sam_storyteller: (Default)
sam_storyteller ([personal profile] sam_storyteller) wrote2005-07-18 01:00 pm
Entry tags:

In Every Minute; PG-13

Title: In Every Minute
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Jack will live forever, but that's no reason not to live for now. Shortfic.
Notes: Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] 51stcenturyfox and [livejournal.com profile] cruentum for betas.
Warnings: None.

Originally Posted 5.30.09

Now available at AO3.

***

"You spent five years with John Hart," Ianto says once, in the dark.

He does that, sometimes; waking in the morning, or lying awake at night, or after sex (once in a while, before). He'll just say something, random and disconnected. Jack used to wonder if he had some kind of mental disorder left over from watching all his friends die horribly -- some little glitch that sometimes sent him slightly off-track from ordinary people.

He suspects, now, that Ianto just thinks Jack is following his leaps of logic from one subject to another. There is a lot Jack knows that nobody in this time can or will ever know, but his people are broken in very special ways, and Ianto might actually be better at deduction than Jack is.

Still, when Ianto brings up John Hart, Jack just snorts a laugh and rolls onto his back in Ianto's bed, arms lax and slung over his head.

"Five years? No," he says.

Ianto turns his head, a moving shadow. "No?"

"Not even close."

"But he said, that time in the bar..." Ianto trails off expectantly. Jack smiles. He waits, wondering if Ianto will ask more, but Ianto just watches him, eyes dark and half-lidded, patient. So patient, this one.

"What did we say?" Jack asks, prompting, gentle.

"Two weeks," Ianto repeats. "Except two weeks was caught in a time loop, so it was five years. Like having a wife, he said. And he was the wife."

"It was five years for who?"

He can hear the slight shift in Ianto's breath when he works it out.

"You were together for two weeks, while the rest of time looped around you," Ianto says. "So when you came out, five years had passed."

"Very good, grasshopper. Make a Time Agent out of you yet," Jack says, and half-means it. If he wanted to, he could spend ten minutes tomorrow making arrangements, and a recruiter from three thousand years in the future would come and offer Ianto Jones a job. It's happened before; with all of time at their feet, humanity of Jack's era can choose the brightest from all of history, not just the linear ones.

But he wants Ianto here with him. Selfish, perhaps. Still, Jack has so little that he holds to what he has. He believes that Ianto would choose to stay if he had the choice, and anyway the Time Agency always did fuck with timelines too much.

"So why the jokes about wives? Or was that just posturing for us kids?" Ianto asks. Jack lifts a hand to drag his knuckles down Ianto's chest.

"If you were a kid, we wouldn't be here," he answers, aware his voice is low and rough, the way Ianto likes to hear it. Ianto isn't distracted.

"The wives?" he says pointedly. Jack rubs his eyes with his other hand.

"Five years is a long time. Well, it was -- will be, in the then that hasn't happened yet. Five years ago text messages were the wave of the future. Who had a mobile ten years ago?"

Ianto blinks at him sleepily.

"Imagine what it was like for us," Jack elaborates. "Out we came, into a world we hadn't seen in five years, a world that had moved on. We were timelocked from going back -- long story. We only had each other for a while. It felt...safe, being with him. We were partners. We were the only ones who knew how it felt." He closes his eyes. "Like being married."

"Oh," Ianto says softly. He's silent for a while. "You've lost a lot of time."

Jack turns, at that, to look at him. "Hm?"

"Five years here, two years there -- that's what you said to me once, isn't it?" Ianto's gaze is steady. "They say when we're little time seems slower because we've had so much less of it. When you're five, a year is a fifth of your whole life. When you're ten, it's a tenth." He frowns. "We must seem so fleeting to you now."

"You still matter," Jack insists.

"Blink and we're gone," Ianto muses. Jack pushes himself up enough for the streetlight's glow to catch his face through the half-open curtains of the flat. He blinks deliberately. Ianto, to his surprise, bursts out laughing.

"So I'm morbid," he admits, looking up at Jack with a mixture of adoration and fear that is -- heady, and still makes Jack's pulse jump. "I know. Enjoy it while you can, eh?"

