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sam_storyteller ([personal profile] sam_storyteller) wrote2005-07-18 10:25 am
Entry tags:

A Man Not Alone; Torchwood, PG-13

Title: A Man Not Alone
Spoilers: Through 2.07, Dead Man Walking
Characters: All; Jack/Ianto
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Ianto Jones knows why Jack is Torchwood's leader. Jack knows what Ianto Jones will be. (This is now alternate universe, post-CoE.)
Warnings: Character death.

Originally Posted 2.23.08

Now available on AO3.

Jack didn't actually know too much about 21st century Earth. It hadn't been his focus in History; he'd fallen in all-consuming love with the early 20th, and minored in the late thirtieth of his own home planet.

But he knew enough to become aware, as he lived through the fifties and sixties, that the time of change was coming. By then he'd waited long enough for the Doctor that he believed he might live through another few centuries before he showed up, if he ever showed up at all. In the late seventies Jack came to the decision that contemporary human knowledge would not be enough to help Torchwood Three achieve what they were meant to achieve. Enlightened self-interest dictated that he do what he could to prevent the Earth from cataclysm, so he began to prepare to help them, insinuating himself into the super-infrastructure of Torchwood as a harmless, eccentric consultant at first. He also went searching.

He found Owen Harper first. Eight-year-old Owen spent a glorious afternoon talking to a man on a park bench about his imaginary games he played, where dinosaurs and aliens lurked in every shrubbery and other children might turn out to be vampires or werewolves or ghosts at any time. Eventually Owen's mum dragged him away, but Jack kept tabs from a distance. Harper had said, late in life, that his experiences as a youth made him into the man he was, and Torchwood Three would need that man. Jack couldn't interfere, but he could watch over him.

When Owen died under Jack's command, he knew he had to resurrect him because Owen couldn't die. He just couldn't. He wasn't supposed to yet and they needed him in the future and it had nothing to do, he told himself, with having loved Owen with a deep paternal affection.

Toshiko was harder to find, because he didn't remember her maiden name. When he finally did locate her, he went to see one of her maths competitions. She was fourteen, already teaching herself to hack and crack on her parents' low-quality, somewhat elderly computer with its 14.4 modem and five-and-a-quarter drive. She outshone all the others with a gentle brilliance that Jack wasn't sure anyone else even saw.

When Toshiko lost her faith in humanity, Jack had to give it back to her. He had to watch her destroy the pendant. Because she was needed. It had nothing to do with his pride in her abilities and his faith in her to always keep going.

He hadn't meant to find Gwen Cooper as soon as he did, because while he knew where she lived he didn't think a strange man wandering her school hallways would blend in real well, and contemporary humanity was getting a bit uptight about things like that. But as he was eating dinner one night in Cardiff he heard someone shouting for GWEN COOPER and discovered a gorgeous gaptoothed teenage girl sneaking into a club with a fake ID. He followed her that night and ascertained that she was his Gwen Cooper -- he'd already grown proprietary -- and he saw the grit and spirit she was famous for. He also danced one dance with her and kissed her hand, startled at his own bravery, before fading back to London.

When Gwen gave him the ultimatum -- accept Rhys or reject her -- he had to accept. It had nothing to do with the beauty he saw in everything she did and the fact that she was the keeper of his conscience. She had to stay, because the world was not done brutalising Gwen Cooper yet.

Jack knew his "home" time, when he got back there (lived his way back, probably) would not be the same, because Jack had been changing things already, that was inevitable. So he didn't count this quasi-stalking of future heroes as anything other than a continuation of fate. Still, he waited another few years before he sought out Ianto Jones, the Ianto Jones, at University.

He didn't know about Lisa then. In his timeline someone else must have killed her, or she'd died in Canary Wharf, or perhaps Ianto himself had tried to reacclimate her and failed and lost her. Jones never talked about his youth in his interviews, which were few and cryptic.

There were also very few photographs from his early years, and those that existed were of dubious provenance. He'd seen a picture of Jones as a middle-aged man and Jack wouldn't have kicked him out of bed for eating crackers, but he hadn't thought that Jones at nineteen would be so...hot.

