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sam_storyteller ([personal profile] sam_storyteller) wrote2005-07-18 12:00 pm

No Word For Yes; Torchwood, PG-13

Title: No Word For Yes
Rating: PG-13 for shenanigans
Summary: Someday he will have a Jack-to-English dictionary. Though it will contain more than just the words, he supposes. And be unsuitable for children.
Notes: Spoilers for Torchwood post-S2, Doctor who post-S4, with Torchwood S3 casting speculation. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] adina_atl for betareading.
Warnings: None.

Originally posted 7.14.08

Now available at AO3.

***

It's really unfair to weathermen, what the Daleks and the Doctor have done to Earth.

It's not as though Cardiff is dry at the best of times but for the past week and a half it's been pissing down out almost constantly; flooding is becoming a real threat but not an unavoidable one yet, mainly because when it's not raining it's unbearably hot and sunny out. Jack, who has done some calculations on one of the computers, is confident it won't actually flood and says the thunderstorms will wash away the last of the bad weather from Earth's displacement. Jack's instruments are pretty fine-tuned and he knows how to use them; Ianto wouldn't be surprised if a few poor sods at the weather service, on the other hand, are drinking heavily to combat the confusion they must feel whenever they look at their readouts.

But the thunderstorms are brilliant, all crackling bolts and loud clap-bangs, a good excuse to stay in. A better excuse yet is Gwen's latest "training exercise" idea, which translates to her and Martha and Mickey in the Hub for the night, running drills to get the new kids up to standard. It's good training for Gwen, too, now officially second-in-command, and to facilitate matters and make sure Gwen's authority is established Jack is --

Ianto smiles as he stands at the window, watching the rain fall. Jack is behind him, on his bed, a cup of cocoa cradled in his hands and Histoire de Ma Vie for reading material.

"I like a long book," Jack said to Gwen once, when she asked why he had a bound set of Richardson's Clarissa on his bookshelf. "I have the time to read them, anyway."

To Ianto, later, he added the disclaimer, "I thought there would be more sex in it. Turns out it's about not having sex."

"Why did you keep it?"

"Have you ever tried to unload a nine volume novel about people not having sex?"


Jacques Casanova's autobiography definitely qualifies as a long book, anyway; the volume in Jack's hands is number twelve of thirty ("Return to Paris"). It's also in French, which means that whenever he asks Jack to translate some for him he gets essentially the "good parts version" of the life of Casanova. Jack chooses his passages with care, so while Jack may be reading the whole thing Ianto only ever gets about five minutes at a time before Jack tries something scurrilous or scandalous or otherwise enjoyable. To be fair, given what Jack reads him, sometimes it's Ianto who tries it.

Well, it works for them.

The comm in his ear buzzes. "Ianto."

"Go ahead, Mickey," he says.

"Hourly check-in. All systems go."

Ianto smiles faintly. Mickey is very Mission Impossible. Ianto prefers James Bond, but really he'd like it best if Mickey would just stop fucking around and be himself.

"Thank you, Mickey. How's Gwen treating you?"

"We're running invasion procedures."

"Thrilling. I'm ringing off; don't bother with check-ins until morning unless something comes up. Mobile's handy."

"Night, Ianto."

"G'night," Ianto says, and takes the earpiece out.

"Hub not flooded yet?" Jack asks.

"I checked the pumps before I left for the day."

"Reliable Ianto," Jack says, and Ianto twists without moving his feet, to grin at him over his shoulder. "Still coming down out there."

"Yes." Ianto turns back to the window. There's a flash of lightning and an almost immediate thunderclap that makes the windowpanes rattle.

"If the window blows in you'll get strafed," Jack points out.

"This is good British craftsmanship."

"Like I said." Jack sips his cocoa, ignoring Ianto's derisive snort. "Also, I can't believe how domestic I'm about to be."

"Oh yes?"

"Yes. Ianto, come to bed."

Ianto does turn then, crossing through the dim room, sitting on the edge of his bed and checking that the mobile's ringer-volume is up.

"How's Casanova?" he asks, settling next to Jack and peering over his shoulder. "Still French, I see."

"Italian," Jack corrects.

"Yes, I'm aware. Venetian, if memory serves. Written in French, though."

