silver_sun: (silver sun)
silver_sun ([personal profile] silver_sun) wrote on May 3rd, 2015 at 11:18 pm
Fic: Last of the Rift Born (5/12)
Title: Last of the Rift Born (5/12)
Rating: Adult over all – this part PG.
Word count: This part 2000. Total will be around 20k.
Pairing. Jack/Ianto, other original alien characters as and when needed for plot.
Contains: Mention of canon character death (Ianto – but this is a fix-it fic, so not permanent) and temporary Jack death in later part.

Summary: Alone in the House of the Dead Ianto has a choice to make. The result of which will change his life forever. (Set directly after Jack leaves in House of the Dead radio play.)

Starts here:

“We all feel the Rift,” Amaranth said, once she'd finished her meal. “It comes to us in different ways. Some step through with ease while others return only rarely. Some feel the tides of time so strongly they can travel wherever and whenever they please as easily as you or I might cross a room. Other struggle to feel it, although all with practice can master it in the end.”

“You're sure about that?” Ianto asked, latching on to the one truly hopeful thing he's so far heard.

“As sure as I am about anything. It took me long years to discover how to travel the spaces between the worlds.”

Years didn't sound good at all. Because although he might be able to get back to Jack without having too much time passing from Jack’s point of view it could still years for himself.

“Many call it the time-stream” Amaranth continued as she gathered up the bowls. “But I've always thought that time ocean would be more apt. There are ripples and currents in it, and there's depth too. The centre of the universe is where time is deepest, while time that is only just beginning is as shallow at the incoming tide out at the further edges where the universe is still expanding.”

It made sense in a strange kind of way and Ianto nodded. Abstractly he knew the universe was supposed to growing outwards since the big bang, but that was about the extent of it; it wasn't something that he'd needed to know. The fact was, despite his previous claims of knowing everything, much of his knowledge was superficial and had been acquired with the sole aim of impressing somebody to get something from them, whether that was a job, a promotion or even a date. Technology and how to make it work had been one of the few things that he'd had either an interest or an aptitude in even before what had happened to Lisa.

Amaranth seemed to take his silence as a willingness to listen and continues. “So when you are looking for a specific time and place you need to feel for the distance of the place and for its depth in time. And then, if you are one of the lucky few you'll be able to open a tear to wherever you want and just step through.”

It was far too vague and he said,“And if I can't, what do I do then, just sit here forever?”

“No, but you'll have to do what most of the rest of us do,” she said, adding a little more wood from a still invisible pile to the fire. “We go and sit in the Rift and wait for something to open near to where we want to go. It's easier to give it a little push in the right direction then, just to get it a little closer.”

It wasn't a perfect solution, but he supposed it at least it gave him another option until he learnt how to do it better or found some technology that could. After a moment he asked,“Are you sure the Rift is still there for me to sit in? I did break it.”

She shook her head, amused like she were explaining child. “You closed a tiny part of it. The rest, the great space between times, that remains. Each of us Rift Born have a place that we can to return to. It's not a real place, just an echo of it, a bubble in the Rift where we can wait for a tear in safety. For me it is the woodland clearing where I first realised that I was no longer of the mortal world. For you who knows, but it will mean something to you when you find it.”

“But how do I get there?” Ianto asked, beginning to feel like he was starting to go round in circles with the answers he was being given. Did people like setting him up to fail or something, he thought irritably, although knowing that for the most part that wasn't exactly true or even fair, often they knew as much as he did or he'd been unwilling to ask for more information out of the fear they'd realise that he'd been winging it until then. “And please don't tell me it's different for everyone.”

“You have to imagine the Rift opening. We are not as we once were, we are as much thought as flesh. You have will it to happen,” she said, sounding like it sound have been obvious. “It's hard at first, but don't give up, because it will get easier. It's the same for feeling for the depth of time and space once you're in there. It all comes down to practice.”

It wasn't the answer he'd wanted, so he decided to change tack, just incase Amaranth had been trying to trick him. Not likely he knew, but his experience with aliens hadn't exactly been good up until now. Admittedly Amaranth wasn't actually an alien, but then there had been a lot of people in his life that he'd have been better off not trusting. “Could you find a person in the same way?” Ianto asked, knowing that Jack might not have stayed in Cardiff after all that had happened.

“I don't see why not,” Amaranth replied. “If you know when they lived and what sort of places they'd most likely go to then it could work.”

“And if you didn't know where and when they were?” he asked evasively.

She gave him a curious look. “You mean the unchanging one, don't you.”

Ianto paused for a moment, and then decided that there really wasn't anything to be gained by being vague about it and said, “Yes. He means at lot to me and I have to find him.”

“Then you will,” she replied with a finality that Ianto knew meant that she didn't have anything more to add on the subject even if he ask her all night.

It didn't mean that it wasn't disappointing, and he couldn't keep the annoyance from his voice when he said, “So what do I do now?”

