Title: Through Time And Space: Chapter 2 – Explorations Part 1
Characters: Ianto, OFC, mentions Jack
Rating: PG-13 for some swearing.
Word Count: 2274
Spoilers: CoE, House of the Dead
Summary: Ianto takes stock of his situation, exploring his mental and physical condition, before setting out on the first stage of a thorough exploration of his new home.
Written For: Challenge #95: Exploration at fan_flashworks.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
A/N: This is the first of two chapters written for this challenge, because it was getting way too long to post in one piece and there was a natural break that made dividing it into two parts simple.
“Bloody hell! I’m in a TARDIS!” Ianto’s words echoed loudly around the control room. He winced; he hadn’t realised he’d shouted. He felt he was justified though. It was rather an unexpected development; he had every right to be a bit startled. The voice in his head must be the TARDIS itself. Her self, he corrected himself. The voice was definitely female. Were all TARDISes female? Would it be rude to ask? Would she even know?
“TARDIS?” the voice in his head murmured. “Yes, I believe you are correct.”
“Which begs the question; whose TARDIS are you? Is there a Time Lord around somewhere? I wouldn’t want to be accused of trespassing.” Ianto sat up carefully. For someone who’d recently been blown up, he felt a lot better than he probably should, but it might be a good idea to check that he didn’t have any serious injuries before he tried anything too advanced, such as standing up. Shock could affect people in strange ways.
“I have been monitoring your life-signs; you are in excellent health and quite undamaged.”
“I got blown up. I should be dead. I was holding the bomb and it was a pretty big explosion.” He looked quickly at his hands, both surprised and relieved to note they were still attached. Just to reassure himself, he examined the rest of his body, checking for pain or any other signs of injury and finding none.
“You were dead, briefly. Now you are not. I am glad; I did not wish you to be dead. I would have been alone.”
“Well, that’s good. I didn’t want to be dead either. I much prefer being alive.” Ianto felt more than a little dazed at the news. He seemed to be dying rather a lot lately. “Um, this is probably a stupid question, but… If I was dead, then how am I not dead now? Did you fix me?”
“No, I was not responsible, I am unsure if I have that kind of power. Your whole being is saturated in vortex energy. It appears to have soaked into every cell of your body, becoming a part of you; I believe it was that which restored you to life. Are there others of your kind who carry the vortex within them in this way? I seem to recall another like you, when I was very small. Or maybe I am mistaken.”
“I have vortex energy in me? How did that happen? When did that happen?”
“Perhaps it is a side effect of the explosion that closed the Rift you came through.”
Ianto wondered if he should lie down again until the shock passed, then realised he already was. He wasn’t quite sure when that had happened either. “Am I like Jack now? Stupid question, forget I said that. You don’t know who Jack is. Am I…?” He couldn’t say the word, unsure of whether he wanted the answer to be ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.
Ianto nodded. He seemed to have forgotten how to breathe.
“Your timeline is complex; I cannot be sure, but if it has a terminus it is beyond what I can currently perceive.”
All the air went out of Ianto’s lungs in a rush. Breathing. Right. Good. Although it probably wouldn’t matter if he didn’t breathe, he’d just die then come back again, like a certain immortal Captain of his acquaintance. Hello eternity!
The giggling was decidedly undignified; he really should stop that. It was entirely possible that he might be slightly hysterical, although under the circumstances that could be excused. He concentrated on composing himself, gathering the shreds of his dignity, and sat up again. He suspected he wasn’t making a terribly good first impression. The TARDIS’s voice jolted him out of his reverie.
“As to whose TARDIS I am, I rather think I’m yours.”
“You asked who I belong to.”
“Sorry. Yes, I did.”
“There is no other living being present within my walls, nor has there ever been; therefore, logically I must be yours. I found you in the no-place; I was growing, but without form. You were the only other being present. I touched your mind and shaped myself from the images I found there, growing around you so we would not lose each other. Our minds became telepathically linked; it is how we communicate.”
“You can read my mind?”
“I see only what you allow me to see.”
“Oh. Okay, that’s good. Can you hear me when I don’t speak out loud?”
“Yes. I enjoy hearing your voice though. It is pleasingly melodic.”
“Welsh vowels. I used to know someone else who liked my voice.” Ianto sounded wistful even to his own ears. “Right, no good wallowing.” He scrambled to his feet. Most of his clothes remained on the floor. “Ah. That’s not good.”
“It would appear that the explosion caused some damage to your clothing.”
That was the understatement of the century.
“Yes, I’m noticing that.” He plucked at the remaining shreds of what had once been a very stylish suit. “Damn. I liked this suit. I don’t suppose you happen to have a change of clothes onboard, by any chance? I feel somewhat undressed.” Shredded underwear, a belt, most of a tie, half a shirt and one sleeve of a jacket definitely didn’t constitute suitable attire. Amazingly, his shoes seemed fine, although the tops of his socks were rather singed. He tried not to think about what condition his body might have been in before he revived.
“I believe so. There is a wardrobe.”
That was encouraging news. Ianto looked around the control room; three archways led off it through what he decided to term the three inner walls of the octagonal room; those furthest away from what he assumed was the TARDIS’s front door.
“Um, would you mind pointing me in the right direction?”
“Take the passage to your left.” The corridor beyond the indicated archway lit up with diffuse light, as if the walls themselves were glowing softly. Ianto set off down it, passing several doors positioned some eight metres or so apart on either side. He was curious about what might be inside the rooms, but exploring could wait until he was decently dressed. When he reached a fork in the passageway, he paused.
“Which way now?”
“Take the left fork to the stairs, go down two flights, turn right, then left, then the third passageway on the right. The wardrobe is at the end.”