Jack squirms a little closer, his shoulder bumping Ianto's chest. "Thus he spoke only from his head, and his -- not from his heart," he reads, and Ianto recognises the awkward cadence of instant translation. "I spoke, said, that this thing was acceptable at some times, but that at some times the happiness of man, of a man, was connected with his freedom from bindings. Social bindings," Jack appends, glancing up at him with a filthy smile.

"Good advice," Ianto decides.

"This proceeded from the tender love I wished to show the boy," he continues. "To his mother I said, it was necessary to make him detest a lie but you should have wished to try to make him passionate for the truth by showing him all its original beauty. This is the only way to make him worthy of love, which is the sole giver of joy in the world."

Jack closes the book -- gospel of Casanova apparently concluded for the evening -- and sets the cocoa aside. There's another flash of lightning with accompanying thunder as he curls into Ianto, lets him raise a hand to run his fingers through the hair just above his neck, against the grain, the way Jack likes.

"In my home," Jack says, choosing his words carefully, "we used to get huge thunderstorms rolling in off the ocean."

"You had an ocean?"

"Practically at my doorstep. Warm saltwater. I never saw a swimming pool until I was grown."

Ianto can almost feel the gears turning in Jack's head, clicking into place as he dredges up memories that have probably lain long-buried. Jack nuzzles into the side of his neck.

"Humans always have traditions," he continues, slowly -- perhaps even translating in his head from his native tongue. Ianto is time-linear and tied to one planet but he's not by any means stupid or unobservant, and he knows Jack's first language is probably not any language spoken on Earth. "The thunderstorms used to frighten the hell out of me, because some kindly old man told me they meant the moon was angry with us and I was pretty bright, you know -- "

" -- I'd never have guessed," Ianto drawls.

" -- and I knew that the moon orbited...the planet...and I'd read about meteor strikes so I used to think if she ever got really mad she'd crash down and kill us all. But on the other hand..." Jack sits up a little, kissing the edge of his jaw just below his ear. "Ever sit around a campfire and tell ghost stories?"

"I'm familiar with the idea."

"That was thunderstorms for us. Everyone bringing around a jug of beer or something to eat and we'd pack into someone's hakti, all over the cushions and couches, and tell stories in the dark."

Ianto doesn't think Jack realises he's said the word hakti, but he can derive from context, and he tucks it away next to two others.

Hakti (s). Common or living room, possibly communal bedroom.

Duthu (pl. Duthun). Blanket. ("Does the duthu need washing?" "Yes, Jack," before Jack can think about it; or "Stop stealing all the duthun, Ianto," said sleepily early one morning, in Jack's tiny bed, where Ianto had because the Hub was cold.)

Nah (pl.). Some form of eating utensil. ("Pass me the nah." "The what?" "The chopsticks? What did I say?" "No, sorry -- couldn't hear you, I was opening the carton.")

Someday he will have a Jack-to-English dictionary. Though it will contain more than just the words, he supposes. And be unsuitable for children.

"Ghost stories?" he asks.

"Which were strangely comforting. They gave me other things to be scared of, anyway," Jack says. "They're...not as frightening now as they were when I was a kid. Not much is."

"Just as well. I don't know any ghost stories. Didn't you have telly?"

Jack laughs. "Another fifty years and you won't, either. Not the way it is now. Internet feeds; news sound-bites, YouTube sized; downloadable files for soaps and dramas and sitcoms. People rearrange the way they live their lives; if you can watch anything anywhere, read the updated news at any time of day, you start to realise that your time is your own again, you're not tied to the box anymore. It's freeing; people go back to telling stories, putting on plays, making music. We always crave society. We're communal animals."

And he crowns his sociology lecture by pulling Ianto's head slightly to the side, kissing him the way he does when he has the luxury of time on his side and wants to draw out the anticipation.

"But you know stories," Jack says against his lips.

"Well, it's genetic," Ianto replies. "We invented King Arthur, you know."

"Rydw i ymwybodol," Jack replies, grinning. That, Ianto doesn't have to tuck up; that's pure Welsh. I'm aware. Like Latin, Welsh has no common-use word for "yes"; you reply in the affirmative -- "I am", "I do", "I can", "I know". The two languages share a certain element of bribery in their phrase for "please", as well. Amabo te, I will love you if you do this, or os gwelwch yn dda, if you see pleasure in it. The translations aren't precise; this kind of expression never can be.