"Something like that," Jack agrees, because Ianto is young and missing the point, but hopefully he will understand before he dies.

Jack is old, so old, and yet he still lives every second. Ianto will be one moment in his long life, but inside of that moment it still feels like it could be forever. Just as it does with any lover, and has with all of those in the past.

It would be vastly unfair to remember the pain and not the pleasure, after all.

"Something like that," Ianto repeats his words sleepily, drifting off.

Jack counts the heartbeats in his lover's chest until it becomes abstract, a reassuring rhythm, and then he, too, sleeps.

[identity profile] sadera992.livejournal.com 2009-05-30 01:34 pm (UTC)(link)
aww, sweet. and i love the explanation of the time loop. lovely. glad to see you writing some fic!

[identity profile] luvinthe88and20.livejournal.com 2009-05-30 01:39 pm (UTC)(link)
Very nice story.

[identity profile] lonelyangel-x.livejournal.com 2009-05-30 01:44 pm (UTC)(link)
This is a lovely story. I really liked the explanation for the time loop, and Jack's selfishness over keeping Ianto for himself.

[identity profile] golden-d.livejournal.com 2009-05-30 02:04 pm (UTC)(link)
Aw, this is great. I love your Ianto.

[identity profile] never-ender.livejournal.com 2009-05-30 02:14 pm (UTC)(link)
"Something like that," Jack agrees, because Ianto is young and missing the point, but hopefully he will understand before he dies.

Love that line. Wonderful little bit of morning reading for me :)

[identity profile] marynyu.livejournal.com 2009-05-30 02:41 pm (UTC)(link)
D'aww, that's sweet!! Gotta love Ianto admiting to be morbid too XD

Poor Jack. I always felt, with everything he's had to go through, he must be the most resilient character I've ever seen. Still being able to be happy a lot of the time and all.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2009-05-31 01:29 am (UTC)(link)
I've always thought he was the ideal, if anyone was, to be immortalised, because he's so intensely human -- morally relativist, pleasure-loving, highly emotional, but essentially someone who doesn't want to cause pain or suffering. He'll feel loss deeply but he'll always feel, which means he doesn't put himself above anyone else.

[identity profile] ruisseau.livejournal.com 2009-05-30 02:46 pm (UTC)(link)
Ooh, lovely.

[identity profile] spiderine.livejournal.com 2009-05-30 03:34 pm (UTC)(link)
*nod* All times are now. :)

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2009-05-30 11:37 pm (UTC)(link)
Amen! :D I wouldn't have it any other way.

[identity profile] love-jackianto.livejournal.com 2009-05-30 03:59 pm (UTC)(link)
Wonderful story.

'Jack counts the heartbeats in his lover's chest until it becomes abstract, a reassuring rhythm, and then he, too, sleeps.'
Great ending. It's very poetic.

[identity profile] jeremymlad.livejournal.com 2009-05-30 04:31 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh thank you. That hits the spot.

[identity profile] darthhellokitty.livejournal.com 2009-05-30 04:44 pm (UTC)(link)
I really like this quiet little story. Of course Ianto would wonder about John Hart and the five years...

[identity profile] gracie-musica.livejournal.com 2009-05-30 04:48 pm (UTC)(link)
Beautiful! I adore the way you write, the words seem to flow across the page screen like they're an alive thing.

[identity profile] purplevks.livejournal.com 2009-05-30 05:08 pm (UTC)(link)
Ib I dibn'-

*coughsneezehack*

If I wasn't producing far more snot than the human body should be able to I might have something more to say than "*pats IantoandJack*".

I think you're stuck with that.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2009-05-30 11:37 pm (UTC)(link)
*pats* Feel better! And don't worry about it :)

(no subject)

[identity profile] purplevks.livejournal.com - 2009-05-30 23:44 (UTC) - Expand

[identity profile] melayneseahawk.livejournal.com 2009-05-30 05:10 pm (UTC)(link)
Definitely like the timeloop fix. I do think that Jack lives for the moment, no matter how many moments he's already had/will have.

[identity profile] neifile7.livejournal.com 2009-05-30 05:11 pm (UTC)(link)
Now that's what I call a deft use of narrative time. Just a moment, and -- just a moment.

