14 April 2013 @ 11:15 pm
Fic: A Different Path (3/3) Complete.  
Title: A Different Path. (Part 3 of 3)
Characters/Pairings: Ianto/Lisa, 9th Doctor. (Past Doctor/Rose and
past Doctor/Jack/Rose implied. Brief mention of 8th Doctor and Fitz (from the books) that can be read as Doctor/Fitz if wanted.)
Fandom: Doctor Who/Torchwood. (AU from Parting of the Ways for Doctor Who)
Rating: R (see warning)
Word count: 2750 (this part of about 7k total)
Warning: Assisted suicide of minor canon character.
Summary: The Doctor had meant it to be a quick stop in Cardiff to refuel the TARDIS, then back out into time and space, alone once more after losing Rose to a parallel world. What he hadn't expected was to pick up the energy signature of an operational cyberconversion unit.  
A/N: Sorry for how late this is (and it is really, really late, I posted the other two parts in February last year) There might end up being more in this 'verse, but there aren't any definite plans at the moment.

Part one is here: http://the-silver-sun.livejournal.com/169749.html#cutid1
Part two is here: http://the-silver-sun.livejournal.com/172841.html#cutid1

The Doctor can see a thin sheen of sweat forming on Ianto's face as they walk through the TARDIS's winding corridors. Despite their almost painfully slow pace, Ianto is starting to wheeze with the effort of moving by the time they reach the room where Lisa is.

Ianto leans against the wall by the door, but makes no attempt to open it and go inside.

“You want to be alone?” the Doctor asks, caught between not wanting to let him wander around on his own and not wishing to intrude on his grief. He remembers the state he'd been in with the combined strains of his near regeneration and the loss of Jack. If it hadn't been for Rose he's not sure how long it would have taken him get back on his feet.

“Yes,” Ianto replies quickly, then frowns. “I mean no. I...” He stops and takes a shuddering breath, a look of pain crossing his face. “I don’t know.”

“How about I come in with you, and then I can go, if you want?”  

Ianto nods, then lets the Doctor open the door, before following him into the room.

Inside, Lisa is lying on a table, all the pieces of the cyberconversion stripped from her, a sheet pulled up so that only her face is visibly.

“She looks like she’s asleep”  Ianto's lip trembles as he touches the side of her cheek. “I just want her to wake up. I want her to tell me it's going to be okay. But she's not and it never will be. Her family should…” He chokes back a sob, tears streaming down his face as he turns to the Doctor. “I’m going to have to tell her mam.”

For once the Doctor finds himself lost for words. He knows that if Jackie hadn’t already been in Pete’s world he would have had to tell her that Rose wasn’t coming back. He would’ve had to, the Doctor tells himself, he would have owed it to Rose and he couldn’t have let Jackie go on wondering about her for the rest of her life, that would have been too cruel.

“I can’t do this.” Ianto starts to shake, his breathing getting more and more distressed. “I can’t. I can’t.”

“You don’t have to do anything right now, lad. Time don't mean owt out here.” The Doctor pats his back.

A racking sob shakes Ianto's too thin shoulders and he sways on his feet for a moment. Then his knees buckle and he collapses against the Doctor, clinging to him, burying his face against his leather jacket.

The grief and raw pain radiating off Ianto is all consuming and the Doctor firmly clamps down on his abilities to connect for fear of becoming overwhelmed himself.

“Come on,” the Doctor says as he pulls Ianto's arm about his shoulders. “Time to lie down before you fall down.”

The sobs have subsided to wheezing hiccups interspersed with bouts of coughing and mumbled incoherent apologies by the time they reach his room and Ianto is shaking so badly that he is barely managing to walk even with the Doctor's help.

Ianto doesn't object when the Doctor lifts him into bed and pulls the covers tight about him. Instead just turning his face against the pillow to muffle coughs and tears alike.

Knowing there's nothing more he can do, the Doctor sits down next to the bed, staying with him until Ianto finally falls into an exhausted sleep.


“You worked for Torchwood, so I suppose you know I can travel in time, but you've not asked me to take you back and save her? Why?” the Doctor asks a couple of mornings later once Ianto seems a little stronger. Physically at least, thanks to the Zero Room. He can't delay this question any longer though, it wouldn't right letting Ianto believe that there was something he could do about what happened or worse Ianto thinking that he wasn't helping him even though he could. That sort of thing lead to people doing desperate, stupid things like stealing a TARDIS. He knew. Once he'd been that desperate, stupid young man, albeit for different reason.

“Because you can't.” Ianto stares dejectedly at the tea and toast that the Doctor has brought him. “If you could, you have saved the woman who was with you.  If there was any way at all to go back there and change things, no matter how dangerous, you have done it by now.”

“How do you know about Rose?” the Doctor asks sharply.