He wonders if Jack's language, the language of hakti and duthu, uses a single word like English or a phrase like most other tongues.

"Celwydda at mi," Jack commands.

"Your grasp of Welsh grammar and vocabulary is a disgrace. Casanova would approve, though," Ianto replies. "You're the man with all the stories, Jack; you tell me a lie, if you want to hear one."

Jack seems to consider this, dropping his head so that it's pressed against Ianto's chest, ear over his heart.

"Let me tell you both," Jack says finally. "Truth and lie."

Nice change from the usual, Ianto thinks, but he doesn't say.

"I heard this story," Jack tugs on his shoulders to pull him down, curling up against his back, chin on his shoulder, "for the first time in what you'd call a foxhole, in my first war. One of the older women knew it, said it was the story of everything. So it's truth dressed up in a lie. Probably."

Jack's hand is warm around his waist, fingers tightening just slightly when another thunderbolt rattles the window again.

"There are legends -- I looked 'em up once, couldn't cite them now -- that say all the great cities are echoes of one city. London, Tokyo, Paris..."

"Sounds like a fashion advert," Ianto says, to fill the silence after a thunderclap. Jack chuckles low in his ear.

"The first queen of cities, mirrored spires and underground trains, people living so close you never have to be alone. Plentiful food, no shortage of work."

"Someone has to sweep the streets."

"Are you telling this lie or am I?"

"Sorry. Do keep lying," Ianto says.

"It's the blueprint for every great city on this or any other world -- well, maybe more of a charcoal sketch. All the things we hold in common come from the queen of cities." Jack inhales. "But it's also all these other things. Stories they tell throughout the known worlds. The fall of man -- or any other species. The first fratricide, you'd be shocked how many religions know it. Jealousy. Greed. The city went to war with another city, or maybe another world, or even just another race. Bigger than any other war fought in known history, bigger than the war -- " and here he hesitates. "There was a war fought in time itself, and this war was still bigger. It shattered reality, space convulsed and every natural law was violated. That's why this is a soldier's story. Every city echoes the queen of cities, and every war echoes the emperor of all wars. Some of the legends say the end of the war was the start of our universe; the big bang, grossly oversimplified, was a bomb. Mutually assured destruction, and we were born in blood and battle."

"Cheerful," Ianto murmurs.

"I told you it was a story for soldiers. On the other hand..." Jack falls silent, thoughtful again. "Every race I've ever encountered -- all of them except one -- has the capacity for mercy and love. It's just a question of whether they use it." He huffs another laugh against Ianto's neck. "Personally, I like to see it as my individual mission to encourage them."

He tugs on Ianto's shoulder, turning him to lie flat on the bed, sliding until his elbows are on either side of Ianto's ribcage, kissing him fully.

"Truth, lies, love, war...it's all stories in the end," he says. Ianto can hear the rumble of thunder but it's more distant now, and the lightning is dim and soft. "Just stories..." a kiss, "you tell..." his hands in Ianto's hair, hips pressing down delightfully, "when the storms come..." a soft moan, "...to scare each other with."

"And if it's true?" Ianto asks, around a groan he can't quite (doesn't want to) suppress.

"Then we got our capacity for love from them too, don't you think?" Jack asks, claiming his body inch by inch. Ianto doesn't answer.

By the time he's coherent again, the storm has moved on and Jack is a warm, heavy weight, steady breath against his cheek, a hand over his heart.

"Do you think it's true?" he asks, and Jack barely stirs.

"Coelio," Jack says, which is Welsh, and then, "Ba sich," which is not any language Ianto knows (Ba sich; first person singular, I have faith). Then he says, "Yes, I think it is. As much as I believe anything that lacks a rational basis. Until someone comes up with something better."

Ba sich, Ianto thinks, and then because he can only think this in English: Yes.

END

Endnotes:
Samuel Richardson's Clarissa is widely accepted as the longest novel in the English language. It is a nine-volume epistolary novel and, from the summary (I haven't personally read it), it does indeed appear to be all about not having sex. Casanova's autobiography, Histoire de Ma Vie, is probably mostly about having sex; I haven't read it either, but I did read bits of chapter nine. Jack's "translation" is adapted from the Gutenberg e-text English translation, and the quote is the product of judicious editing of about three paragraphs. Blame Jack.