Jones spent much of his time in the library, which was where Jack stalked him; he didn't approach, wasn't really sure how he could, but he eyed him from behind bookshelves and once spent an hour sitting next to him in a computer lab, pretending to be a visiting professor while he watched him send frivolous emails and research a paper on Alan Turing.

The first time Jack actually met him was a few years later, when he was called in to help with research on a Torchwood One artefact. They were down in one of the vault exam rooms, the regulated atmosphere a trifle warmer than Jack liked, and Ianto was walking between two UNIT escorts, tall and slim in a dark suit, a lockbox handcuffed to one wrist like some kind of cinema spy.

Yvonne, who was inventive in bed but creepy at work, neglected to introduce the boy, already going a mile a minute about what a GREAT find this was going to be. Once they figured out what it was, anyway.

"Handcuffs is a good look on you," Jack said, and Jones looked up without raising his head from the complicated sequence of keys he was entering into the lockbox. "Captain Jack Harkness."

"This is Ianto Jones," Yvonne said, and all but patted him on the head. "He's one of our best research and logistics people."

"Logistics of what?" Jack asked Jones.

"Everything," Jones answered before Yvonne could, giving him a swift and sardonic smile. He opened the lockbox. He did not undo the handcuff. Jack decided to save the image of the cuffs attached to his headboard instead of a lockbox for a later occasion.

"Hello gorgeous," Jack said, when the lid was lifted and the treasure revealed. "Come here often?"

It was a sonic blaster, the make before the one he'd preferred; it was slagged badly and the handle was missing, but the sleek brushed-steel look of the thing, once seen, was never forgotten. He lifted it out of the case and set it on the table, sliding the half-melted safety out completely and shaking the resonators into his hand. He hadn't seen one in a hundred years.

"Resdead," he said, caught up in the moment and reverting to Agency slang. He stopped himself before he got any further. "The charge is drained."

"What is it?" Yvonne asked. "Some kind of sensor?"

He pondered telling the truth, but (per usual) didn't bother.

"Cheap weapon, Saturday Night Special," he said. "Space junk now. It's missing parts and the barrel's slag-plugged; you might let your kiddies play with these," he said, putting the spent resonators into her hand. They wouldn't find anything; the fuel was gone and sonic resonators resembled nothing so much as lightbulbs when they were finally dead. "File the rest under Useless Metals."

"Shame," she sighed. "I thought we were onto something this time. Still, nothing is completely useless, right?"

Jack watched as Jones efficiently packed the disassembled blaster back into the lockbox, wrapping the resonators in a handkerchief and placing them on top. He took a pen out of his pocket and a notepad from one of the UNIT men.

"Do you know what they're called, sir?" he asked Jack, writing neat instructions for the research and study of the resonators.

"I've seen them before. Blaster of some kind. When they're functional, they're bright blue."

"From what, sir?"

"Gas, I think. I'm not positive."

"That wraps it up here, just about," Yvonne said. "Lunch, Jack?"

"Any chance they'll cause injury to the researchers?" Jones asked, with what Jack thought was rather admirable persistence and just a hint of scorn for Yvonne.

"No," Jack said. "Lunch sounds great. Pleasure meeting you, Ianto Jones."

"Pleasure's all mine, Captain," Jones replied, and Jack restrained the urge to ask for his autograph.

***

Jack joined up Torchwood after Canary Wharf (which he had so not seen coming, his bad entirely) and inherited Suzie and Owen from their previous boss, who was moving up the ranks in UNIT. Jones came to them shortly after, with a note in his file about PTSD. Jack conducted entry interviews on all of them, but Jones's surprised him the most.

"Are you interested in field work?" he asked, and Jones had turned pale. Well. Pale-er.

"Will that be a required part of the position?" he asked carefully.

"That depends on your ambitions. We'll need field support from time to time, but if you want more than parking the car and carrying the thermos we can arrange that."

"No, thank you, Captain," Jones said. "My training is in research and support. I'm satisfied with the duties as given."

Jack was confused; he was sure he'd read Jones was a capable field agent. That was the whole point. Still, he didn't push; all things in time.

"Well, then let's put you to work," he said. "Your job is to know everything."

"Yes, Captain," Jones said, and gave him a slight smile. "I know."

