Hello there, and welcome to the Fourteen series! Don't worry if the chapter count seems a little intimidating at first, they're divided up into episodes of between 15 and 20 chapters each. All positive reviews so far (don't be afraid to flame or crit!), so hopefully you're all enjoying it. When I'm not on holiday, the fic is updated daily at 9pm.
The Fourteen series is an Alternative Universe that begins by rewriting the 5th episode of Children of Earth - that's the original 'episode' of the series, simply called Fourteen, in which Ianto survives. From then on, the series continues with a new Torchwood team including Lois, Anna (Agent Johnson) and Andy.
Hopefully you'll stick around to read it, give it a chance, and maybe even leave me some nice reviews!
The room is incredibly quiet. Large, and quiet, and unfamiliar. He doesn't know where he is. For the first few moments, he knows nothing at all. Then, slowly but surely, he begins to piece the fragments together.
He is lying in a bag. Thin, red, with a zipper. A sleeping bag. But he isn't outside. He can see the vague form of a roof above him. The revelation hits him like a ton of bricks that he's in too numb a state to properly feel. A body bag. He's lying in a body bag.
His muscles are stiff, and he's unsure how long he's been lying there. It takes more than one attempt before he manages to sit up. When he does, he forgets to breathe. The room is filled with countless other bags, lined up in neat rows across the entire floor.
Breath still caught in his throat, he turns to the bag beside him and slowly begins pulling down the zipper. An involuntary gasp reminds him that breathing is necessary, but for a few moments he finds he has to consciously will himself to do so. His body is still too numb to move of its own volition.
His hand rests on the zipper as he stares at the unseeing face before him. Even before he touches it - and he feels as though he needs to touch it, to make sure - he can tell the woman is dead. His fingers burn against her icy skin, the contrast in temperature eliciting another juddering gasp from his lips.
He feels compelled to pull the zipper back, to hide the lifeless face from the rest of the lifeless room. Even the air feels dead. He closes his eyes for a moment, trying to blank out the imagery. As they open again, he catches sight of the bag on his other side. Empty.
He knows something is strange about this from the offset, though it takes a moment to realise why. The bag is in the middle of the row. Surely they would have filled them one by one, until no more bodies were left? Yet every other bag in the room is filled, even the ones on the other side of the one that is empty.
It's then that the scent reaches him. He sits there, blinking, as he tries to place it. He knows it. He knows it well. It's the smell of warmth, of laughter, of skin on skin. It's the smell of entwined fingers, of blue eyes and dazzling smiles. And quiet smiles, too. Understated, uncertain, did-he-really-just-do-that smiles.
He breathes it in, presses his hand to the empty material. It scuffles as he does so. Jack. The smell of Jack. Jack had been lying here beside him. They had died together.
Had he died?
He can't have died. He isn't Jack. He can't just crop back up again, right as rain. And he's fairly sure he's alive right now. Because if he's dead, then what does that make the woman next to him?
He lifts his hands to his face. His skin is warm. Not icy. Warm. He's alive. He has to be alive. He can see the rise and fall of his own chest, feel himself breathing. He's consciously thinking. He has to be alive.
But he can't be alive. Because he can remember dying. He can remember the taste of the poison and the fear, the warmth of Jack's familiar arms, the whisper of his last words. He remembers the 456, and the children, and the demands. He remembers the end.
He remembers everything.
He just doesn't understand it.