Apologies for any inaccuracies in Jack's Welsh; the Welsh phrase for "please" should at least be right, and I've striven for reasonable accuracy in the rest. Corrections gladly accepted. The bits about Latin are true. Jack's native tongue is entirely made up.

As for Ianto's claim that the Welsh "invented" King Arthur, that's technically untrue, as historians believe there was a figure upon whom Arthur was based in history. However, Arthur is more than a figure; he's an axis for a whole whack of stories, some of which came in plot or theme from the Welsh Mabinogion (Fuck Chretien de Troyes, man).

[identity profile] offer-of-hope.livejournal.com 2008-07-15 01:36 am (UTC)(link)
"Have you ever tried to unload a nine volume novel about people not having sex?"

Well he could always try book crossings. Or someone fond of pressing flowers.

[identity profile] sabra-n.livejournal.com 2008-07-15 01:42 am (UTC)(link)
Or a really unfortunate student of English literature. I had to read Richardson's Pamela and it was pure torture. But it did give me a new appreciation of Henry Fielding.

-blue

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[identity profile] angelari.livejournal.com - 2008-07-15 15:58 (UTC) - Expand

[identity profile] demotu.livejournal.com 2008-07-15 01:41 am (UTC)(link)
*exhales*

You earn the title "storyteller", and that's really the crux of most of your pieces, for me - you take this massive, impossible-to-articulate set of feelings and themes and lives and condense it into something that is beautiful but not less.

It's freeing; people go back to telling stories, putting on plays, making music. We always crave society. We're communal animals.

Oh, yes, please. If this happens I will be gloriously happy, though by then I'm sure I'll have other things to complain about. The bits about Jack's language - I've often, often though about that myself, and I got to your first hint of it in this fic and thought "what if you threw in words from it"? And then you did. Perfection.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-07-15 03:21 am (UTC)(link)
I can see it happening; I know I watch WAY less television but only in one sense. There are shows I follow regularly, but I download them; when R's gone, the TV just never gets turned on....

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[identity profile] someinstant.livejournal.com 2008-07-15 01:45 am (UTC)(link)
This presses every single language button I have, and most of my history buttons as well. And-- yeah. I love stories like this, like the one Jack tells. I love that it's all words, walking around the edges of a common gap.

I hope Ianto keeps working on that dictionary; I would keep it on my nightstand for bedtime reading.

[identity profile] madripoor-rose.livejournal.com 2008-07-15 01:46 am (UTC)(link)
Hm. If you hadn't mentioned having the thread of the Queen of Cities story for over a year, I'd've assumed this was a Stargate Atlantis crossover.

Of course, Atlantis. Jack is right here. (well, you are.) We keep telling ourselves the story of the perfect city lost in chaos...and keep trying to rebuild it.

Excellent fic.

[identity profile] kensieg.livejournal.com 2008-07-15 02:36 am (UTC)(link)
I thought the Queen of Cities was Citadel on Gallifrey. This has a bit of a Zelazny flavor. Or Plato. The Platonic Ideal of a City?

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[identity profile] metallumai.livejournal.com 2008-07-15 01:51 am (UTC)(link)
pretty. :)

[identity profile] polaris-starz.livejournal.com 2008-07-15 01:59 am (UTC)(link)
I love how so many stories in the DW/TW fandom hit my langugage kink. I love Ianto's mental dictionary and the story that Jack tells makes me gleeful. (Part of this is that the first legend to ever capture my attention was that of Atlantis, which would of course be an echo of the story Jack tells.)

The irony of Jack having a book about not having sex is glorious.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-07-15 03:20 am (UTC)(link)
Well, I wanted to have the longest book in the English language, and then I read the summary of Clarissa and was all, "Oh noes. He's going to just haaaate this..."

[identity profile] thaddeusfavour.livejournal.com 2008-07-15 02:00 am (UTC)(link)
Lovely story sam. I have always enjoyed the myths and legends. As a young girl my head was filled with King Arthur, Roland, Siegfried and any others I could get my hands on. I bemoan the fact that it's so hard to find copies of Lord Dunsany's works, as he wrote the most wonderful legends for imaginary worlds and people.