Jack laughed. He liked Ianto Jones. He'd thought he might admire him; by all accounts the older Ianto Jones was intensely charismatic. He just hadn't reckoned on liking him.

"We're on first-names around here. I'm Jack. You can call me Sir if you enjoy that kind of thing."

An eyebrow lifted slightly.

"Suzie can tell you what your duties will be," Jack said, and Jones got up quietly and left quietly and was generally so quiet that Jack half-forgot he'd hired him. He more than half-forgot that the tea-boy (what an asshole Owen Harper could be, nobody ever mentioned he was such a dick to his colleagues) was Ianto Jones the soldier-statesman. And when he remembered, sometimes he wondered if he'd got the right Ianto Jones.

He also wondered about Suzie, because now the whole team was there except for Gwen Cooper, and he'd never heard of Suzie in his history lectures. And then one evening Suzie shot herself and Jack discovered how Cooper had come to be on the team. Gristly. Enter and exit Gwen Cooper in a hail of blood and regret.

Once Gwen had come he had the legendary team of Torchwood Three, and he could finally get down to the business of arming them against the future, of making them ready. It took a lot more...management than he'd thought it would, because nobody told him just how human and annoying Torchwood Three could be, but Jack realised that knowledge was just one weapon in their arsenal. He was supposed to mold them as well, to teach them what they needed to be. For humanity's sake.

The agents of Torchwood Three had an up on Jack that they didn't know about, and would have abused mercilessly if they did. He knew what they were meant to do. So they couldn't leave him and Torchwood, they couldn't, and he couldn't let them die.

Jack would probably have to watch Gwen Cooper suffer and die in about twenty years, and that would be really, really fucking hard, but it meant in the here-and-how that he couldn't let her go even when she defied him. And he had to bring Owen back from death when he was shot. Any missing member of the team meant the possibility of failure. He loved Owen but he could have grieved and moved on except that he couldn't, because Owen had to be there. To care for the others, to save them, to set the wheels in motion when he couldn't save Gwen.

Perhaps not so oddly, Toshiko rarely needed the drastic measures the others did. Still, Jack had to guard her and cultivate her and take her out of the shell she retreated into, had to kill anyone who threatened to hurt Tosh and teach her to kill as well. None of this was unpleasant; Jack liked Tosh immensely.

Jack didn't know what Ianto needed for a long, long time. Not until after Lisa was discovered, and even after Lisa Jack was clueless as to what to do.

But Ianto had to come back. He had to work past the grief and pain and find his way back to them because it had happened. Even if all he could see in Ianto right now was a very young man struggling against the world, so full of anger and grief and so completely incapable of displaying either. Well, that and some awfully good hair.

And yeah, Jack royally cocked up his first field mission, but how was he to know there would be cannibals?

Come to think of it, the cannibals might have been the necessary push. It showed Ianto what horrors existed outside the safe confines of the Hub, what his colleagues threw themselves into on a near-daily basis. Some small spark of defiant bullheadedness deep inside Ianto began to show through, a sort of attitude that this stops now. He was tied to these people and Jack could see the urge to defend them in his eyes -- these were his people, had taken the place of Lisa, and this time what hurt his people would not go unpunished. For now it was Torchwood Three; one day it would be the human race.

He had been working to bond Ianto to them since Lisa's death, with varying degrees of success but always with the cautious slowness of someone taming a stray cat. Jack was long out of practice but he could, when he put his mind to it, not be sexual. And while he might have spent a good deal of time on harassment before Lisa, Jack had never intended it to go past the usual wordplay. This was still Ianto Jones. After Lisa, even the wordplay stopped.

Which was why it was such a shock to find himself propositioned over Suzie's dead body by someone he had come to regard as verboten, off-limits, delicate and damageable -- and also a hero of the future.

Propositioned kinkily, too. And familiarly, as if this was something that was always done.

He suspected this was not Ianto's self-gratification at all. He highly suspected that Ianto was attempting to take Jack out of himself. Probably because that was what General Support did: they supported, generally. Jack was not so blind that he couldn't see his youngest subordinate was offering himself as a distraction because that was part of his duty, but Jack was still human enough to willfully blind himself and take advantage of it anyway.