“Was that her name?” Ianto asks, shrinking back a little at the Doctor's intensity. “We knew you weren't alone, you never seem to travel alone. There were rumours afterwards that your companion had been lost, but I really don't know anything more.”

The Doctor sighs, he knows his current appearance isn't one of the most approachable he's ever had, but he'd not meant to make him feel threatened. “Not your fault. I doubt you were the one who had the idea to muck about pulling holes in the fabric of time for no good readon. She got pulled thought the void, into another world. Cut off forever.”

“I'm sorry. I'm right though, aren't I? There's no way to fix this. Any of this.” Ianto picks up a piece of toast then puts it back down untouched. “You don’t seem like the kind of person who gives up very easily, not if there's any hope at all.”
“There's always hope,” the Doctor says, finding with some surprise that he actually means it.

“Not for me,” Ianto says softly, pushing the tray away. “There's nothing left for me. Lisa was all I had in the world. I told you that. It's not going to get any better”

“Well it won't if you don't eat.” The Doctor pushes the tray back towards him.

“Why?” Ianto looks at him hollow eyed. “Why bother? It all just feels so pointless.”
Time to try a different tactic then, the Doctor decides, hoping that it won't prove too much too soon or too cruel. “Because if you don't you're not going to be in a fit state to go and tell Lisa's mother what happened. You did say you needed to do that, didn't you?”

Ianto looks for a moment like he's either going to cry or be sick. Then carefully and deliberately he picks up a piece of toast and starts to eat.

It's a start, the Doctor decides, as he waits for Ianto finish his first slice. Only once Ianto has started on a second piece and drunk some of the tea, does the Doctor say, “You don't have to do it alone though, unless it's what you really want.”

Ianto swallows hard, the food seeming to stick in his throat for a moment, then he nods, mute thanks in his eyes.

“Right then. You finish that up.” The Doctor nods towards the plate and the remaining piece of toast. “Then I'll help you find yourself some clothes and then we can start to get things sorted out.”

A little later in the room containing the jumble that is best described, the Doctor supposes, as the TARDIS wardrobe, Ianto looks around at the rows and rows of clothes. A multi-coloured patchwork coat here, a set of cricketing whites there, a purple crushed velvet suit hanging up with long, hand knitted scarf next to a woman's air hostess uniform from the . Surprised by the variety of what was there he turns to the Doctor as if he's about to ask a question, then seems to think better of it and shrugs instead and continues looking.

Eventually he chooses some t-shirts, a jumper, jeans and a pale tan coloured leather jacket, and the Doctor turns his back so that Ianto can get changed.

Ianto doesn't ask where all the clothes come from and the Doctor doesn't volunteer the information. The t-shirt and coat had belonged to Jack and it seems that barely any time has past since he wore them during their brief visit to Cardiff to deal with the Slitheen. While the jeans and jumper had belonged to Fitz, just two of the many things he'd left behind during the long years that they'd lived to together in the TARDIS during the last great Time War.

The Doctor thinks Fitz would have got on well with Ianto, both young men who'd seen more than their fair share of tragedy, Fitz had always had the uncanny knack of making people look on the bright side of things. And Jack, he thinks with a sad smile, would have probably made as pass at him by now, if only to try and cheer him up.

He lets out a slow breath, he misses them so much that actually hurt. Fitz, Jack and Rose. His last three companions. All lost to him one way or another. He's failed them. Well he's not about to let that happen again, not when he'd promised Lisa that he'd keep Ianto safe. 

He smiles at Ianto and pats him on the back. "Right then, let find you a phone.”  

A few modifications later and it will call just about wherever and whenever Ianto needs it to. He stay with him the first couple of times he uses it, just to make sure he doesn't do anything stupid like phone his past self to say not to go in to work on the day the Cyberman attacked.

It would be easy to take charge and sort it all out himself, quicker certainly and seeing how distressed some of phone calls made Ianto, part of him thinks it would be kinder too. But he doesn't. As he suspects that this is part of the process of letting go for Ianto, that as painful as it is he needs to do it.

It's easy to provide him with a hotel room for as long as he needs and some clothes. Ianto had politely refused to take any money, saying he'd got enough to cover anything that he might need.  
Considering he'd been half starved and sleeping on the floor of a garage when he'd found him the Doctor doubted it and added fully catered to the hotel reservation. Whether Ianto would bother to eat any of it was another matter, but at least he would feel as if he'd tried. 

With everything arranged and Lisa's body moved to a funeral home with covering paperwork that said she'd died in a car crash, the Doctor takes Ianto back to London.

“I'll come back in a few days,” the Doctor says, wondering why goodbyes like this are always so awkward. With permanent ones you could be as sad as you liked and with temporary ones you didn't need to do much. No, it was in between ones like this take made him feel that he might have got it wrong somehow.