So, I loved this story. And Jack's story. And I appreciate Ianto's assertion that King Arthur was created in Wales.
Edited 2008-07-15 02:00 (UTC)

[identity profile] altorogue.livejournal.com 2008-07-15 02:01 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, I LOVE seeing little bits and pieces of Jack's childhood coming through. This was simply lovely. And I enjoy the image of Jack translating Casanova to Ianto in bed; this is made even better by picturing David Tennant/Peter O'Toole's Casanova writing it!

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-07-15 03:17 am (UTC)(link)
I was tempted to put in a bit about Jack liking the miniseries because Casanova reminds him of someone, but desisted...

[identity profile] darthhellokitty.livejournal.com 2008-07-15 02:15 am (UTC)(link)
This is a complete delight. Look how domestic the words Ianto knows in Jack's language are: room, blanket, something to eat with, and finally yes. :-)

I could swear I've heard duthu before somewhere...

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-07-15 03:17 am (UTC)(link)
Yup, I chose domestic words on purpose; I figured they were the most likely places for Jack to slip up, though I suppose "gun" and "sex" would probably be likely ones as well.

(I have decided "gun" is Hab and "sex" is "Boai".)

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[identity profile] keestone.livejournal.com - 2008-07-15 18:36 (UTC) - Expand

LINGUISTICS GLEE!!

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[identity profile] lillianloop.livejournal.com 2008-07-15 02:33 am (UTC)(link)
Deeeeelightful. I love the idea that by no means is Jack's first language English, and it is so fundamentally Ianto to need to chronicle and keep this, for him, and for Jack.

Also, you know you've made horrible errors in your life when you laugh at jokes at the expense of Chretien de Troyes. (Totally worth it, though.) My Big Onion, indeed.

(Alright, I confess- I shamefully stole/borrowed that joke from Stealing Harry and you, but it once gave a roomful of bored kids in a Grail literature class a good laugh. (Which in a world with Charles Williams... needed.))

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-07-15 03:15 am (UTC)(link)
God, some of the Grail stories are so painfully dull. Especially the Cistercians. I took a class in the Matter of Britain once and loved it dearly, but dear god I was bored during some of it.

[identity profile] freak-thankyou.livejournal.com 2008-07-15 02:41 am (UTC)(link)
I love this fic. I love language. All of that made me happy, I'm a bit of a language geek. I love Jack translating and I love Ianto keeping up with Jack's language even more and the comparison of the languages. My absolute favorite thing about this story was that it just gives off comfort, with them being together during a thunderstorm telling stories about their past and it was perfect.

[identity profile] oraclepunkw1tch.livejournal.com 2008-07-15 02:48 am (UTC)(link)
I was just about to go to sleep (it's 3.45am in England) when a message came through from LJ saying a new fic had been posted!!!

I am quite happy I didn't go to sleep, and I read this, luckily it's only taken me 15 minutes...

This was wonderful, and I love all the language... I'm a sucker for foreign lanuage!

[identity profile] bluejeans07.livejournal.com 2008-07-15 02:49 am (UTC)(link)
I feel like there needs to be a thunderstorm so I can curl up under a blanket and read this fic. *snugglies!*

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-07-15 03:13 am (UTC)(link)
*offers duthu*

[identity profile] not-hathor.livejournal.com 2008-07-15 02:54 am (UTC)(link)
I fear I'm too new a reader to offer to bear your children (not that I could, having reached that certain time in the life of human females), but may I worship at your feet, o Bedlam bard, storyteller supreme, wordsmith of the Wyrd? You have managed with this piece of whimsey to touch almost every one of my academic/literary raves: folklore, fantasy, linguistics, slash, Arthurian studies, literary archetypes, cultural archetypes, mythology...

*sigh*

Thank you for failing to resist temptation, and sharing this delight with us!

Mary

(I need a Torchwoof icon --I almost corrected that typo, then thought, 'why not?' and changed my user pic appropriately!)

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-07-15 03:12 am (UTC)(link)
LOL, Torchwoof! :D

I'm glad you enjoyed it. I rather like the title Bedlam Bard...