When you came down to it the general list of things you could do with a stopwatch was technically pretty short. It just had a lot of sub-categories. Ianto was very systematic in his exploration of those subcategories, however, and Jack reaped the benefits.

Sometimes he wondered what the hell he thought he was doing. For one thing, history never listed a partner, male or female, for Ianto Jones. For another, he was supposed to be arming the future's best hope against the storms to come, not getting sucked off by a twenty-six-year-old in his office. He wasn't supposed to abandon them when the Doctor inadvertently came calling (though it did build them as a team, well done there Jacky) and he definitely wasn't supposed to dream about his office boy at night while he was trying to help avert the end of humanity as they knew it. Which he had kind of accidentally helped cause in the first place. Again, not intentional, his bad.

It shouldn't have been possible for John to come through to this time and place. There was a barrier, a natural barrier created by the rift, protecting Torchwood Three, protecting Ianto Jones from Time Agents who wanted to research him or meddle with his affairs or assassinate him. But John came; John never was much one for rules. And when he did, Jack tried to keep the team out of it (good luck to anyone else who made the attempt; he hadn't lasted twenty minutes).

Because John would know who they were. Even John, whose nihilism kept him from appreciating or studying history, had to know the names -- Gwen, Toshiko, Owen, Ianto. And so when he asked what the team was called, Jack defiantly told him.

Torchwood!

John and Jack had been at each others' throats and in each others' pants for a long, long time. John might be a sociopathic lying bastard, okay, but there was a deeper understanding. John knew that he wouldn't kill anyone from the team and Jack knew that John knew. Outright murder was off limits; they had to be given a square chance.

Jack didn't have to be given a chance, though. Jack wasn't in the history books. So John killed him. Which didn't take, any more than the hundreds of other deaths had, but stung just a little. As if somehow Jack wasn't a part of the same history that Torchwood was. As if he were still an outsider. As if somehow all the blood and time and toil and love he'd poured into these -- these blind children wandering in the night -- as if none of it counted.

It could make an immortal ex-Time-Agent despair, it really could. He almost called off the date with Ianto because what fucking good did anything do, either they'd do what they were said to have done or they'd die and someone else would probably do it anyway. It would have been relatively easy, really. Ianto would never ask about the date, and if Jack never brought it up again....

The middle-aged man Jack had looked at in the history book was like a throwback to early photography, solid and neutral, no smiles for the camera there. Deep endless lonely eyes he'd had. After Toshiko retired from public life and Gwen died and Owen's work with NaCo took him away -- how lonely, how achingly lonely it must have been. Jack knew what it meant to have your comrades fall away. Better than anyone. And he couldn't relieve that loneliness for Ianto-that-would-be but he could ensure that it wasn't his whole life for Ianto-here-and-now.

And secretly he knew that it wasn't for Ianto anymore than Ianto's proposition had been for him. Secretly he knew that Ianto's attempts to draw him out of himself and his attempts to give Ianto the company he needed, would need, were both the same thing: love, cloaking itself in lust.

So he asked him out.

And then asked him in.

Ianto still tasted like the curry they'd had that night, eaten happily on a streetcorner while they watched early-evening Cardiff fill with Friday-night diners and dancers and moviegoers. Jack hadn't been on a date in a long time, and didn't realise that it was okay to get take-away. Ianto smiled at him though, and said what he really wanted was curry (which they never got because Owen and Tosh both hated it). And why not?

Jack licked Ianto's lower lip, grinning.

"We should get curry more often," he said.

"You should do that again," Ianto said.

"Bossy," Jack replied, deliberately leaning back. Ianto lifted his head, eyes pleading, the collarbones under his skin standing out sharply. Jack propped himself on both elbows, let Ianto reach up to pull his head down, and kissed him instead.

Curry. Sweet and biting. He could draw the analogy.

Jack relaxed against Ianto's body, resting his head on his shoulder, smiling against the skin when Ianto raised a hand to cup his head, holding him there.

"I don't mean to make you believe," Ianto said slowly, "that this was a ploy to loosen your tongue, Jack..."

Jack sniggered. Ianto tugged his hair.

"I've been thinking, that's all."