It would have been easy to find his way even without directions as the TARDIS helpfully lit the correct corridors, leaving the others dim and shadowed. Before long he reached a wide door, which swung open smoothly when he pushed it. Beyond the threshold, lights started to come on, allowing him to see the extent of the room before him. It was spacious, easily the size of the Hub’s main area. The floor was carpeted in a deep red and racks of clothes were dotted about while the walls were lined with a variety of shelf units, drawers and cabinets, interspersed with full-length mirrors. It resembled a very classy tailor’s shop combined with a trendy boutique, but on a much grander scale. Ianto was speechless.
“I apologize. I have not yet reached optimum dimensions, and therefore many of my rooms are perhaps smaller than they should be. I hope you can find suitable attire despite the limited choices available.”
If the TARDIS considered this varied array of colours and styles limited, Ianto almost dreaded how much choice he’d have once she reached her full dimensions. As it was, he thought he could probably spend a good week in here trying on outfits.
“This is magnificent, very elegant indeed! I’m sure I’ll have no problem finding everything I could possibly need. But here I am spoiling it all by shedding bits of burnt cloth everywhere. I’m sorry. Is there somewhere I can dump these rags?” He indicated the tatters that still clung to his body.
“Place them in the disposal unit,” the voice in his head told him as a panel to the left of the door opened, revealing a narrow chute made of some kind of shiny plastic. “They will be recycled. There is a sonic shower unit next door to the changing rooms if you wish to freshen up before dressing.” Signs to that effect lit up further along the same wall.
“Looks like you’ve thought of everything!” Ianto commented, smiling approvingly. He quickly stripped himself of the tattered remains of his old clothes, tossing them into the disposal unit and wincing as bits fell off, making a mess on the floor. “I’ll vacuum that up after I shower, if you happen to have a vacuum cleaner available.”
“There is no need. The drones will clean up.” Several previously invisible niches appeared at the base of the wall and small robots, shaped rather like horseshoe crabs, trundled out, zipping back and forth across the soiled areas of the carpet and leaving it spotless.
“You have your own cleaning crew; I’m impressed.”
“I found the concept in your mind; it seemed an excellent idea.”
Ianto smiled wistfully. It had been an idea Tosh had been working on, small semi-organic robots that would ‘eat’ all kinds of rubbish, using it to fuel themselves.
“Tosh would have loved them. She would have loved you, too.”
“I believe the feeling would have been mutual. I regret that meeting your friend is not possible. Would you tell me about her sometime? So that I might know her through your memories?”
Ianto smiled a little sadly. He still missed Tosh a great deal. He missed Owen too, despite all their arguments.
“I’d like that. I imagine we’ll have plenty of time to talk. Seems I’m going to be around for a very long time.” It was a rather daunting prospect and his smile faded to be replaced by a slightly worried frown.
“Well, no good dwelling on what I can’t change. Besides, there are more urgent matters to consider.”
Ianto made his way to the shower and found that the TARDIS had helpfully labelled everything. There was even a plaque on the wall with simple step-by-step instructions for the uninitiated, complete with stick-figure diagrams. Chuckling to himself, he stepped into the shower cubicle.
Sonic showers were an interesting experience. While Ianto had to admit he rather missed good old hot water and soap, there was no doubt that the sonic waves rippling over his body left him feeling thoroughly clean and pleasantly tingly all over. Even his hair and teeth tingled. It was good to be clean again; he hadn’t realised how grubby he’d felt before.
Since time wasn’t an issue, Ianto decided to make choosing fresh clothes a leisurely experience. After all, what was the point in hurrying when he had all of eternity ahead of him?
Exploring the shelves, drawers and cupboards, he found socks in all colours, including some that seemed to be every colour at once, underwear in every style and fabric he could imagine, t-shirts, sweat shirts, woolly jumpers, hats, scarves, gloves, pyjamas, shorts, swimwear… Presumably the ladies’ side would have the equivalent garments to adorn the fairer sex. He picked out dark red silk boxers and a pair of plain black socks, pulled them on and padded over to the racks of dress shirts.
There must have been fifty different shades of red alone. In a fit of whimsy, he went through them until he found one that exactly matched his underwear. Everything seemed to be his size, which made sense since he was the only man aboard. He idly wondered if the women’s clothes were his size too; Jack would have a field day with that. Quickly he distracted himself from that train of thought. Jack wasn’t here; he could be anywhere in space or time. Ianto was alone except for the TARDIS. His TARDIS. The thought gave him a warm feeling inside. Maybe he should pick up a random travelling companion the way the Doctor did, show them the wonders of the universe. It was an idea that merited further consideration, but it could wait. He wanted to adjust to TARDIS life himself first.
Slipping into the shirt and buttoning it as he walked, he made his way over to the suit section. He’d never seen so many finely tailored suits in one place. Every single one was of the highest quality and made of the finest fabrics known to man, and some that weren’t, presumably made from fabrics of alien origin. After due consideration, he finally selected a charcoal grey single breasted three piece suit with a faint red pinstripe. All he needed now was a tie. And maybe new shoes; the ones he’d been wearing, while undamaged, didn’t go with his new outfit.
A brief search soon yielded the perfect accessories to complete his new outfit. Neatly tying the black, grey and red striped tie he’d selected, he slipped his feet into a rather dressy pair of black leather ankle boots that zipped seamlessly up the front by some alien mechanism he’d never encountered. They were so supple and lightweight, it barely felt like he was wearing shoes at all, yet they were also sturdy and practical; he had no doubt he could run in them should that become necessary. He checked his appearance in a nearby full-length mirror, ran a comb through his hair, adjusted his tie and the dark red handkerchief in his breast pocket, and smiled in satisfaction. Immaculate. Now he was ready to embark on exploring the rest of his new home!