[identity profile] peacefuldragon.livejournal.com 2008-07-15 02:54 am (UTC)(link)
Lovely story. Plus, now I know that Chinese isn't the only language that (frustratingly) has no exact word for yes! :D

[identity profile] laughingacademy.livejournal.com 2008-07-15 02:55 am (UTC)(link)
Fuck Chretien de Troyes, man

Jack probably beat us to it.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-07-15 03:12 am (UTC)(link)
From what we know of him it would require someone of Jack's persistence...

[identity profile] kalichan.livejournal.com 2008-07-15 02:58 am (UTC)(link)
Stories about stories are the best kind. And this is awesome. Thank you.

[identity profile] bobthemole.livejournal.com 2008-07-15 03:13 am (UTC)(link)
Please don't ever stop writing. You just keep getting better and better.

[identity profile] butterflykiki.livejournal.com 2008-07-15 03:25 am (UTC)(link)
*loves lots* I am a sucker for stories about languages. Stories with unknown words, and thunderstorms, and broken myths. And sure, snuggling. Love your lies, Sam. *g* I know you keep trying to quit fanfic, but I don't think it's gonna quit you...
marginaliana: Buddy the dog carries Bobo the toy (TW - Bitchy Lesbians)

[personal profile] marginaliana 2008-07-15 03:26 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, dictionary kink!! :D

I love the way you play with language as stories as something defining about each civilization. And the mood of curling up inside during the storm is marvelous - I almost feel like we're all sitting around in your hakti on a cool, wet night listening to you tell us your stories.

Have you ever thought about recording your own podfic? I've never been able to get into the medium, but I think that might partly have to do with my sense that for the ones I have listened to, it didn't feel like the reader really owned the material in the same way that I feel like a confident writer owns their work. You're so much a storyteller that I guess I'm thinking that would probably carry over.

Anyway. Just thinking aloud there, as it were. I loved this.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-07-15 03:22 pm (UTC)(link)
LOL! I suppose hakti is a good word for the cafe, even. Couches and cushions, jugs of beer, food, and a fireplace for the storms...

A few people have podded my fic, but I haven't got the setup to do it myself and reading aloud for that long is a bit tedious when you're doing the recording. Plus, I stammer. :)

I can see what you mean about readers not "owning" the work, but on the other hand I love to hear what people do with my writing, because then I know how others are thinking of it. It's a new twist to the story. I like it :)

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[personal profile] aunty_marion - 2008-07-15 23:45 (UTC) - Expand

[identity profile] satora-chan.livejournal.com 2008-07-15 03:30 am (UTC)(link)
Linguistics! dear god, I love you, Sam. In a completely fangirl obsessed fashion, but nonetheless.

Seriously, one day Ianto is just going to have a conversation with Jack in Jack's native language, and Jack won't realize it until ten minutes later.

I loved the domesticity of Jack and Ianto in this fic. And Jack's storytelling! Gorgeous.

Great job. Thank you for this :)

It's freeing; people go back to telling stories, putting on plays, making music.

And some of it's starting right here in your Cafe. Again, thank you.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-07-15 03:18 pm (UTC)(link)
I wanted to have Ianto say something to Jack in his own language, but I think actually Jack would find it distinctly upsetting. Not only is it a reminder of his past, but it's something that someone in the 21st century shouldn't know, and most frighteningly it means he's let his guard down.

I can see, at some point if Ianto survives long enough, Jack teaching him words in his language, but Ianto's too wise to let on to Jack that he's slipping :D

[identity profile] jbs-teeth.livejournal.com 2008-07-15 04:41 am (UTC)(link)
Tell me what your Jack thinks of Casanova. Is he someone Jack admires, wholeheartedly? I'm curious. I think the knee-jerk reaction would be to think so, but ... well, I'm curious.

And, as I mentioned to lifty, actually, I'm always interested in the portrayal of Ianto on an educational level; he's never been to university, per "Fragments," but there is a pervasive characterization that he's very well read. I'm interested in this, on many levels.

