A/N: Originally this was going to be a stand alone Interlude, but then after watching a few YouTube videos of Mark Gatiss talking about how he writes (for inspiration), I realized I really didn't like where this chapter was heading. And then I asked myself where was it written that I couldn't change it? Hence…THE CHANGE.
And so I merged my Interlude with "Random Shoes" and an ally was born in the form of Eugene Jones. I was kind of shocked and impressed where the muses took me this time around – and I hope you are as well.
So, the quote I'm using this time is from E.E. Cummings and I think it really speaks for the two central characters of this chapter – Ianto and Eugene. Ianto knows that his world will continue to change and evolve. And he needs to change with it, or be consumed by it. Eugene…poor guy. So much potential lost in a matter of seconds; but he's given another chance from an unlikely source.
And, hating to repeat myself, but I must – don't own TW or DW – they belong to BBC Cymru…and Starz. I'm not making a penny from it, I just love taking the characters out for LONG test spins…I give you…
Torchwood: The Archivist's Archives
Chapter Eight: Becoming Who You Are
"It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are." – E. E. Cummings
It was a grand estate in the stately English countryside that the Torchwood SUV pulled up to just after 12 noon. It had been a rather comfortable drive; Tosh and Gwen played a computerized version of The Weakest Link where they cheated by asking the men for help when the questions became too hard. Owen entertained himself mostly by giving them the wrong answers – and listening to his IPod.
Ianto and Jack entertained each other with what Jack dubbed his Internal Cinema. How it was that Jack hadn't run off the road a few times was simply a testament to his sheer willpower…and the fact that Ianto would be the star in his next physical production once they got home.
They stopped once at a lay-by – Jack really needed a breather and everyone else needed the loo. But now they were pulled up to an impressive guardhouse that stood in front of an equally impressive wrought iron and brick gate. Everyone passed their credentials on to the guard – and after checking them against a list on a clipboard, opened the gate to allow them entrance.
'Welcome to the City of Oz,' Owen muttered as the gate pulled back. The young guard then walked up to Jack's side of the SUV.
'The Brig and his Missus are expecting you. I'll ring up and let them know you're on your way up. Keep on the main road and keep the speed under 15. There are quite a few farm animals about. Just follow the signs up to the main house,' the guard instructed him congenially. Jack nodded, the others waved at the guard – and they were off.
Ten minutes later, as the SUV made it over the last rise; they all saw an imposing three story Georgian style house standing in front of an immaculate lawn and impressive lake. Jack stopped the SUV so everyone could take a proper look.
'Wow,' Gwen breathed, gawping at the house.
'I feel like Elizabeth Bennett looking at Pemberly for the first time,' Tosh whispered – then she and Gwen started giggling like school girls. The three men smiled indulgently as Jack put the SUV in gear and drove to the front of the house.
At the steps of the house's main entrance stood an elderly couple. The man wore an immaculate three piece suit; the woman next to him wore a smart two piece suit and had a kind, smiling face. Ianto gasped as the SUV pulled to a stop in front of them.
'I remember them,' he said softly as Owen put a hand on his shoulder from behind him in unspoken support. 'When Tad broke my leg,' Ianto continued. 'They sat with Mam for a bit and spoke with her when they all thought I was asleep.' He sighed sadly. 'They were trying to convince Mam to leave Tad. She thanked them, but said no…,' his voice trailed off as he looked to the couple coming down the steps. 'Maybe they'll have answers for me.'
'Maybe,' Jack said softly as he squeezed Ianto's knee.
The older gentleman walked hurriedly down the steps, smiling brightly and laughing as he approached them. His wife (Doris, Mam said), making Ianto start; followed at a more sedate pace.
'Brigadier General,' Jack said smiling and then stood at attention and saluted. The older man chuckled, waving the title off and opened his arms wide to Jack. Jack entered the Brig's embrace, relishing the feeling of comfort that came with the warm gesture.
'Been away far too long, you scalawag,' The Brigadier admonished. Jack looked down – and to Ianto, he was the epitome of a school boy being dressed down by the Head Master. Everyone smiled at that. 'I am Brigadier General Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart, Retired,' he announced to the others. 'And this,' he turned to the woman next to him. 'Is my lovely wife, Doris.'
"Lethbridge-Stewart,' said Jack formerly. 'May I introduce Torchwood Cardiff. My second and Team Medic, Doctor Owen Harper. Tech Expert Toshiko Sato, Field Officer Gwen Cooper and our Archivist and General Support – .'
