19 May 2015 @ 04:23 pm
Fic: Last of the Rift Born (6/12)  
Title: Last of the Rift Born (6/12)
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: http://the-silver-sun.livejournal.com/247907.html#cutid1






Of all the locations that he could have ended up with as his place in the Rift the House of the Dead hadn't featured in his top ten or to be honest at all. Why couldn't it have been somewhere like his flat back in Cardiff or Jack's office in the Hub? Even his childhood home or the tiny apartment he'd shared with Lisa in London would have been better. At least they had more good memories than bad.

“Really?” Ianto said to the deserted bar, irritation growing. “This is what I get as my place in the Rift?" It wasn't fair. Why the hell had he ended up with this place in all it dilapidated, unhappy memory inducing glory? Yet it wasn't exactly the same as it had been when he'd first seen it, he realised. It was empty; the Siriath and the few other people that had been there were gone. It was something to be thankful for he supposed. The damage from the Rift collapsing was repaired as well or perhaps just never happened in this version.

It made sense in a twisted kind of way, he supposed, although he still didn't particularly like it. It had been the place where he'd found out he was dead. Amaranth had said her place was where she'd realised she'd died. So was that what every Rift Born got? The place where they finally figured out they shuffled off their mortal coil and become something that probably shouldn't exist. Or had he ended up with this place because Amaranth had placed the idea there?

Whatever the reason was it there was nothing to be gained from being pissed off about it or trying to apportion blame. He'd just have to get on with it. No change there then, he thought, as he looked around at what might end up being his home for some time.

Closer inspection revealed that what he actually had was only part of a rundown pub. There was no access to the outside or upstairs as there were no doors, apart from the one labeled WC. The one through which Jack had left, back to Cardiff and the 21st century was gone, as was the one through which the explosion had thrown him. What remained was a faint outline of where they had been, the plaster on the wall slightly less yellowed with age than the rest of the wall. There weren't any windows either, yet there didn't seem to be an issue with running out of air.

All there was was the bar, the small room, barely bigger than a cupboard that was behind it, and behind the door marked WC the toilets. How the toilets flushed, why there was water in the taps or where the electricity that ran the lights, fridge and mircowave came from he had no idea, but he was grateful that it did, especially if he was going to have to spend any length of time here. There wasn't much in the way of food, just the usual bar snacks of crisps and peanuts, and although the pumps for the beer didn't work there was still cans and bottles of soft drinks and tonic water and the bottles of spirits in their optics were behind the bar. There were still some bar snacks, mainly crisps and little bags of peanuts, but not enough to eat in the long term, but hopefully enough to stop him getting too hungry until he worked out how to travel somewhere else.

Somehow, even with spending most of working life employed by Torchwood, he'd never imagined that he'd end up some odd new variety of the undead with an inter-dimensional pub or should that be extra-dimensional? Was the House of the Dead inside the Rift, and if it was what else might be? Diane in the Sky Gypsy? Another Abbadon? If the room occupied a physical space and time could it be found by other people?

There were too many ideas, too many questions without adequate answers and too many fears running round his head. He needed to order them, to make them into things that could be used or discarded as irrelevant.

There was a notepad and a pen behind the bar. The first couple of pages where filled with looked like a restock list for the drinks and snacks, and a note to remind the cleaner that the soap dispenser in the gents toilet was broken again. He wondered if it had been there when the House of the Dead had been a real pub or if it had somehow been created when the echo of the pub was created to make the place seem more realistic. Whichever it was he decided it didn't really matter and he tore the used pages out and dumped them in the bin under the counter.

It wasn't a great notepad, cheap flimsy paper and a garish orange plastic cover. A good third of the pages were already gone, but he felt better writing things down, like they made more sense that way and were easier to deal with. It was one of the reasons he'd kept a diary, the other had been the knowledge of Retcon. He wondered what had become of his old diary, had he left it at home as a guard against his most private thoughts being read? Had Jack kept it? or was it in a lock up like all the others who'd suffered death by Torchwood.

The idea of anybody reading it, even now when he was technically dead, bothered him. Would what he'd written change how they saw him? Did it actually matter that finally they would see him as something closer to the person he really was than what he'd carefully projected to the world? That putting the fear and anger and bitterness into those pages had allowed him seem either bland or unflappable as the situation required? In the end he hoped that if anybody had got it and had read his hopes and thoughts and dreams then it would have been Jack, and that he might have got a little bit of comfort from knowing that he had loved him and that their time together had for the most part been what he'd wanted it to be.

The first couple of pages were rapidly filled with what Amaranth had told him about the Rift Born. The next page became a list of those she'd mentioned by name. Then a page that was split between what he knew about his new not really dead form and what he still needed to find out.

Ianto turned another page and wrote at the top of it How to travel in the Rift. He looked at it for a moment and then crossed it out, replacing it with How did I die?