"I don't pay you to think," Jack murmured. Ianto chuckled, actually chuckled. How far we've come...

"Captain John Hart," he said, and Jack stopped being amused. "I'm not going to ask anything, don't worry."

"Why should I worry?"

Ianto snorted. "Listen to me, Jack."

Jack nodded, glad he didn't have to meet his eyes.

"He could have killed us all. Gwen, Owen, Tosh -- he could have shot me in the elevator. He had to have known that if he left survivors there was a chance we'd come after him. But the only one he kills is you. And as he didn't know you can...revive, it makes one wonder why."

"I thought you said you weren't asking questions."

"It makes one wonder. You are not required to answer."

Jack inhaled, hoping this was true.

"It makes me think he wanted us out of the way but not dead -- he wanted us to survive. We mattered. And we mattered more than you did, for some reason."

"He needed my strap."

"Because God knows you can't simply take it off when held at gunpoint," Ianto whispered, his voice almost scolding. "I think John Hart knew who we were. He said my name. Run, Ianto Jones. Like my own name was mocking me. Which means my name was known to John Hart. And not from you, from some other source."

Jack was silent.

"You tell us that now is when everything changes. Maybe it's us who change it. Maybe we find our own immortality in history, history you read sometime when you were younger than we are now," Ianto mused. He rubbed his fingers along Jack's ear, no trace that he was saying anything different from casual lovers' talk. "All right. I do have one question."

Jack swallowed. "What?" he rasped.

"Have I hit anywhere near the mark?"

Jack raised his head, kissed Ianto's lips, rested his forehead against Ianto's.

"So clever," he said. "My clever Ianto Jones."

"And you're guiding us forward," Ianto said, sliding his hands down to Jack's shoulders. "So I have faith in you, Captain. Whatever you do, you do for history. Show us. I'll follow. And when it's our turn, if you want freedom, we'll set you free. I promise."

The utter faith in his young face was so overwhelming, the serene assurance in his voice so soothing. All the responsibility and fear and love Jack had carried for his beautiful, difficult boys and girls crashed down around his ears and he broke and pressed his face into Ianto's throat and wept.

"Captain," Ianto said, sounding gently amused. "Crying, Captain?"

He held Jack and stroked his hair, rubbed his cheeks dry when Jack raised his head. Jack Harkness, weeping in the arms of Ianto Jones. It was silly, as silly as Ianto thought it was, though for entirely different reasons than Ianto thought.

"Lead and I follow, sir," he said, and kissed Jack soundly. "But tonight, we rest."

Jack nodded, wondering when his control had slipped and Ianto had neatly taken it up. Then he laid his head down once more, closed his eyes, and slept.

***

It was later. So much later that Jack sometimes wondered if Ianto remembered their conversation, the thing they'd never spoken of again. So much later, after the rise of the Time Lords again and the second Time War and the Earthside Rebellion caused by the slow, agonising death of Gwen, the martyr and saint.

Jack stood by, watching (he watched often, now, much more often than he acted) as Ianto knelt in front of King William and looked up. None of this was strictly necessary, all this pomp and ritual, but Ianto was nothing if not a traditionalist.

The king, who was crownless and robeless and wearing jeans (Jack sighed for bygone eras), offered his hands and Ianto kissed his knuckles. The king stepped back and Ianto stood in a fluid motion, turning to the small crowd nearby.

"His Majesty the King has asked me to form an administration and I have accepted," he said, and there was a ragged cheer. Jack applauded.

"One photograph, Prime Minister," someone said, and Ianto turned a disapproving eye but the cameraman snapped it anyway. There it was -- that stern and grave face, his hair speckled with grey. That was the photograph Jack had seen once, when he was little more than a child. But Jack caught his eyes, and his eyes were not the hard, lonely eyes of the Ianto Jones from Jack's own history books. A better man, Jack thought. A man not alone.

Then the wind ruffled Ianto's hair, and he turned to survey the rubble where the centre of London used to be. Jack couldn't help but be slightly glad that the atrocious Gherkin was gone. Ianto stepped down from the block of rebar-laden cement he'd been standing on and came back to the crowd.