'Mr. Ianto Jones,' Lethbridge-Stewart said, walking up to the younger man and, taking his hand, shook it warmly. 'The honor is all mine, young man.'
'You knew my mother,' Ianto said softly as he shook the man's hand in return.
'Yes – Mary Eileen Jones – only back then she was Nash,' Stewart said, his voice going soft.
His wife Doris took Ianto's hand then – and Ianto saw
- His mother as a young girl going to boarding school and befriending Doris, the Head Master's daughter back home from university on a break.
- His mother as a young UNIT soldier, following Lethbridge-Stewart's orders.
- His mother as an attaché to The Doctor and to help Doctor Elizabeth Shaw and Sergeant Michael Yates with the grounded TimeLord.
- How his mother introduced Doris to the Brigadier (They were made for each other, his Mam whispers).
He looked at the woman with new eyes. 'Thank you,' he whispered.
She smiled broadly. 'You are far more powerful than your mother, Mr. Jones. But then, she did tell us you would be.' Ianto bowed his head and blushed at that. The team unconsciously gathered closer to him – and Doris and Stewart laughed.
The retired serviceman turned to Jack. 'You have guarded him well – and he does the same for you all. Mary Eileen was right. He was better where he was then with…us and UNIT.' He sighed then, looking to Ianto again. 'By the Great One, you have your mother's eyes!' Doris put a steadying hand on Stewart's shoulder and Ianto took the older man's hand and saw...
A raging argument between the Brig and his mother…she was in civvies and pregnant while Stewart was in uniform.
'He cannot stay here with you, Alistair!' she almost yelled in a cold, angry voice.
'Why not? The Brig asked, his voice going soft. 'Doris and I would love him as our own. He would be cared for, educated well…he would want for nothing!'
'Except for a REAL life – with his Mam and sister,' Mary reasoned. 'I SEE things, Alistair. UNIT would never let him go…he would go with my ancestors of the Faire – and the Earth as you know it would be destroyed by a madman! He NEEDS to be with ME, Alistair. Even if his father is a right bastard to him in the future. I am sorry, but what I am fighting for is bigger than you or me – or Doris or my son! I fight for the Universe; I fight to keep this timeline straight and true.'
'Is that what The Doctor showed you? Is he the one that said you have to leave?' Alistair asked his voice sharp and accusing.
It was and wasn't The Doctor,' she answered cryptically. 'What I have seen…a future incarnation merely confirmed. There are beings called The Guardians of Time – and they call The Doctor Time's Champion. And they were the ones that strengthened my resolve…and my son needs to be ready. Because…in the 21st century, everything really will change.'
Ianto let go of the Brigadier's hand, gasping loudly. 'You…you wanted…you wanted to keep me?' he asked. The Brigadier now bowed his head.
'Yes,' he said after a time. 'But your mother said no.' He cleared his throat then and looked up to the others. 'You've all made a very long a very long journey and Doris has made sure Cook prepared a luncheon fit for Kings.'
Owen clapped his hands at that. Tosh and Gwen gave him a look.
'What?' he asked indignantly. 'I'm dying for a proper sit-down meal.'
The others laughed – and Ianto nodded in the medic's direction. Thank you, he whispered into Owen's mind.
Any time, Owen answered back.
After lunch, Doris took the others on a tour of the House's grounds and gardens while Jack and Ianto retired to the study with the Brigadier.
'Jack was told you had something of my mother's for me,' Ianto said once everyone was settled.
Lethbridge-Stewart smiled softly as he rose from his seat behind a great cherry wood desk and walked towards a picture frame mounted on the wall to the left of the table.
In the frame was a photograph of himself in the center with a tall man with brown curly hair, a brown fedora and an impossibly long multi-colored scarf on one side and a slim woman with shoulder length brown hair on the other. The three were not looking at the camera, but instead the Brig and the woman were looking at the tall man, laughing at whatever he had said. A carefree moment caught forever in time within the photo.
'One incarnation of The Doctor and Miss Sarah Jane Smith,' Stewart explained as he followed Jack and Ianto's gazes. 'I knew and worked with at least four of him…them…The Doctors.'
The men all smiled at one another as the Brig pulled at the edge of the frame and it swung away from the wall on two hinges, exposing a wall safe. With a few expert turns, the safe door swung open and he removed a wooden case the size of a shoebox. He closed the safe door and swung the frame back into place. He then placed the box on his desk and slid it across to Ianto as he sat back in his chair. 'Your mother was a remarkable woman,' the Brig said fondly. 'I was sorry to see her go.'
