated, and wound up in orbit around Silberon instead.
As Jack said later, it was serendipity in action.
The Silberone were a hospitable race of people who always relished the opportunity to display their hospitality to Outlanders. Several of the planet’s most respected traders knew Jack and Ianto by reputation, if not personally, so when they sent out a request for assistance there was no shortage of people ready and willing to offer their help. In what seemed like no time at all, a couple of tugs had come out from the planet’s lone space station and guided the Wanderer safely into dock, where they were promised their faulty instruments would be recalibrated and all the ship’s systems given a full service. Few races could match the Silberone for honesty and integrity, so leaving the Wanderer in what they knew to be safe hands, they allowed themselves to be hustled aboard a shuttle and transported down to the surface of Silberon itself, where they were to stay with the family of a trader they’d been doing business with for more than a decade.
The trader herself was not currently on Silberon, but was due to return in eleven days, according to one of her assistants who came out to the spaceport to collect them. Her two life-partners, however, a male and a female, Belwen and Aesha, were present at their home, along with two of their four children. The older two had been apprenticed to masters of their chosen professions and would be living with them in other cities until their training was complete.
Being Outlanders proved to be no bad thing. Jack and Ianto were installed in a delightful guesthouse that was joined to the main house by a sort of wide veranda, festooned with flowering and fruiting vines, and surrounded by colourful gardens. They ate with the family whenever they wished, but were free to wander around the city at will. As Outlanders, whatever they wanted was theirs for the asking, put on their hosts’ tab, so they often ate out as they wandered the streets, visiting public gardens, museums, and galleries. In the evenings there were all kinds of entertainments to be enjoyed: music, theatre, dancing… Participation was optional but sometimes they joined in, Jack especially teaching Silberone singers and musicians songs from earth, while both men learned some of the Silberones’ dances.
The city itself was unlike any Ianto had ever seen. The low, graceful buildings were white or pastel colours, mint green, lemon yellow, powder blue, the softest, haziest lilac, and a dove grey so light it had a silvery tinge. The streets were wide and covered in what Ianto initially thought was carpet of some description, but was actually a plant, sort of a cross between moss and grass. Silvery-blue in colour, it gave off a faint, sweet floral scent when trodden on. Everyone, including Jack and Ianto, went around barefoot, even when it rained. The weather was as warm as early summer in Wales had been, the rain never heavy, and there were plenty of spreading, tree-like plants and ornamental archways to shelter under if desired.
There was no vehicular traffic whatsoever, at least not on the surface. People walked from place to place or, if where the wanted to go was too far to walk, used a sort of subway system that more than anything else reminded Ianto more of a very sedate roller coaster. The carriages were open and moved leisurely from station to station. People got on and off at will, then rode moving walkways to the exit, or to another platform to continue their journey. Nobody ever seemed to be in a hurry; Silberon was the most relaxed planet either man had visited in over fifty years of exploring the universe.
They weren’t the only Outlanders in the city, there were quite a few others; their hosts had told them that approximately five percent of the planet’s current population were people from other worlds, with perhaps two-dozen races represented. Some, like Jack and Ianto, had arrived by accident and decided to stay; others were students studying various crafts, or tradespeople who’d found a new market for their wares. People of other races were always welcome, as long as they didn’t commit crimes or otherwise cause trouble. If they did, their residency was revoked and they were sent away in disgrace, never to be allowed back under any circumstances. In every respect, Silberone was Ianto’s idea of paradise. Even the clothing appealed, consisting mostly of comfortable tunics in pastel colours and loose trousers, usually in earth tones.
“You know, I wouldn’t mind having a holiday home here, or even retiring here when we feel like taking a break from work for a few years,” Jack said one evening as he and Ianto were floating in one of many small boats on a shallow lake, enjoying a lightshow set to music that was playing out overhead.
It was a bit like a firework display but not; they’d been told that when conditions were right the multicoloured lights were simply projected against the undersides of the clouds, and since the clouds never formed the same way twice, no two performances were the same. Even when it rained the audience wasn’t put off; the lights made the raindrops look like showers of coloured gems, and the boats had forceshield canopies that could be switched on if people didn’t want to get wet. A lot of people simply took their clothes off and stowed them in a waterproof compartment. Lovemaking during performances was common and considered perfectly natural.
“That,” Ianto said, naked and drowsy lying on the padded bottom of the boat, “sounds like a splendid idea; one deserving of discussion at some point, but not right now. I think I’m going to take a nap, and then perhaps we could get dressed and visit one of the islands.” There were several scattered across the lake, where food and drink were available, and where couples and groups could socialise with each other.
“Excellent plan,” Jack agreed. “I could do with a rest and a chance to refuel.” He settled down beside Ianto, draping one arm over his lover’s chest and snuggling against his side, enjoying the closeness. There was no real rush to decide anything, it had already been made clear that they were welcome to stay as long as they wished, and the work on the Wanderer wasn’t quite finished yet anyway. Exploring out on the Rim was rough on a ship’s hull so they were having it re-bonded and a fresh anti-static coating applied. Jack had figured they might as well get everything seen to at once; they could easily afford it.
Eventually they’d no doubt tire of this life of leisure, decide they wanted to get back out there and continue saving the galaxy one crisis at a time, but not right now. They had all the time in the universe.