He looked at that for even longer and at the bar, where the optics of spirits on the wall offered the only comfort from the depressing reality of his situation. Drink was as much a part of life in Wales as coal, rugby or singing, and his family and life had been no different. Cheap alcopops or cider drunk after dark in the playground just off the council estate where he'd spent his teenage years, pints with the lads to celebrate or commiserate after rugby, drinking wine with Lisa and feeling he was actually the sophisticated adult that he wanted to project to the world. His throat felt tight and he lied to himself it was just thirst. Drinks with Jack, late at night in his office, whether the day had been good or bad. Comfort, friendship and a level of openness that he had seldom allowed with anyone. Jack understood personal demons all too well, of how you could spend half your life lying to everybody, including yourself, just to make it through the day. And if afterwards he'd not gone home, if he'd woken in the cramped room under the office with Jack pressed against him, it had been nobody's business bar their own.

Memories of Jack and a nostalgia that might have been as much wishful thinking as real memory drove his choice, and he retreated back to the corner seat with glass and one of the bottles of whiskey.

There wasn't much to write in the way of facts. First victim of an alien plague. It left so many questions that he couldn't answer or was afraid to consider too deeply. Like who else had died? Was it this that Jack had been referencing when he'd claimed the 21st century was when everything changed?

Change could be good, Ianto tried to tell himself. Maybe there had been some benevolent aliens who had arrived and saved lots of people and the general population of Earth had found it wasn't alone in the vastness of space. It felt like a lie, there was nothing to support it. Worse than that there was more than enough evidence to doubt any positive outcome. Jack would not have been seeking the end he had unless things had gone terribly, perhaps irrevocably, wrong back on Earth.

It made him feel sick to imagine what nightmare scenario could have driven Jack to the House of the Dead. Jack who'd survived so much, who had suffered more than anybody should ever do and who had known with absolute certainty that his future would always contain the loss of all those he loved, but who still chose live and love because it was what made eternity bearable at least some of the time. What horror had could have finally broken his spirit?

More than his own loss, Ianto was certain. He needed to believe that, that it wasn't his fault. He poured himself another glass. Somehow, some way he'd make things right, he told himself. Amaranth had said he'd got power and that time wasn't always quite as fixed as it would appear to be. If there was a way to put things right, he'd find it, and he'd save Jack, just as he'd been saved.

They could have forever. He smiled into his glass and then raised it in a toast to the idea. Objectivity over matters of love had never been his strong suit, but he owed it to Jack to do all he could to help him. He'd let him down in the past, let himself be fooled. He finished the glass and poured another. He wouldn't get tricked again, not by anybody. He was wiser now, he was sure of it, and he was almost positive that that was his own opinion and not the buzz of overconfidence from neat spirits on an empty stomach.

The fact was Jack was a survivor and in his own way so was he. He wasn't going to let this beat him. He'd faced worse odds. He had escaped a background that had suggested future of mediocrity and minimum pay interspersed with unemployment to get a well paid job in the heart of London's business district. He'd lived when so many of his friends and colleagues hadn't. He'd survived a few years at Torchwood Three, despite all that it had thrown at him. Not even having the Hub blow up around him hadn't finished him off.

The drink caught in his throat, burning as it seemed to go down the wrong way. Where had that memory come from? Because it was definitely a memory, it was there as a bright and painful as dozens of other that were definitely real. He closed his eyes trying half eager half fearful for more of it. Panic, Jack pushing him onto the invisible lift, a frantic kiss, flames, twisted metal, shooting.

Opening his eyes, the room seemed to waver around him, blurring and for a moment and Ianto realised that he'd drunk more than he'd intended to. Had he? If he'd just wanted not to be thirsty he'd have chosen one of the bottles of juice or tonic water.

He flicked through the notepad and then in the section about what he knew about being Rift Born he wrote - I can still get drunk. It didn't look right to leave it there alone, so Ianto added bullet points beneath it. Will I get a hangover? Alcohol poisoning y/n? Other poisons? Should I test?

The last one didn't seem like a good idea, so he crossed it out. If he was at the stage of drunk where stupid ideas seemed viable, even if for just a minute or two then he was sure had a problem. Better to go to the point of too drunk to do the stupid thing and then sleep it off. It sounded almost sensible, so he went with it.

Another glass emptied, Ianto crossed his arms on the tabletop, rested his head against them and closed his eyes. He just needed a short rest, he told himself, and then he'd start looking for answers.

TBC

Sorry about the delay, not abandoning this or running out of ideas. It's been/continuing to be hectic at work with a merger and a building move, plus i've an up coming visit to relations who live at the other end of the county and don't have internet. I looks like being one part a week for a while rather than two as writing time is very limited current and is likely to be for about the next 4 weeks.

A/N. The WC on the door is a common, if rather old fashioned (and it is an old pub) abbreviation for Water Closet, aka the toilet.