Characters: Ianto, Jack, OCs.
Summary: On a far-off alien world, Jack takes Ianto to a very different sort of rock concert.
Word Count: 1067
Written For: My own prompt ‘Any, any, Rock concert,’ at fic_promptly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
A/N: Set in my Ghost of a Chance ‘Verse.
“I thought you told me we were going to a rock concert,” Ianto said as he and Jack trudged on across a wide expanse of grassland towards a range of mountains at the far edge of the plain. They’d been walking for more than three hours already, but the lower slopes now looked to be only a half mile or so distant.
“We are,” Jack replied cheerfully.
“Well where’s the audience, the band, the stage, the lights…” Ianto couldn’t see any of those things, and in fact hadn’t seen another person since before they’d set out on their long hike.
“We’re not on earth anymore, Ianto; you really have to stop thinking in earth terms,” Jack chided. “That might be what the rock concerts you’re used to look like, but things out here are a bit different.”
It had been less than three months since Ianto had left earth with Jack, and he was still experiencing a lot of culture shock, made more jarring because while a lot of things had clear similarities to what he was accustomed to, others were so completely different they were often hard to get his head around.
“So no band, no audience, and no stage then?”
“Not as you imagine them, no, and you’ll probably find the music a bit strange too, but I hope you’ll keep an open mind. I think you’ll enjoy it if you give it a chance.”
They were approaching a cleft between the two nearest hills by now, a rubble-filled valley where a silvery stream rushed from higher ground to become a winding river that flowed out across the plains. Ianto shifted his backpack on his shoulders; he and Jack were carrying all they’d need to camp out overnight because Jack had said it would be almost dark by the time the concert ended, and safer for them to stay put until daylight. The sun was already drawing close to the horizon behind them.
“I was expecting more people, or aliens.” In whichever direction Ianto looked, he couldn’t detect any sign of another living soul.
“There might be a few others when we get there, but the show goes on every night, whether there’s anyone here to see it or not.”
Ianto glanced at Jack, puzzled, but didn’t say anything, too busy scrambling over huge boulders, following his lover up the rocky cleft.
Jack finally came to a stop at a flat area among the rocks and dropped his pack to the ground before helping Ianto with his. “We just made it in time, the show should be starting soon. This should be a good place to sit, with our backs against these rocks. Make yourself comfortable.”
Ianto obediently settled himself on the dry, sandy ground and Jack sank down beside him, pointing toward the end of the narrow canyon, which was ringed by a wide ledge maybe a hundred metres higher than their current position.
“Keep your eyes on that ledge.”
Looking up, Ianto could just make out flickers of movement up there, and dug the alien equivalent of binoculars that Jack had given him out of his backpack in order to get a better look. Beside him he noticed Jack doing the same.
Turning his attention back to the ledge and adjusting his binoculars, Ianto frowned; it looked oddly as if there were rocks moving around up there, or perhaps creatures so well camouflaged that they appeared rocklike. Then, between one heartbeat and the next, the sinking sun reached exactly the right angle, and the peaks above burst into dazzling light as crystals embedded in the rock walls caught the evening light and threw it back and forth across the canyon, bathing everything in coruscating colours and making it look as though rainbows were dancing overhead.
That was when the music began, a deep murmuring Ianto felt at first rather than heard, which grew and swelled, becoming audible, changing pitch and tone constantly, like an orchestra and a choir combined. As more ‘voices’ joined in, the pure, crystalline notes echoed from the canyon walls to create complicated melodies in major and minor keys that tugged at Ianto’s emotions, making his heart soar with joy one moment, and his eyes fill with tears the next. He wiped the tears away quickly, loath to miss a single second of the spectacular light show, utterly captivated by the sheer beauty that filed his senses.
Afterwards, Ianto couldn’t have said how long the concert lasted. Time seemed to lose all meaning as he sat there watching and listening, completely enthralled. It could have been mere minutes or several hours but at last the final rays of the sun’s light passed below the horizon, the sparks flaring from the crystals dissipated, and the music faded away to silence.
For long moments Ianto couldn’t bring himself to move, not wanting to disturb the sense of peace and tranquillity that had settled over him. Finally he stirred, and it was like he was waking from a trance, or the most beautiful, poignant dream he’d ever experienced. He sighed wistfully, wishing it wasn’t over, and that he could hold every timeless moment, every sparkle of light and every note of music in his memory with perfect clarity for the rest of his life.
“The Welsh Male Voice Choir would be so envious,” he breathed at last into the silence. His ears felt like they were still echoing with the incredible music, every cell of his body thrumming with it.
Beside him, Jack chuckled softly. “Worth the long walk?”
“Definitely; I wouldn’t have missed that for the world. But who was singing?”
“The rocks.” Jack grinned at him. “I did tell you it was a rock concert.”
Ianto stared at his lover, eyebrows raised. “They can’t be rocks, or at least nor any sort of rocks I’ve ever met.”
“Technically I suppose crystalline life forms would be a more accurate term. They’re intelligent, civilised, but rather reclusive. They stay in their mountains, keep themselves mostly to themselves, but every night as the sun goes down, they sing. Why they do it no one knows, they’ve never said, but they don’t mind people coming to listen and watch.”
Jack fell silent and the two men sat lost in their own thoughts as night slowly deepened around them. Ianto was sure this was an evening and a spectacle neither one of them would ever forget.