Title: Through Time And Space: Chapter 6.1 – In Memories And Dreams Part 1
Characters: Ianto, OFC, OMC, Team Torchwood, Rhi, Mica, David, Jack
Word Count: 1523
Spoilers: CoE, House of the Dead
Summary: Ianto is haunted by thoughts, dreams, memories, and maybe even visions of the people he’s loved and lost and of those he’s had to leave behind.
Written For: Challenge #99: Amnesty, using Challenge #98: Haunted at fan_flashworks.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
A/N: Contains hints of two previous fics I’ve written for other challenges, my drabble ‘The Library of Lives’ and the ficlet ‘All Things To All Men’. It’s not at all necessary to read them in order to understand this chapter, but they feel like they should be a part of this ‘Verse.
Dinner was excellent, and Ianto set out to return to his TARDIS feeling quite cheerful. He’d done everything he could with regard to the 456 so now, with his responsibility discharged, he could finally get on with his new life, embarking on the greatest challenge he’d ever faced; finding Jack. His lover was never far from his thoughts, haunting him in a thousand memories of all the good and bad times they’d shared. Right now, Ianto didn’t have a clue as to how he could even begin to accomplish the task of finding him; he was just one man lost somewhere in the vast universe. It would be like looking for one particular needle in a huge pile of needles, or one grain of sand in a desert.
“First things first though,” he told his TARDIS with a thought as he strolled back along London’s busy streets to where he’d left her, taking in the sights and sounds of the early Sixties as he went. “I promised you an asteroid, and I believe there are plenty in the asteroid belt around earth. We ought to be able to remove one or two without anyone noticing they’re missing. Are there any that could cause problems for earth within the next few hundred years?”
“One moment. Calculating orbits of all asteroids and extrapolating likely changes within the next 500 years.”
“No rush, take your time. It’s a very nice day so I might do a spot of shopping while I’m here. Just spotted a watch seller’s shop across the street, think I’ll take a look, see if they have any pocket watches.” Ianto checked for traffic before ambling across the street. There were far fewer cars than he was used to; it was strange to think that here he was, walking the earth more that twenty years before he would be born. Somewhere in Wales, his parents were young children who had yet to even meet. He tried hard not to think of such things; time travel was rather disorienting.
Reaching the shop and looking through the windows, he saw they held an array of high quality timepieces, from wristwatches for both ladies and gents, to small clocks of all kinds. To Ianto’s delight, there was a whole section of the display devoted to an assortment of very elegant pocket watches.
“I wish you could see these,” he told the TARDIS. “I know you’d appreciate the workmanship as much as I do.”
“It is not necessary for me to see, I have no doubt you will make a wise choice; you have excellent taste.”
“Well, you would say that since you modelled yourself on images taken from my mind,” Ianto thought, amused.
“Nevertheless, I found the images in your mind very pleasing, aesthetically speaking.”
Ianto was smiling at his TARDIS’s comments as he pushed open the door and entered the small shop. As he closed the door behind him, an elderly man seated at a worktable behind the counter looked up from clock he was repairing.
“I’ll be with you in just a minute, sir. If you’d like to browse while you’re waiting?”
“Take your time, I’m not in any hurry,” Ianto reassured him, making his way over to a display cabinet containing pocket watches and studying the contents carefully.
A few minutes later, the grey haired watch repairer limped over to Ianto, smiling in approval.
“It’s a pleasure to find a gentleman such as yourself is still interested in pocket watches. They seem to be going out of fashion these days. Such a shame.”
“Indeed it is,” Ianto agreed. “Wristwatches man be convenient, but they lack the elegance of a pocket watch somehow.”
“Pocket watches have a timeless quality, if you’ll pardon the pun. While I repair and sell all kinds of clocks and watches, I must admit my greatest fondness lies with vintage and antique timepieces such as these. Sadly, most of the pocket watches I have for sale these days have been traded in by people wishing to purchase wristwatches. I fear a day will come when they will be completely obsolete.”
“That day won’t come for many years yet, I’m sure,” Ianto stated firmly. “Fashions come and go, but true quality will never go out of style.”
