Pairing/character: Jack, Ianto
Summary: During the Year that Never Was, Ianto makes a discovery
Warnings: spoilers for KKBB and the Doctor Who episodes involving the Year that Never Was
Disclaimer: I do not own, or make any money from the use of, these characters.
A/N: I'm making another attempt at cleaning out files and finishing some of the half written stuff.
Sometimes, when the cries and screams became too much and he could not watch anymore, he would turn off the external monitors and pretend the world had not become a living hell. He would pretend that he was not alone, that Jack had never left, and the others had never disappeared in the Himalayas.
Sometimes, when the loneliness and the quiet were overwhelming, he would go down to the vaults and talk to those who had known. Lisa, Annie, even Suzie. He had set aside drawers for the others--for Owen, Tosh, and Gwen, hoping that one day they might be found and brought home. He had set aside a drawer for himself and, morbidly, sometimes slept there, wondering if the oblivion of cryogenic freeze was preferable to surviving on his own.
Sometimes, he considered that there were those stored in the drawers who had been kept because they would be useful in the future. He wondered how Tommy would ever fulfill his mission if the entire city was already reduced to rubble. On the bad days, Ianto considered waking Tommy just to have some company, but in the end, he could not bring himself to do something that unbearably cruel.
Some time, nearly nine months after the end of the world as he had known it, Ianto heard a distinct knocking coming from one of the drawers. Gun drawn and fearing for his own sanity, Ianto opened the drawer and came close to firing out of sheer rage.
“The others are all dead, the world was destroyed, and you’re down here catching up on your beauty sleep?” he spat.
“Ianto,” Jack said sitting up. “Am I’m too late? Was Grey already here?”
“Who the bloody hell is Grey?”
“My brother. He coerced John Hart into bombing the city and kidnapping me.”
“Never heard of Grey or John Hart. I’m talking about Saxon, or the Master, or whatever he’s calling himself now.”
“Saxon? What year is it?”
“It’s been nine months since you swanned off without a word. Nine months since the Toclafane came and enslaved the human race. Nine months since Tosh, Owen, and Gwen got themselves killed and I locked down the Hub. Nine months that I’ve been trapped here alone, knowing everyone I’ve ever loved is dead.”
“Oh, Ianto,” Jack said, moving to embrace Ianto. “This wasn’t meant to happen. Well, it was, but you weren’t meant to remember it. In three months, time is going to rewind and the last nine months--it’ll be like they never happened. You won’t remember any of this. Tosh, Owen, and Gwen will still be alive, I’ll come back.”
“And how could you possibly know that?”
“I’m from the future. Your future. I was put in here so that I could wake up in time to save the day, nine months after time resets. I just… woke up in the wrong timeline.”
“I think I must be going mad. I’ve been alone down here too long.”
“No, Ianto. You’re as sane as anyone in Torchwood can be. What I’m telling you is the truth, this will work out. I’m even going to ask you out on a proper date when I come back.”
“Now I know I’m going mad.”
“You’re going to say yes.”
“If what you say is true-- and I still haven’t ruled out the possibility that this is a psychotic break--what do we do for the next three months? You know, since I’m not going to remember them anyway.”
“Well, I can think of a few things to keep us busy,” Jack said with a grin. Ianto rolled his eyes. “And we should see what we can do to help. Find Martha Jones, research the Archangel Network, find anything in the archives that could help boost a psychic signal. Martha said she had help from anonymous sources, maybe we’re one of those.”
“Martha Jones? How can you know about Martha Jones if this timeline resets and no one remembers it?”
“I said you wouldn’t remember it. In my personal timeline, I remember this year.”
“Where are you? The you that lived through this?”
“I’m…I’m on board the Valiant. The Master held me captive, tortured me…”
"Then we have to go and rescue you. We can’t leave you there.”
“We have to leave me there, Ianto. I wasn’t rescued and we can’t change that. It already happened, so it has to happen and if we mess with that, time might not reset. All of this wouldn’t be undone, everyone would still be dead.”
Sometimes, Ianto wonders if he was insane to begin with. If everything in his life had been one delusion after another. If just remembering something was proof enough that it had happened, if alternate timelines ceased to exist even if they were remembered.
Sometimes, he wonders if he would have preferred a simpler life. If life would have made more sense if he had just continued to drift, or if he would have known something was missing.
And sometimes, Ianto just tries to remember that this is Torchwood and stranger things have happened.