"Blink and we're gone," Ianto muses. Jack pushes himself up enough for the streetlight's glow to catch his face through the half-open curtains of the flat. He blinks deliberately. Ianto, to his surprise, bursts out laughing.

That's a stunning visual, all the more effective because so understated, and because of the twist in the tail.

Pillow-talk and especially pillow-tales are perhaps my biggest J/I kink, and I think they're always about time recaptured (hey, Proust is Jack canon!). They always have at least a whiff of domesticity about them too, not necessarily in a schmoopy way; but they do imply slotting the shared present into one's personal history. The time loop "marriage" is a perfect way to put all that across in very few words.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2009-05-30 11:36 pm (UTC)(link)
I like quiet conversations between them, but too often they do end up a little too domestic for me :D

I was rather proud of the time-loop marriage, the concept anyway. The story's really based around that....

[identity profile] rm.livejournal.com 2009-05-30 05:25 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, this was exactly what I was in the mood for today! Also, as a random blurter who thinks people are actually following my internal logic, I got a good laugh.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2009-05-30 11:35 pm (UTC)(link)
I blurt a bit, much less than I used to though. Jack definitely indulges Ianto in it :D

[identity profile] adina-atl.livejournal.com 2009-05-30 05:50 pm (UTC)(link)
This is good, really good. So many of us live in the past or the future that we forget that Jack would HAVE to live in the present. And it's not like he has to plan for retirement. *grin*

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2009-05-30 11:35 pm (UTC)(link)
LOL, so true. Though I bet he has investments and safety boxes tucked away, in case of apocalypse and such. :D

(no subject)

[identity profile] adina-atl.livejournal.com - 2009-05-31 00:38 (UTC) - Expand

[identity profile] santousha.livejournal.com 2009-05-30 06:14 pm (UTC)(link)
wow, this is beautiful. Slow, comfortable, deep and entertaining. I'm glad that you are writing more Torchwood fiction.
rhianona: (bounty hunter)

[personal profile] rhianona 2009-05-30 06:40 pm (UTC)(link)
very intriguing conversation. I like the little points that are made in this, regarding time and what it means to live and love and time travel. Like Jack's thoughts on Ianto. I agree; Ianto has to be messed up in some manner after everything that has happened to him. If it's just conversational points out of nowhere, Jack is lucky. *g*

[identity profile] torchbox87.livejournal.com 2009-05-30 06:43 pm (UTC)(link)
Fantastic.
kelticbanshee: (Default)

[personal profile] kelticbanshee 2009-05-30 06:44 pm (UTC)(link)
Sweet!
It would be vastly unfair to remember the pain and not the pleasure, after all.
That line made me smile. It is so Jack :)

[identity profile] malinbe.livejournal.com 2009-05-30 06:45 pm (UTC)(link)
Sweet. Thank you!

[identity profile] jonaht.livejournal.com 2009-05-30 07:28 pm (UTC)(link)
Very Good! And touching. :)

Are there any stories where Ianto has passed and now Jack needs to face the future without him? That would be sad.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2009-05-30 11:34 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm sure there are tons -- most of them are a bit angsty, though. I tend not to read them. There is one where Ianto falls into the future, through the rift, and meets up with a Jack who has long since moved on and is marrying someone...it's a sweet story though.

[identity profile] rosy5000.livejournal.com 2009-05-30 07:32 pm (UTC)(link)
That was just lovely. Very introspective but a nice moment between Jack and Ianto. :)

[identity profile] phineyj.livejournal.com 2009-05-30 07:57 pm (UTC)(link)
If he wanted to, he could spend ten minutes tomorrow making arrangements, and a recruiter from three thousand years in the future would come and offer Ianto Jones a job. It's happened before; with all of time at their feet, humanity of Jack's era can choose the brightest from all of history, not just the linear ones.

[identity profile] phineyj.livejournal.com 2009-05-30 07:59 pm (UTC)(link)
Oops, hit post too soon.

What I was going to say was, a) your fic is better than chocolate and b) I would love to see the scene of 'Ianto politely but firmly puts the Time Agent recruiters in their place'.

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