"Well," Ianto said. "Let us begin to put order to things, shall we? Cabinet ministers over here, I believe the concrete will support you all. Parliament, we will deal with you in a moment. Captain Harkness!"

"Sir," Jack said for the first time, tasting the way the word felt in his mouth. His time to serve; Ianto's time to lead. Jack could have wept with relief.

"As the first act of this administration, you are charged with the dismantling of the Torchwood Institute," Ianto said, tilting his head at the rebuilt -- and then re-destroyed -- Torchwood One. "You will absorb the resources and manpower of the Torchwood Institute into a new agency and research institute designed to protect Earth from threats both physical and temporal, no matter the source. Do you accept this responsibility?"

Jack smiled. This was new history, but he knew what came next. "Yes, Prime Minister."

"Off with you, then. Owen!"

Owen, sitting on a fallen column nearby, raised his face. He still had a long, neat line of stitches down his cheek.

"Jack will need your help," Ianto said. Owen smiled slightly. "Go with him."

"Yes, Prime Minister," Owen said, but Jack heard him mutter tea-boy as he passed.

"Toshiko, this way, I need your advice. Ah -- not those," Ianto said, waving at the guns strapped to her thighs. "No more guns."

Tosh looked relieved as she took the guns out and set them aside.

"Now," Ianto said, rubbing his hands as Tosh joined him in front of the ragged Cabinet. "That's taken care of. I believe we are ready."

Yes, Jack thought, as he and Owen withdrew to let them work. You are ready.

"New work," Owen said, cutting into his thoughts. "New world. No more Torchwood."

"No," Jack said.

"But something in its place?"

"I have ideas, how about you?"

"Tons," Owen said. "What'll we call it?"

"I don't know," Jack said, as they passed through the rubble. "I sort of like 'Time Agency'."

And this time, I'm ready too.

END

[identity profile] aishuu.livejournal.com 2008-02-23 08:38 pm (UTC)(link)
How absolutely splendid. I love the way you've woven future history (pardon the paradox) into this fic - it's a really interesting idea that Jack is influenced by the futures that he knows... especially intriguing as a reason for saving Owen.

[identity profile] odditycollector.livejournal.com 2008-02-23 08:38 pm (UTC)(link)
Lovely.

[identity profile] lomedet.livejournal.com 2008-02-23 08:44 pm (UTC)(link)
So I've only ever seen the one episode of Torchwood, and this story still struck me as gorgeous and *true*. It made my heart hurt for Jack, just a little, and it made me smile for the new future he created out of his love for them.

[identity profile] practical-puss.livejournal.com 2008-02-23 08:47 pm (UTC)(link)
Eeeeeek. Just Eeeeeek. I do so love Ianto, and this is just so... plausible. For some reason,
Gwen, the martyr and saint.
touched me like nothing else in the fic. You know that soft, kind of gentle sadness-with-a-smile you get sometimes when reading about heroic last stands and romantic deaths? Like that.
snakeling: Statue of the Minoan Snake Goddess (Default)

[personal profile] snakeling 2008-02-23 08:58 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, yay! I loved the tone of this, especially the contrast between Jack's memories of history, and the way he lives and shapes it.

And Time Agency wheee! :D

[identity profile] pipsi-pirate.livejournal.com 2008-02-23 09:00 pm (UTC)(link)
beautiful!

(even despite the ruthless attack on the Gherkin :D)

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-02-24 12:38 am (UTC)(link)
I love the look of the Gherkin, it just looks so stupid in the middle of London! :D

[identity profile] shewalksonroses.livejournal.com 2008-02-23 09:05 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, Sam. Sam, Sam, Sam. You just had to go and create history. ♥

Of all your stories, this may be the one I love the most.

Plus I DID get to use my new Ianto icon!

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-02-24 12:37 am (UTC)(link)
I love me some future history. *pats poor befuddled Jack*
such_heights: amy and rory looking at a pile of post (tw: ianto reception)

[personal profile] such_heights 2008-02-23 09:23 pm (UTC)(link)
*flails*

asl;dkjas

OH MY GOD I COULD CRY THIS IS SO PERFECT.

