Characters: Jack, Ianto.
Summary: On a far off planet, Jack thinks back to a long ago morning on earth and the promise he made.
Word Count: 965
Written For: Challenge 77: East at beattheblackdog.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
A/N: Partly set in my 'Ghost of a Chance' 'Verse
“Tosh said when we got here we should head east,” Ianto said, getting out of the SUV and slamming the door behind him. It was ridiculously early in the morning, and the first hints of light from the sun were just starting to make their presence known on the distant horizon.
Jack flipped up the cover of his vortex manipulator. “East. Right, that should be…” He started to punch buttons, frowning at the illuminated screen.
“Hm?” Jack glanced up.
“We’re on earth,” Ianto said patiently, a hint of amusement in his voice.
“I know that; you don’t have to remind me.” Jack had no idea what his lover was getting at.
“Well, I just thought I’d mention it, because on earth, the sun always rises in the east, which would make it that way.” Ianto pointed to where the sky was brightest.
“Oh.” Jack suddenly felt like an idiot; no wonder Ianto was laughing at him. “Right. We should go that way then.”
Jack set off, taking long, determined strides, his coat billowing dramatically out behind him, trying to ignore Ianto who was chuckling to himself as he followed.
“It’s not funny,” Jack grumbled at last as Ianto came alongside him.
“Oh but it is! How long have you lived on earth?”
“Hey, give me a break; you grew up with the sun rising in the east and sinking in the west. I didn’t. Sometimes it slips my mind. On Boeshane, it rose in the southwest. Only it wasn’t called that in Boeshanian. North, south, east, west, they’re earth terms, and more than that, they’re English terms. The sun rises differently depending what planet you’re on. Sometimes there’s more than one sun, each in a different position relative to the planet so sunrise happens more than once a day and each sun comes up in a different direction. It gets confusing,” Jack said defensively.
“Guess I hadn’t thought of that,” Ianto admitted. “All the differences between planets. You must have seen so many.”
“I have. Dozens, maybe even hundreds, travelling first with the Time Agency and then with the Doctor. You lose track after a while. One thing is the same everywhere I’ve been though; sunrise is always beautiful. Some suns are reddish, or whiter, or more orange; some are even tinged with green or blue, or purple, but watching them come up over the horizon, bringing the light of a new day, is always worthwhile.”
Ianto gazed towards the thin sliver of sun on the horizon ahead of them, squinting against the growing light. “I wish I could see that; sunrise on another planet. Even just once.”
Jack reached for his hand, squeezing it. “I wish you could too, I’d love to show you. In fact I’ll make you a promise right now; sometime when things aren’t quite so busy, I’ll ask the Doctor to take us on a quick jaunt so that you can watch an alien sunrise. Corianus Three maybe. It has two suns that rise maybe twenty minutes apart. Or Fiarenzii; only one sun, very far away, but it’s so massive it looks a lot closer to the planet than earth’s does. It’s a red giant, and as it comes up you’d almost swear it was close enough to touch.”
“Sounds amazing,” Ianto said wistfully. “I’d love to see either one.” He pulled himself back to the business at hand. “Come on, work to do; the Rift’s latest gift to us isn’t going to find itself.” Ianto started forward again but Jack caught his hand and pulled him back.
“Whatever it is, it can wait a little while longer; Tosh said it’s not alive so it’s not as if it’ll wander off anywhere. We drove all the way out here at the crack of dawn; don’t you think it would be a shame to waste a perfectly good sunrise?”
Ianto considered that. “Well, when you put it that way…” He darted a quick, sidelong glance at his lover. “If we’re going to watch we should probably make ourselves comfortable.”
“My thoughts exactly,” Jack agreed, pulling Ianto over to a rocky outcropping a short distance away. Sinking down onto the short grass at its base, the two of them leant their backs against the rocks and watched as daylight gradually crept across the land, chasing away the shadows and the night. It was beautiful and Jack swore to himself he would never forget a single moment, sitting there listening to birds greeting the day, with the man he loved at his side.
Many years later, on a world unimaginably far from earth, Jack remembered that day as he watched Corianus Three’s twin suns rise above the north-eastern horizon, a direction know as zisswerz to the local inhabits.
“How’s that for a spectacle?” he asked his companion, gesturing at the dawn sky, painted in delicate pastel shades from pale lavender and turquoise, through mint green, lemon, apricot and pink. It would have been enough to steal the breath from even the most jaded traveller.
Jack turned to smile at Ianto. “Yes, it is. But you know what’s even more incredible? That after all this time I get to share it with you.”
It had taken Jack decades to find a way to get Ianto back after he died from the 456 virus, but he didn’t begrudge a single second of his arduous search; the end result was more than worth it. Once Ianto had recovered enough to travel, they’d left earth aboard Jack’s cargo ship, now renamed the Happy Wanderer, and even with the whole of the universe and all its myriad wonders spread out ahead of them to choose from, this was still one of the first planets he’d flown them to.
After all, he had promises to keep.