“If you want to,” Ianto says shivering in the light breeze blowing down the quiet street at the side of the hotel where the TARDIS was parked. He picks up his bag and turns to go. Then stops and puts it down. “I should say thank you,” he says holding out his hand. “Just in case this really is goodbye.”

The Doctor shakes it, although he's tempted to hug him, because honestly the lad looks like he needs it.

“You've been good to me. Far better than I deserved. I can't have been easy to deal with.” Ianto's staring down at the pavement rather than at the Doctor. “Torchwood was wrong about you. And so was I.” He stops and looks back at the Doctor. “If we don't meet again, good luck and stay safe.”

“You too, lad.” He pats Ianto on the shoulder. “You too.”

The Doctor watches from a distance to make sure Ianto get into the hotel safely and takes the TARDIS back out into the vortex.
The TARDIS feels empty again and after an hour or two of tinkering around with one of the circuits under the central console, the Doctor climbs out and says, “You miss him, don't you?”

The lights on the console dim, then flicker back to their normal brightness.

“Not much point just sitting about really, is there?” He runs his hands over the controls. “It's not like we're stuck on the slow path. I suppose you want to go and pick him up?”

The lights flickers again and something mechanical whirs softly.

“I thought so.” He pulls a leaver then presses a series of buttons. “You know he might not want to come with us.”

Another light flickers and the Doctor is sure that the TARDIS is telling him not to be so silly. He considers telling the TARDIS that he's not going not going to ask Ianto to stay, that he's just going to make sure he's all right. But he doesn't, because while taking him with him is probably the worse idea he's had recently.  He hates the idea of leaving him behind all on his own when he so clearly still needs somebody, even if it's only to remind him to get up in the morning and actually eat something.

The fact that he's found Ianto to be good company in the moments when grief wasn't overwhelming him and that he's got used to the idea of having somebody else travelling with him again, has nothing to do with it, the Doctor tells himself. He's not lonely, he really isn't.

The TARDIS materialises underneath the spreading branches of huge, ancient yew tree. Unseen by the small congregation outside, the Doctor stands in the doorway of the TARDIS, looking out at the rain washed churchyard.

Dressed in a plain black suit and tie, Ianto looks thin, tired and close to tears as he stands at the graveside, talking quietly first with the vicar and then with a woman who the Doctor suspects is Lisa’s mother.

He's too far away to hear what they are saying, but he sees Ianto nod and then hang his head, as the woman puts a hand on his arm.

Slowly the people there all move away, until Ianto and Lisa's mother are the only people that remain. Dropping her umbrella, she hugs him tightly, and then she is gone also.

Standing alone at the graveside, Ianto seems to sway in the stiff breeze that is blowing. He remains like that as the rain increases and the wind grows stronger, until the storm dark sky overhead is split with lightening, then he drops to his knees, hands covering his face.
Watching and waiting, the Doctor has almost decided to go over to him when Ianto gets to his feet, and slowly walks towards the TARDIS.
Stopping in front of him, his suit dripping with rain, trousers soaked through with mud, Ianto looks as pitiable a sight as the Doctor has ever seen.

“How long have you been here?” Ianto asks, reaching him.

“Not long. You done then?” the Doctor asks. It's not the most sympathetic thing he could say, not even close, but he suspects that Ianto has had enough of people asking him if he's all right and how he's coping.

Ianto nods, the movement sending droplets of rain splashing on to the Doctor.

“What will you do now?”

“I don’t know. I’ve got no home, no job, nobody waiting for me. I…” Ianto's voice wavers, and he glances back at the low mound of earth. “I don’t know what to do.”

 “Well.” The Doctor tries to sound casual. “I suppose you could come with me, I think the old girl got used to having you around. You seem like you’re pretty handy with tech from what I saw – so what do you say?”
“I might not be the best company,” Ianto says doubtfully, but moves closer to the TARDIS.

“I wouldn’t worry about that.” The Doctor smiles, and then steps back from door so Ianto can step inside. “Neither am I.”

Ianto nods, but doesn't speak. And after one final look back at Lisa's grave, he follows the Doctor into the TARDIS.
The doors close behind them and a few minutes later the wheezing grate and groan of the time rotas spinning fills the air as the TARDIS' engines spark into life. It flickers for a moment, the wind rushing swirling eddies of leaves around it, then it's gone and the churchyard is left deserted.


So that's it, the Doctor and Ianto are off travelling and having adventure in time and space. I might end up writing more in this verse one day if I get an idea for a Doctor Who type episode storyline, but until then I've got a load of other fic ideas to write.
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sammydragoncat[personal profile] sammydragoncat on April 15th, 2013 12:34 am (UTC)
Loved it - the travel will be good for Ianto
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jo02[personal profile] jo02 on May 16th, 2013 09:16 am (UTC)

This was such a great story - well worth the long wait for the final part :)
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