Ahem. Sorry. Coherency now. The ending just slayed me unexpectedly, is all. But this is so amazingly, amazingly good and I am taking every single word of it as canon. Prime Minister Ianto! Jack rewriting history, making them happier, John knowing not to kill them, Ianto working it all out years in advance, AND THEN THEY FORM THE TIME AGENCY. (Back, capslock, back!)

Can you please just write Torchwood fic all the time forever? Because really, that would be just great.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-02-24 12:37 am (UTC)(link)
The concept really caught my attention, when I came up with it -- glad I did it justice :)

[identity profile] eleish.livejournal.com 2008-02-23 09:27 pm (UTC)(link)
You are a narrative genius. Where I can buy a brain like yours?

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-02-24 12:36 am (UTC)(link)
Alas, I think I got the last one in stock :D

(no subject)

[identity profile] eleish.livejournal.com - 2008-02-24 10:01 (UTC) - Expand

[identity profile] songspinner9.livejournal.com 2008-02-23 09:27 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh...my....goodness. I can actually believe this as a timeline for Torchwood. Jack seemed perfectly in character, and I loved your Ianto - fascinating. What a marvelous idea!

[identity profile] bright-weavings.livejournal.com 2008-02-23 09:48 pm (UTC)(link)
wonderful story. you however, seem to be forcing me to re-think my position on Torchwood. I didn't much like what I saw of the first season...but after reading this, I think I might have to try watching it again. :D

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-02-24 12:35 am (UTC)(link)
It won't get better on second-watching, I'm afraid :D Second season is better though!

[identity profile] katyjo.livejournal.com 2008-02-23 10:09 pm (UTC)(link)
Oooh, it all ties in so well.

And, oh, Gwen. Of course she goes out as a martyr. How else could she die?

You know, I'm kind of hoping you don't get over this Torchwood thing in a hurry...

[identity profile] justinej.livejournal.com 2008-02-23 11:19 pm (UTC)(link)
Brilliant piece! What a fantastic idea. I love it!

[identity profile] pinkfinity.livejournal.com 2008-02-23 11:30 pm (UTC)(link)
That's fantastic - I love how you weave the history-future complexity all together and explain what happened with John - so terrific.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-02-24 12:35 am (UTC)(link)
History-future is fun! :D

[identity profile] jessikast.livejournal.com 2008-02-24 12:02 am (UTC)(link)
Love love love love love! This is such an awesome perspective on Jack and the team and how everything fits together.
ext_1947: (Default)

[identity profile] goddessleila.livejournal.com 2008-02-24 12:17 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, *Jack.* His constant "okay, my bad" made me giggle, and Ianto figuring it out, and Jack falling in love totally on accident and passing the baton with a great deal of relief and "sir" and Time Agency! So much awesome here. I'm so glad to see you in Torchwood fandom, because I love it and I know you'll do it justice.

But I have to say, the bit that really got to me was idea that Gwen as the martyred hero. Because all of the others have a place, have a function- leader, technical, medical, general support- but Gwen's not really anything. She's supposed to be the heart. She's doesn't do anything amazing in the future, doesn't break scientific barriers or guide the world into new and important shapes. All she's supposed to do is die. And that makes me sad, but kind of glad for her, because she's just that much of an amazing person that her team will remold the world because of her death.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-02-24 12:34 am (UTC)(link)
Jack has a few my-bads under his belt :D

Poor Gwen. I can't bring myself to like her, I'm afraid. But at least she got a meaningful death. In my head, Gwen's death devastated Owen and he did something really stupid and desperate which nevertheless led to saving the world...

[identity profile] kribban.livejournal.com 2008-02-24 12:27 am (UTC)(link)
Very interesting story! Are Jack and Ianto still together at the end? I can't imagine what the ramifications of that would be. But who knows, thirty years into the future after mass destruction, people just don't care. :-)

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-02-24 12:33 am (UTC)(link)
They are, though it was hard to indicate that. I wanted to have him make some remark about "I'll see you at dinner" but couldn't find a way to make it fit.

(no subject)

[identity profile] kribban.livejournal.com - 2008-02-24 08:48 (UTC) - Expand

[identity profile] nohwrah.livejournal.com 2008-02-24 12:28 am (UTC)(link)
This is- I'm absolutely speechless. I'm nowhere near knowing how to speak ever again.