And, as always: Must you be so good? Don't you get tired of being fawned over? Another ridiculously good story from Sam... must be almost-Tuesday.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2008-07-15 03:15 pm (UTC)(link)
I don't know that I know enough about Casanova to form an opinion on what Jack would think of him, but I'll give it a go anyway: I think Jack would actually be a little dismayed by him. Casanova spent his whole life being who Jack used to be before he met the Doctor. Not so much a conman, but a sexual opportunist who let himself be ruled by what he wanted rather than by what he needed. For all Jack's flirtatiousness, he's reasonably reserved -- we see it most strongly in Fragments when he's standing there talking to this young hot guy who's obviously interested in him and there's not a hint of flirtatiousness in Jack, because he's busy with his job.

A lot of the portrayal of Ianto as well-read, I'm sure, is because of fanon pre-Fragments; he presents in the early episodes as such a thoroughly well-schooled person, manners-wise. And I think there is some merit to that, that's a true representation of his character, but he took it from somewhere different than University.

Obviously he was raised well; he's thoughtful, polite to strangers, and has good table-manners. He probably did very well in school, shoplifting and "drifting" notwithstanding. From various references -- mother never mentioned, father always in the past tense -- I've sort of built a little mythology that his mother died when he was young and his father died when he was a teen, possibly the same year he left school. That's the kind of thing that shakes you loose from your foundations and it'd certainly be a good reason to get the hell out of Cardiff for a while.

But Torchwood London isn't going to just pick up whoever drifts their way -- they want the best and brightest, so Ianto probably had the good marks to back up his intelligence in order to get in. There's no arguing that he's smart, and for at least two years he applied his brains in a research capacity, so it's reasonable to assume he's somewhat intellectual.

Er. Which I suppose is a long way of saying that in this fic, at least, what he knows has very little to do with post-secondary education :D His analytical skills are the product of training and intelligence, while his fluency in Welsh is a pretty natural result of living in Cardiff and his knowledge of Latin is not unusual given the educational standards in Great Britain.

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girlpearl: (at least they have each tother)

[personal profile] girlpearl 2008-07-15 05:09 am (UTC)(link)
The thing is, Sam, I'm not going to say that your stories are better than canon, but there are indisputably certain things that you do better than canon.

Like Jack.

I frequently finding myself watching the Doctor and thinking, "Oh, the poor lonely thing," but I never do that with Jack--despite the fact that he's several millenia and who the hell knows how many worlds away from everything and everyone he ever knew, that he is, even more so than the damn Doctor, truly one-of-a-kind now (i.e.: alone now).

But every time you write Jack & Ianto, you give me something--Ianto trying to catalog Jack's lost language, say--that kind of clobbers me over the head with it.

Subtle, maybe not, but it's so good.
girlpearl: Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann with text "Oops." (oops)

[personal profile] girlpearl 2008-07-15 05:12 am (UTC)(link)
...that... was not the icon I'd intended to use. I blame the keywords (at least they have each tother) and the fact I just spent ten minutes locked in frantic, fumey battle with the cockroach from HELL who simply refused to die, no matter how much Raid there was between us.

Anyway, Sam and Dean are kind of lonely, tragic figures with knowledge mortal man is not meant to possess, who are in the world but not of the world, and interact with normal human Earthlings in only the most transient, superficial ways, so maybe there is some connection there after all.

/crack

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jo02: scared-kitty (Default)

[personal profile] jo02 2008-07-15 05:15 am (UTC)(link)
Reading this story was like stepping into a dreamlike interlude. I had to blink my eyes several times to come back out to reality at the end.

It was lovely.

[identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/acquiescence_/ 2008-07-15 05:19 am (UTC)(link)
I've not read anything out of Torchwood before, but this was lovely. The characterizations especially, not to mention that it just flowed so well. It was excellent.

[identity profile] onyxtwilight.livejournal.com 2008-07-21 06:58 pm (UTC)(link)
Then (if I may express an opinion for a moment :-) you need to read back through this journal, because EVERYTHING Sam does with TW is this good. It's really quite phenomenal -- the only fic I actually subscribe to, to make sure I don't miss. And, I'd venture to estimate, 99% of the fic I read. I mostly don't bother with anyone else.

Effin' brilliant, Sam, as always. Part of me (most of me, really) wishes this journal were the canon from which the show is derived, rather than the other way 'round. It usually feels as if that's true, anyway.

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