'Especially since she had stayed after the birth of my sister,' Ianto added.
'You and Doris tried to convince her to leave Tad,' Ianto continued.
Stewart sighed then. 'Many times…but the only time we ever went into it in front of you was that day at the hospital. Do you remember that?'
'Now. But not before I saw you and Doris,' Ianto answered.
Again Stewart nodded. 'You mother…she was a powerful Seer. I used to think of her as a younger sister, but she was also my subordinate and I hope I never breached that bond of trust. We tried so hard to change her mind – but she was just as stubborn and adamant as she had been ten years previous and refused to leave your father or sister. And then - .'
'She died two years later,' Ianto said, finishing Stewart's sentence.
The Brig nodded again. 'When your name popped up at Torchwood One, I tried to keep a discreet eye on you. UNIT…UNIT had changed…and I was afraid for you. Until Canary Wharf.' The old man's blue eyes locked onto the young man's face – but Ianto's countenance betrayed nothing. 'Three generals and two Colonels that were very interested in you died in their sleep within three weeks after the fall of Torchwood Tower. It was later determined that all five of them were on Torchwood's secret payrolls.' He sighed then. 'Tell me you had nothing to do with that,' he implored Ianto.
The young man stared impassively at the old man. '"Ask me of me no secrets, I'll tell to thee no lies",' he answered softly.
The Brigadier scoffed at that – and motioned to the box in front of him. "Open it all ready. I've been hanging onto that all of your life; to be honest I am more then just a little intrigued.'
Ianto's hand hovered over the box, then he laid it back on his thigh. 'Do you know if UNIT had anything to do with my mother's death?' he asked bluntly.
Stewart sighed deeply again. 'I am not sure. She saw them changing – it started almost immediately after The Doctor left with Sarah Jane. She was afraid for you – and left the box in my care. It was not a happy affair…when she came…we…argued. She was steadfast…and in the end, she was so right.' He rubbed his hand against his brow. 'UNIT has changed again…and I do not like what I am seeing. I can honestly say that what they have become frightens me.'
Ianto nodded as he looked at the intricate carvings on the box. He put his hand on it - and saw his great grandfather as a young man carving the box as a keepsake for his great grandmother. His hands shook as he pried open the lid and inside with a few keepsakes was a yellowed envelope. My Son was written across it in a hand writing Ianto never thought he'd see again. 'Mam,' he whispered softly as he opened the envelope and pulled out several pages covered in his mother's neat, precise script.
My Son, the letter began. I know that by the time you receive this letter and box you will be a young man finding your way in the world – with Captain Jack Harkness at your side. Ianto gasped sharply; and after waving Jack off, continued to read.
I am so sorry I could not be there for you and your sister. And, even if she was extremely misguided, I am grateful that Yvonne and psi-trainers were there for you. It should have been me training you…showing you how to harness the massive power that is within your grasp to command. You have not been born – another two months yet. But I can see so much. You have such a kind heart; it shines through no matter how many times it has been beaten and hurt.
He could almost feel his Mam sigh then. There are terrible trials on the horizon. Your nightmares are not nightmares, Ianto. They are portents of things to come. Remember that you would have one of the Chosen had I not interfered…and your father not destroyed some of your faith. I know your father will hurt you – and I am so ashamed that I am leaving you in his "care". But it will shape you into the man you will become. The items within the box are mementos, trinkets and keepsakes of the Family…and the Faire. They will help you in the days to come; for they will be dark indeed.
Leave the Validium in the care of the Faire. HE cannot get control of it! It is dangerous and would be as gleefully devious as those that call him "Father". Your Cousin and Aunt of the Faire will help to train you to control it. Take their counsel; listen and take heed to all they teach and show you, Dearest. You will be their greatest pupil.
As for the Captain…he loves you, Yannie. So very much; never doubt that. As the ages pass on for him – it will be you and you alone that will help the Captain remember his humanity, always remember that. And never believe otherwise.
Embrace your growing powers, my son. Know that I will always be with you…and I have never regretted you for a second.
I love you, Yannie.
Mam 5th, June, 1983
Ianto sighed as he folded the letter reverently and slid it back into the envelope. Looking in the box, he found a deck of Tarot Cards (The Little Girl will ask for them, he heard his Mam whisper.) A few broaches – all of which lit up and glowed before going dark.
'Faire,' he mumbled before placing the letter on top and closing the box. When he was home in the privacy and confines of his flat he would peruse every piece – and quite possibly have a good cry over several of them. 'Thank you so much, Brigadier,' he said softly. 'She was…well…my Mam.' He then turned to Jack. 'She saw you,' he said simply.
