Title: Through Time And Space: Chapter 3.2 – Explorations Part 2.2
Characters: Ianto, OFC, mentions Jack
Rating: PG-13 for some swearing.
Word Count: 2129
Spoilers: CoE, House of the Dead
Summary: Ianto explores his TARDIS and gets a few surprises along the way.
Written For: Challenge #95: Exploration at fan_flashworks.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
A/N: LJ wouldn’t let me post this in one part. This is the rest of the second of two chapters written for this challenge.
The next floor up turned out to be the main residential level. Opening the first door he came to, Ianto discovered a fully equipped modern kitchen, complete with refrigerator, freezer, cooker, microwave, dishwasher, lots of storage space and even a state-of-the-art coffee machine. A quick check of the cupboards revealed them to be well stocked with everything he might need, from dishes and cutlery to staple foodstuffs, including a good range of premium coffee beans. The temptation was too much, so he paused to make himself a much-needed drink. Sipping slowly from his steaming mug, he examined the food storage cabinets while the TARDIS explained that all foodstuffs were stored in stasis to prevent them from spoiling. On opening a food cupboard, its stasis field would turn off briefly so that he could remove whatever he needed. Closing the door would turn it on again.
“Clever! Could have used something like that back in Cardiff,” Ianto commented wryly. “Sometimes I didn’t get home for a week or more, and by then the milk would be off and the bread covered in mould. At times it seemed like I threw out more than I ate.”
Leaving the kitchen a few minutes later, re-filled coffee mug in hand, Ianto continued along the wide, carpeted corridor to the next door, which opened into a small and delightfully cosy room. The floor was polished wood and dark oak shelves full of books lined the walls, while a comfortable couch and several easy chairs surrounded a wide fireplace. A few low tables, several luxurious rugs and discreetly placed reading lamps completed the furnishings. Once more, the TARDIS seemed vaguely ashamed, though Ianto couldn’t imagine why.
“I fear it is rather small for a library.”
Oh. Of course.
“Well, perhaps, but I like it; it’s the perfect size for a study or den. I always wanted a room like this, where I could just sit and read, listen to quiet music and relax. A full-size library would be nice too, when it’s practical to build one, but let’s keep this room as it is, okay? I think I’ll probably end up spending quite a lot of time here.” He settled into one of the big, comfortable chairs, feeling it mould itself to his body, and put his feet up on a conveniently placed footstool, feeling more at home than he had in a long while. He could definitely get used to this.
When he’d finished his coffee, he returned the mug to the kitchen, rinsing it and popping it into the dishwasher. There would no doubt be more dishes to wash later, after dinner. He wasn’t really sure what time it was, but taking the moment he’d been dumped unceremoniously on the control room floor as ‘morning’, he thought it was probably somewhere around mid afternoon by now. That meant he’d missed lunch, though he didn’t really feel hungry yet; eating could wait until later, there was no rush. Satisfied that the kitchen was clean and tidy, he returned to his explorations.
Most of the other rooms on this level, while complete, remained empty. They weren’t needed since Ianto was the only person on board, so aside from forming them, the TARDIS had more or less ignored them. There were, however, a couple of comfortably furnished bedrooms, each with its own en suite bathroom, and it was while he was still trying to decide which he would choose as his own room that he got his biggest surprise.
Rounding the next corner, he found himself in a strangely familiar corridor leading to a plain wooden door. Turning the handle slowly, he pushed the door open and stepped into a suite of rooms that brought a lump to his throat and tears to his eyes; they were an exact replica of his old apartment in Cardiff, right down to the lumpy sofa, the battered coffee table and the photograph of himself and Jack in its simple black frame which sat on a shelf to the right of the TV. Picking it up, he ran his fingers lightly over Jack’s face, missing his Captain so much in that moment that he thought his heart might break in two.
“You are sad.” The TARDIS sounded as sad as he felt.
“Yeah. I miss Jack. He spent so much time at my place that in the end we were practically living together. This place just won’t feel the same without him.”
“I am sorry. It seems I have made a grievous error. I had thought these rooms would please you, they were so clear in your memory.”
“No, they do please me. They’re a reminder of something, someone, I’ve lost and hope to find again.” He held up the photo as if showing it to the TARDIS. “This is Jack, my… well, my lover I guess. He didn’t really go in for labels. The last time I saw him was just before I got blown up closing the Rift. He told me he loved me.” Ianto wiped away a few stray tears. “I don’t know where he is now, but after everything that happened, I somehow doubt he would have stayed on earth. With the Rift closed, he wouldn’t really have any reason to.” He set the photograph back on its shelf. “I’m going to find him. I don’t know how yet, but I will, with your help. Even if it takes a thousand years I’ll find him, and then the three of us will travel together. I hope. He’s like me, immortal. Although, he was immortal first so I suppose it’s more accurate to say I’m like him now.”
Leaving the replica of his old home, he closed the door carefully behind him. It was somewhere he could retreat to whenever he wanted to feel close to Jack, but until he tracked down his lover, he intended to sleep in one of the other rooms.
Back at the stairs, he headed up to the level where the control room was situated; he’d have a quick look around and familiarise himself with the layout up there, then decide what to do next.
