Characters: Jack, Ianto.
Summary: Jack wants Ianto to try something, but Ianto’s not too sure…
Word Count: 1081
Content Notes: None necessary.
Written For: Challenge 35 – Experimentation at beattheblackdog.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
A/N: Set in my ‘Through Time And Space’ ‘Verse
“How can you know whether or not you like something if you’re not even willing to try it?” Jack asked incredulously. “I had no idea you were such an unadventurous stick-in-the-mud; you’ve always been open to trying new things before.”
Ianto frowned, and after due consideration, conceded that Jack had a point. He’d already tried a lot of new things and experiences since he’d first found himself miraculously resurrected from death and bonded with a newly matured TARDIS, so why was he dragging his heels over this? It wasn’t like it could kill him or anything. Not permanently, anyway.
Experimentation was an accepted part of his new life, so what was causing him to balk the first time Jack suggested they try something new? Especially since he was always perfectly willing to try anything his TARDIS assured him was safe. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust Jack, because he did, mostly, but…
Well okay, so maybe he didn’t have complete faith in his lover. More than once they’d ended up in awkward predicaments due to Jack misidentifying devices and substances that had come through the Rift. Ianto had learned, from sometimes painful experience, that it was usually best to be cautious when Jack showed enthusiasm for something. It was all too easy to get caught up in the other man’s excitement and wind up paying the price for it later.
“Live a little!” Jack enthused. “What’s the point of being immortal and more or less invulnerable if you don’t take a few chances?”
Again, Ianto had to concede the point. It was one thing being cautious when you knew you might be risking your life, but another thing entirely when even dying was little more than a temporary, albeit unpleasant and painful, inconvenience.
Still, while Ianto could understand Jack’s point of view, and was even beginning to adopt it, to a certain extent, the habits of a lifetime weren’t that easy to shed. He’d spent several years as a Torchwood agent, and had seen firsthand how quickly life could be snatched away, even from people trained to deal with the unexpected. Caution was so deeply ingrained in him that the idea of throwing himself bodily off the immensely tall cliff they were standing on, without benefit of a parachute or anything more than the flimsy ‘flight-suit’ he was wearing, seemed like the height of stupidity.
“I don’t know, Jack, it just seems a bit insane…”
“It’s perfectly safe, Ianto. Look around you; it’s like the national sport here!”
Ianto looked, and of course Jack was right; people of all ages were coming up in the cable cars only to run to the edge of the cliff and leap, without hesitation, off the edge, throwing themselves as far out as they could, and spreading their arms and legs so that a membrane built into their special suits pulled taut between them and they glided gracefully downwards.
“Gravity here is less than a quarter of earth’s, and that combined with the suits and the constant updraft means it’s almost impossible to even get slightly bruised, never mind suffer a serious injury, unless you accidentally land on someone or they land on you,” Jack pointed out. “But that almost never happens. It’s like hang-gliding without all the cumbersome equipment, and I know you remember how much you enjoyed that. This is the closest thing there is to true flight, and with practice, you can learn to do all kinds of aerobatics. There’s even an annual contest, sort of like the Olympics, just with all the events being variations on a single sport.”
Keeping well back from the edge, even though he wasn’t scared of heights, Ianto watched more people dive off the cliff, doing twists and barrel rolls with varying levels of complexity and skill. They certainly seemed to be having a great time. Maybe Jack was right and he really was being a tad unadventurous, especially for an immortal.
“Well, I suppose it would be a bit daft to come all the way here and not even try the national pastime. Is there anything I need to remember?”
“Once you jump off, keep your legs and arms locked so the updraft will carry you away from the cliff face; the only real danger is getting too close and being blown against it, although there are ledges and handholds everywhere that you can aim for if that does happen. Once you’re about fifty metres out you can relax and try some simple rolls, just make sure you keep clear of other flyers. Oh, and breathe through your mouthpiece, it regulates airflow.”
Ianto nodded. “Okay, let’s do this before I change my mind again.”
Jack helped Ianto strap the mouthpiece of his breather in place before attending to his own, then he took Ianto’s hand and looked questioningly at his lover.
Drawing a slow breath in through his mouthpiece, Ianto nodded to Jack, and then they were running for the edge of the cliff, the words ‘oh god this is crazy’ running on a loop through Ianto’s head.
They leapt out as far as they could, leaning forwards and spreading their arms and legs. As he did so, Ianto locked his joints the way Jack had told him to, and felt a gentle tug, almost as if he were a puppet on strings, being dangled from the hand of a giant. Then before he knew what was happening, he was soaring away from the cliff as though on spread wings. It made him think of Myfanwy, gliding effortlessly around the cavernous upper reaches of the Hub, and he felt a sudden and unexpected pang of nostalgia; he really missed the old girl.
Somehow, that thought seemed to erase the last of his nerves. He opened eyes that he’d closed without realising as he’d made that first leap, and looked down at the ground thousands of metres below. ‘I’m flying,’ he thought, and felt the TARDIS in his mind, sharing his exhilaration along with the view. It was incredible, and if it hadn’t been for the mouthpiece, he would have whooped aloud for the sheer joy of it, dignity be damned. He’d been reluctant to take the leap, but now here he was, high above the planet’s surface, which stretched in a vast panorama below him, held aloft by strong, steady air currents, and experiencing the freedom of unassisted flight for the first time. Suddenly he wasn’t sure he’d ever want to return to the ground.