Title: Through Time And Space: Chapter 18 – A Merry Dance
Characters: Ianto, OCs.
Word Count: 1112
Spoilers: CoE, House of the Dead
Summary: The TARDIS crew have good reason to celebrate, and they’re going to make the most of it.
Written For: Challenge 121: Dancing at fan_flashworks.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
A/N: This one’s just a short chapter owing to the prompt it was written for, so it’s sort of an interlude before we jump into Ianto’s next big adventure. Hope you like it anyway.
Despite Garten’s earlier words, he and his family stood with Ianto and the Tallans to watch events unfold on the viewscreens, the TARDIS picking up the space station’s CCTV feed to show everyone on board the moment when Commander Roget took Pax into custody. Bound in his scarlet ribbon, which had slipped in places due to him struggling to free himself, Pax looked like a badly wrapped parcel. Ianto was a little disappointed; he’d done such a neat job of wrapping the station manager, but his hard work had quickly been spoiled by Pax’s refusal to accept his fate.
“No one has any respect for true artistry these days,” he mourned, though no one other than the TARDIS was listening.
“Your gift-wrapping was exemplary, Ianto,” she told him.
“Thank you, I thought I did rather well, considering the uneven shape of the package.”
“He did look much prettier nicely wrapped, I am sure the Empress would have appreciated your efforts.”
“Well, I suppose we’ll never know for sure now.”
As the prisoner was taken away to be transported down to the planet’s surface, the Commander broadcast a message from the Empress, telling all aboard the space station that Pax’s regime was ended. The cheers of the inhabitants were deafening, and were echoed by everyone aboard the TARDIS. Surilla was so excited she started dancing around the console room, shouting, “We won! We won!” and the exuberant Tallans, who were always looking for a reason to celebrate, quickly joined in with one of their traditional dances. Before Ianto knew what was happening, everyone was at it, skipping and twirling, spinning around, teaching each other new steps as the TARDIS provided suitable musical accompaniment, and Henty the Quoat frolicked around them. Ianto couldn’t quite work out how she managed to coordinate her multiple legs without tripping over them.
‘They all appear to be enjoying themselves,’ the TARDIS murmured in his head. ‘You should join the party and be happy; we have won a great victory, there is good reason for celebration.’
‘I know, and I am happy, the lives of a lot of people will be changed for the better. But it doesn’t alter the fact that Garten and his family lost their home, their livelihood, and all their other family members. We were only victorious up to a point; removing Pax from power doesn’t undo the events that came before.’
‘That is true. However, there may be a way to alter past events without affecting the present, if you wish to make the attempt.’
Ianto turned to lean his back against the railing of the console platform, his back to the dancers, staring up at the time rotor. ‘What d’you mean?’
‘I have been studying Garten’s timeline; the brigands’ ship sustained damage to its hyperdrive engines during the attack and they are currently limping towards the space station through normal space. It is taking some time because of the distances involved, but although they are unable to enter the vortex to speed up their return, they will neither encounter nor make contact with any other ship on their journey.’
‘And this is significant because…?’
‘If the brigands have no impact on anyone else during the time period between their attack on the freighter and the present moment, then changing the outcome of the space battle need not affect the current timeline.’
‘You’re saying we could go back in time and save the freighter and crew without undoing what we’ve just accomplished here?’
‘’I believe so. It is not possible to change the past without having some effect on other timelines, but I believe it can be done without causing any significant or harmful changes. However, our guests would have to remain out of sight. They cannot be seen to be in two places at the same time.’
‘Then we’ll leave them aboard the space station with the money they need to get their escape pod repaired. It’s their property so they should reclaim it, along with as much of what was taken from them as possible. We can be back before they even know we’ve gone anywhere. That way, if we don’t succeed, they never need to know.’
‘’That is a good plan. They do need to present their case to the station’s temporary commander in order to receive recompense for all they have been put through since their arrival on the station.’
Ianto nodded slowly. ‘How soon should we start?’
‘I am able to travel in time, Ianto,’ the TARDIS chided with gentle humour. ‘We can commence our rescue attempt whenever we choose to, it will make no difference.’
‘Good point. Well, as there’s no rush we may as well let everyone enjoy celebrating for as long as they want. Has there been any announcement about when whoever has been put in charge will begin hearing from the people who suffered at Pax’s hands?’
‘Temporary station manager Bain and her subordinates are to begin gathering information from those affected at noon, station time.’
Before Ianto could respond, they were interrupted.
“Ianto, you are not dancing. Why do you not celebrate with us?” Auber, soft-footed as all Tallans were, had appeared unheard at Ianto’s side.
“Sorry, Auber, I was thinking.”
“Am I interrupting?”
“No, not at all. And you’re right, I should be dancing, there’ll be time to think and make plans later, when we’re all too tired to dance anymore.” Smiling, he allowed himself to be pulled down from the console platform onto the wooden floor, where he joined the others, stumbling from time to time until he mastered the steps of the Tallan dance as the party got back into full swing.
Some time later, as they paused to catch their breath between dances, Auber turned once more to Ianto. “It is your turn, Ianto. Will you teach us some traditional earth dances?”
Ianto paused, caught off guard by the request. What dances could he possibly teach his friends? The kind of dancing that happened in the clubs of Cardiff wasn’t choreographed, everyone just moved to the music. He and Jack had been swing dancing on a few occasions, but that was unlikely to work for the Tallans, and the one time they’d been line dancing they’d had to leave early due to a Weevil uprising. That didn’t leave much choice.
Nevertheless, he reflected a short while later, the old standby always seems to go down well. With Ianto at the front, the Conga line of humans and Tallans snaked along the corridors of the TARDIS, accompanied by a great deal of laughter. Perhaps when they made it back to the console room, he’d show them how to do the Can-can!