The doors he’d passed on his way to the wardrobe opened into more empty rooms, except for the one closest to the control room, which was a sort of locker room. Along with various equipment lockers containing spacesuits and other things that might prove useful when exploring hostile environments, there were bathroom facilities, sonic showers, a disposal unit, tools and a first aid kit. Very handy!
Two more passageways led off the control room. The one in the middle was the longest, stretching further than seemed possible, and had only one door down the far end, which opened into rather disconcerting nothingness. According to the TARDIS, that was where she planned to put the gardens when she had the time and sufficient raw materials to create them. From the look of it there was ample room for something quite extensive, although it was a bit hard to judge the extent of nothing.
The right-hand passageway proved to be similar to the left-hand one, except that instead of forking, it ended in a set of double doors. Ianto pushed them open, stepping into the room beyond as the lights came on, and stared in horror at the monstrosity that stood in the centre of the room. Backing hurriedly out again, he tripped on his own feet and sat down hard on the floor of the corridor as the doors swung closed, hiding the nightmarish vision from view.
“What the hell is that?” he asked in a shaky voice.
“It is the medical bay. Is something wrong?” The TARDIS sounded confused and concerned.
“Sorry. Flashbacks to something I’d just as soon forget,” Ianto explained. “It’s disturbingly similar to a cyber-conversion unit.”
“Oh dear. Forgive me; I thought you would prefer something familiar, but perhaps I should have checked my data banks. I will remodel it as soon as possible. I am familiar with a number of different styles, perhaps later I could show you visual representations and you could choose one that will not cause you distress.”
“Yeah, that would be good. Thank you. Perhaps you could dismantle that thing for now?” Ianto waved vaguely towards the doors. “I don’t really need it, being immortal,” and that really shouldn’t be so easy to say. “We can add a med bay later, if we pick up any passengers.”
“That is a practical solution.” The TARDIS was silent for a few minutes, then just as Ianto decided that his legs had stopped shaking enough that he could probably stand up without them giving way, she spoke again. “The equipment has been reabsorbed.”
The doors before him swung open of their own accord, revealing a large room with clean white walls and a smooth black floor, cabinets and sinks around the walls, and nothing else. The centre of the floor where the medical unit had stood was now completely empty. Ianto breathed a sigh of relief; he felt a lot better just seeing for himself that it was gone. Conversion units still featured prominently in his nightmares.
“Thanks, that’s much better.” He scrambled to his feet and dusted himself off, not that he needed to; the floor was spotless, but the action was automatic, borne of long habit. “Okay, just a few more rooms, and hopefully no more nasty surprises…” He turned back towards the control room, glancing briefly into a series of empty rooms along what was now the right hand wall of the passageway.
As before, the room closest to the control room was the only one in use. This one turned out to be a kitchen, about half the size of the one on the level below and equally well equipped, just on a smaller scale. Making himself a soothing cup of tea, Ianto stepped back into the control room and settled himself on one of the sofas that were dotted around the wall.
For the first time, he really paid attention to the layout and what he saw made him chuckle. It looked like an amalgam of every coffee shop he’d ever frequented, with added hints of the Torchwood Hub, but arranged to comfortably fit the control room’s octagonal shape. Where he was sitting, the floors were waxed wood, the walls a neutral shade like milky coffee, with lamp sconces dotted about between the framed pictures that broke up the plain expanse, adding a homely touch. There were even a couple of computers for the use of ‘customers’.
The central area of the room around the control consol and time rotor was a raised platform, reminiscent of the Hub’s catwalks, but surrounded by gleaming brass railings instead of the cold iron ones he and Jack had leant against so often. The air smelled of coffee and looking around carefully, Ianto finally spotted the small coffee station set in a niche in the opposite wall.
When he’d first arrived, he’d been too concerned about his state of undress to properly appreciate his surroundings, but now that he didn’t have anything to distract him, he could see that the TARDIS had done an excellent job of creating a control room that suited him perfectly. It was better than anything he could have dreamed up for himself and he relished the sense of belonging that it gave him.
Leaning back on the sofa, Ianto let his mind wander. What seemed like a lifetime ago now, Jack had told him one night as they lay in bed that someday he’d take him out among the stars, show him the wonders of the universe. Ianto hadn’t really believed him, had figured it was just idle pillow talk, but he’d daydreamed about it nonetheless, wondering what it might be like, where they would go and how they would get there. He’d always figured that if it did ever happen, then he and Jack would be travelling with the Doctor. He’d never once imagined that he might be facing the greatest adventure of his life alone.
But he wasn’t alone, was he? Not really, not even inside his own head. He had his TARDIS; a combination of mobile home and travelling companion, able to take him anywhere and anywhen imaginable. The thought was both exciting and terrifying, and he took a moment to consider how much his life had changed since he’d died; and really, the adventure had barely even begun yet.
Draining his cup and setting it on the low table in front of him which, he noticed, had coasters actually set into the surface, Ianto rose to his feet and made his way up the nearest set of steps to stand at the console.
“Okay, why don’t we find out where we are?”