This explains so much that's happened in the series that I just thought was a bit weird (Jack's defiant "Torchwood" to Captain John, especially). This is all so very in character and the interaction between Jack and Ianto is just gorgeously, beautifully written.

Gwen's death as a martyr at the start of the second Time War broke my heart- it's very much like Gwen.

And then -OMG- it's the four of them who start up the Time Agency. That is a brilliant twist to the entire story.

Also, you may have just succeeded where the writers of the show have failed: you actually have given Jack a timeline (and one that makes sense, at that).

I wholeheartedly hope there'll be much more TW-fic from you! Absolutely fantastically written.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-02-24 12:32 am (UTC)(link)
The more I thought about it the more it did make sense, especially Jack's desperation to resurrect Owen :D

In Jack's original timeline, and I wasn't sure how to make this clear, Ianto is actually the prime founder of the Time Agency. The Ianto Jones. :D

[identity profile] concretesphinx.livejournal.com 2008-02-24 12:29 am (UTC)(link)
Sam, it is so unacceptable how much better your stories are than the canon from which they come. I've been in fandom(s) for so long that i get surprised by the people who aren't. Why waste your time waiting for the next episode of Torchwood or book of Harry Potter when there are people like you (and by that i mean you) who create things so much better?
I fangirl you more than Einstein fanboyed the universe.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-02-24 12:31 am (UTC)(link)
Einstein was a big fanboy of the universe! :D

Glad you enjoyed it :D

Fic: A Man Not Alone

[identity profile] secondsilk.livejournal.com 2008-02-24 12:50 am (UTC)(link)
Yes, yes, yes!
Haha!
I love the past-history-future-childhood thing. The ideas for all of them, and Jack's waiting and watching.
snorkackcatcher: (Default)

[personal profile] snorkackcatcher 2008-02-24 01:07 am (UTC)(link)
Very nice -- a most interesting take on the backstory, and very well written.

[identity profile] whatever-sky.livejournal.com 2008-02-24 01:09 am (UTC)(link)
hey man! what's all this torchwood stuff about? where's my legion of ghosts update???? lol

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-02-24 03:54 pm (UTC)(link)
I know, I know *hangs head* I'm ashamed, but I gotta write what comes. *sighs*

[identity profile] capedcrusader92.livejournal.com 2008-02-24 01:11 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, this was lovely! I like the way you managed to take a whole string of inconsistencies in canon and make them not only explainable but believeable.

And... Jack's collective "my bads" for the win. ;-)

[identity profile] vivichick.livejournal.com 2008-02-24 01:13 am (UTC)(link)
So wonderful! True and real... Jack and Ianto's "voices" were spot on.
You should seriously consider TMing this fic, because of anyone from the TW writing team got wind of this, I think they'd have the final season all set up :)
Bravo, Sir.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-02-24 03:53 pm (UTC)(link)
LOL! Alas, I doubt that's the direction they're going :)
ext_23799: (converse are awesome)

[identity profile] aralias.livejournal.com 2008-02-24 01:35 am (UTC)(link)
i'm so glad you're writing more torchwood fic. this is also excellent. sadly, i think it's too brilliant for genuine torchwood canon (jack seems too surprised by everything and torchwood are such blunderers in general), but its nevertheless clever and interesting and fun.

one question, merely out of interest, do you reckon jack had himself written out of history (given that he hadn't heard of himself) or had he changed history, like the photograph, without realising it?

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-02-24 03:53 pm (UTC)(link)
Torchwood really do make some dumb mistakes. Still, nobody's perfect. :D

I think Jack didn't exist in his own history. Time for him is as fluid as sexuality; he's aware that by being in the timestream he's changing things from the history he knew, and he's had to accept that. Joining Torchwood would be a major decision for him, because it would mean he might make significant changes and contributions that would affect the future. For him it's a terrifying tightrope, which I think is why it's such a relief for him to know someone else understands and accepts him.

So, Jack didn't have himself written out of history -- he wrote himself into it. I wanted to end with two fictional biographies of Ianto Jones, one from Jack's history books and one from the new history books, but it just didn't seem worth the payoff to include them.

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