He spent a happy hour discussing with the old man the respective merits of the various pocket watches on display before finally choosing an elegant silver half-hunter, with a crystal window set in the front and an intricate design of a tree engraved on the back. Ianto fancied it could represent the Tree of Life, which felt appropriate under the circumstances. A silver watch chain and a fob made from Tektite completed his purchase and he stepped from the shop, watch and chain in place, whistling jauntily.
“I hope you are aware,” an amused voice in his head commented, “that the tune you are whistling will not be written for another forty seven years.”
Ianto just about managed to disguise his snort of laughter as a cough.
“How are the calculations coming?” he asked in his mind.
“Completed almost an hour ago. I did not wish to interrupt your conversation since, as you said, there is no rush.”
“There are two asteroids whose orbits are gradually deteriorating. Neither is excessively large but they will provide an ample supply of raw materials that should prove more than sufficient for our current needs.”
“That’s good news. Plot a course for the closest of the two, I’m just round the corner.”
Less than five minutes later, Ianto stepped aboard his TARDIS. Striding across the polished floor, he bounded up the nearest steps to rest his hand on the warm console, which was thrumming beneath his fingers as the TARDIS powered up her engine.
“Ready to go?” It was a relief to speak to her out loud again.
“Yes. If you would disengage the parking brake, we will be on our way.”
Ianto did as asked, then leant back against the rail. “How long will it take to get there?”
“Approximately one minute and seventeen seconds.” The Time Rotor rose and fell, Ianto felt the floor beneath his feet shift, and shortly afterwards felt another subtle shift as they settled onto the first of their chosen asteroids.
“We have arrived,” the TARDIS informed him in a satisfied tone. “One point seven four seconds ahead of my predicted time.”
“I’m impressed!” Ianto set the brake again.
“I thought you would be.” She sounded smug.
“So, how long does it take to disintegrate a whole asteroid?” Ianto asked curiously.
“It will take several hours to break it down into particles small enough to be easily absorbed.”
Feeling tired as the events of the day started to catch up with him, Ianto stretched and yawned.
“That’s good. Right, if you don’t mind, I’ll leave you to get on with disintegrating your asteroid. I’m going to turn in. Enjoy!”
“Turn into what?” The TARDIS sounded mildly puzzled and Ianto laughed.
“I mean I’m going to bed. It’s been a long day, or however long it’s been. I may be immortal, but apparently I still need to sleep. Wake me if you need me for anything.”
“Very well. Good night, Ianto. Pleasant dreams.”
“That would be nice. Usually they’re not particularly pleasant,” he said with a sigh as her made his way out of the control room towards the stairway leading to the lower levels. “After everything that’s happened recently, with me dying, coming back in the House of the Dead, then getting blown up, thrown into the void and resurrected again, pleasant dreams don’t seen very likely. Ah well, a few nightmares would be a small price to pay for everything I’ve gained.” He ran his hand along the wall as he walked wearily down the stairs and along the lower hallway, bypassing the turning that led to the replica of his old flat and instead stepping into the first of the guest rooms.
To his surprise, he found it had been re-modelled in his absence. The carpet was now a deep burgundy and the walls the colour of buttermilk. A big ebony framed double bed was set against the rear wall of the room, its ornate headboard carved in the shape of a dragon with wings protectively outstretched. The sheets and pillowcases matched the carpet while the bedspread was a patchwork of slate blue, cream and burgundy. It looked very welcoming.
The rest of the furniture was made of the same wood as the bed; two matching bedside cabinets, a big dresser with wide drawers, a solid looking desk and chair, bookshelves, and an armchair upholstered in the same fabric as the bedspread. There was even a matching footstool.
Checking the drawers, Ianto discovered they contained fresh underwear, socks and pyjamas. Slowly he stripped out of his suit, hanging it in the walk-in closet, which was otherwise empty waiting for him to add other clothes chosen from the main wardrobe. Slipping into his colour coordinated slate blue pyjamas, he brushed his teeth in the en suite bathroom, climbed into bed and turned out the bedside lamp, quickly falling asleep.