“Now you sleep by the fire,” Amaranth said, choosing to ignore his tone of voice. She stood up, her body shimmering and morphing from one form to another in the same way her face had. “In the morning you will return to the Rift. You will learn to feel the rise and fall of the tides of time. So above all hold tight to hope. You have all of time to find your man, and remember all things are possible given enough time.”

Ianto nodded, weariness suddenly getting the better of him. “Will you stay?” he asked, his eyes starting to close.

“No. It is time for me to continue on my way. I have a life outside of this place, a family. Perhaps our paths may cross again, perhaps not.” She smiled at him and stepped out of the edge of the firelight and was gone.

Ianto blinked, his mind fuzzy with tiredness. Part of him wanted to try to follow her or call her back and get her to explain how she'd disappeared. There wasn't a way of doing either of those things, and feeling too exhausted to attempt to try to open the Rift yet by himself, Ianto decided to take her advice and lay down to sleep.


Ianto woke to bright sunlight, the first of the world's two suns already well above the horizon and the temperature already starting to climb. There was no sign of Amaranth, the only thing to indicate that she had been there at all were the remains of the campfire and a jug of water.

Grateful that he had been left something to drink, Ianto stayed by the burnt out fire and tried to plan what he should do next. Amaranth had said that there should be one place that that it would be easiest to return to he just had to feel it. As instructions went they were far from ideal , but there was no sense in delaying trying, Ianto decided, as the water wouldn't last long and he soon be too hot and hungry to concentrate on anything.

How should he start? Would trying the basic psychic training that he'd received at Torchwood One, even though he'd barely scraped through the test? His instructor had told him it was down to his own reluctance to let anyone or anything in rather than it being down to lack of talent. He hadn't been sure if she'd just been trying to be nice or not. He did have problems trusting people, it wasn't something he liked to admit, but it was true none the less.

However, it was doubtful many or maybe even any of the other Rift Born had had that kind of training, and they had managed fine without, so perhaps it wasn't the right way to approach it. Perhaps it would be better if he tried one of the relaxation or self-hypnosis routines that he'd turned to in desperation after everything that had happened with the fall of Torchwood One, Lisa and nearly being eaten. Whether they'd helped or if it was just Jack's increasing interest in him that had helped pull him through those nightmare months, Ianto wasn't sure. Eventually he'd started sleeping better and the future became something that held hopes and dreams again rather than stomach churning fear and the bleak certainty of death. Or it had until Owen and Tosh had died and everything had started to fall apart again.

Closing his eyes he ran through all he knew about the Rift. How it's previously anchored end had been located in Cardiff, about all the points that they knew that it had opened into, the type of energy readings that they'd detected both on its opening and closing and Tosh's equations that he'd helped her program into the mainframe although he'd only understood a fraction of it.

None of it produced any feeling of connection with the Rift, and after half an hour and with the beginnings of a headache starting to throb dully behind his eyes, Ianto wanted to yell at the apparent futility of trying to think himself into the Rift. Knowing that that would accomplish nothing, he decided to try something else. Maybe if he thought about how the Rift felt he'd get a better grasp of it.

There was always a feeling of static electricity about the Rift, a prickle down your spine, something that raised the hairs on the back of your neck and goosebumps down your arms. It was why so many of the old Rift openings had been reported as ghosts. There was the scent of ozone too. Something sharper than the background tang of the sea and more like a massive lightning strike. And finally there was light. Sometimes blue and cold, sometimes warm and golden, but always brilliant in its intensity. Did the colours mean anything? Blue for forwards in time and gold for back? Or did the colour depend on temporal proximity, one colour for close and another for distant? Or maybe it was connected to how close the spatial location was.

Hot and dispirited, Ianto sighed and opened his eyes. There were too many variables and it felt ridiculous to try to picture the Rift and expect it to be there when you opened your eyes. The sun had climbed higher while he'd been trying to open the Rift, the patch of shade he'd been sitting in reduced to almost nothing, while low on the horizon the worlds second sun was just starting to rise.

“Come on,” he muttered to himself. “You can do this. You've got to do this.”

It didn't seem to work, nothing did. Not picturing it, not thinking about the admittedly poorly understood mechanics of it, and not yelling in frustration and throwing the now empty water jug as far as he could when he couldn't think of anything else to try.

There was nothing else left to do other than try a different location, so he left the shelter of the rocks. The heat was fiercer than he had remembered, and he was wondering if he should wait until evening before trying somewhere else when something caught his eye.

The air over the outcrop seemed to shimmer, and at first Ianto wasn't sure whether it was just a heat haze rising from the rocks. However the more he looked at it the more regular in shape seemed to become, until finally it formed a square of distorted, rippling space.

There wasn't anything to be lost by investigating it, he decided, and Ianto began to climb. As he did the square began to lose its regularity, its edges becoming fuzzy and indistinct once more. Stopping he clung to the rocks as best as he could and still keep the square in view.

After focusing on it for a couple of minutes it regained its previous well defined shape. Whether he really was controlling it or if it was a combination of desperation and imminent heatstroke he didn't know.

Wherever it took him it had to be better than a barren desert, and closing his eyes Ianto stepped through the shimmering air and back into the House of the Dead.

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