Jack took one of Ianto's hands and kissed it tenderly. I love you, Yan,' he heard his Captain whisper.
And I you, my Treasure, he whispered back.
A few days later Jack and Owen were on a Weevil capture while Tosh coordinated and Gwen went to prepare a few holding cells, giving Ianto time to get on fresh coffee and nip to the Archives for a few peaceful moments. He went down to his office in the main level of the repository and sat at his desk. He sighed deeply as he stretched out in the leather office chair he had acquired from one of the lower levels. He closed his eyes as he removed his comm unit…and the air in front of his desk began to glow as his Cousin Owain appeared to him.
The Faire One sighed as he looked at the young man before him. He could have been one of their greatest if he had only come with them… He sighed impatiently as his eyes fell to the wooden box on the clean desktop.
So, you got her letter then? He asked as Ianto opened his eyes. The Welshman nodded. Shall we begin?
'Yes,' Ianto whispered.
What would you like to learn?
Ianto thought for a moment. 'What do you think I should learn first?'
Owain smiled…and suddenly his visage took on one of a Warrior Faire. Everything, Cousin, he growled. Everything.
Ianto quirked his lips in his Iantonian Smirk. 'Show me,' he whispered almost desperately. 'I am here to learn all that I can, Cousin. To become all that I am. And then more.'
When Jack, Gwen, Tosh and Owen came back from the roadside accident with the body of Eugene Jones, he wasn't surprised. What did surprise him was seeing Eugene Jones standing amongst them, marveling at the wonders of The Hub.
Jack! he called out – and Eugene turned towards him!
What? Jack called back.
You brought back more then just the body, Ianto deadpanned.
'Oi!' Eugene called out loud. 'You! You're Ianto Jones, right?'
What do you mean? Jack asked, still walking away towards tosh.
Eugene's spirit is HERE! In The Hub…RIGHT NOW!
'What?' Jack and Eugene asked at the same time. The others turned towards Ianto as well.
'I see you, Eugene,' Ianto said softly to an empty space behind where everyone walked in. 'You're dead…but you know that all ready, don't you?'
'Yes,' Eugene sighed. 'But I can't remember why. I saw the aftermath, I was standing there with the others on the tarmac…but I can't even remember the how.' He paused to look around…and then to his body laid out on the metal autopsy table. Eugene looked up to Ianto, longing and pain in his eyes. 'Can…can you help me?'
Ianto looked down into the Autopsy Bay at the body of Eugene Jones – and raised his right hand towards it. 'There is something within your stomach…an alien eye. You received it as a gift from a teacher when you were eleven. The day after you had lost The Knowledge Bowl and your father left home,' Ianto recited in his now familiar monotone voice. He turned to where the spectre stood and raised his left hand towards it. 'Are you sure you want to know? To remember?' he asked suddenly. 'The world…it has been a cruel place for you. The answers you seek…will…hurt.'
Eugene swallowed heavily. 'I think…after dying, it honestly can't be much worse.'
Ianto nodded his head and turned to the team medic. 'Owen,' he said softly. 'Mind holding off on the autopsy, yeah?' The doctor nodded and, putting down his scalpel, he and Gwen walked out of the bay. Ianto walked down into the bay once the others had exited while Jack and Eugene's spirit followed him down. Gwen, Owen and Tosh gathered on the gallery above to look down at what was going to happen.
'Give me your hand, Eugene,' Ianto said, holding out his left hand to the ghost again. His right was on the body's stomach.
'Okay,' Eugene answered; uncertainty plain in his voice as he moved his hand towards Ianto's. 'But I can't – .' The rest of what he was going to say was swallowed by a snap of electricity – and Eugene Jones appeared before everyone present.
Within minutes, the whole of Eugene's life played out to only Eugene and Ianto – the others simply saw flashes of light and felt a slight change in The Hub's temperature. 'Bastards,' Ianto muttered as he lifted his hand from Eugene's body. He looked to the spectre. 'You have a choice, Eugene. Go back – or move on.'
Eugene looked to Ianto, angry, scared and most of all, bewildered. 'How can I go back?' he yelled. 'The police have already told me mam and brother I'm dead! My bastard best friend turned on me! And that moron troglodyte from the video store thinking he could make a buck off of me! All because of that STUPID, cheap piece of glass sh-.'
'It's real, Eugene,' Ianto said softly. 'You would not be here otherwise. I...could use someone like you. You and I have unique talents…talents that can save the world one day. I have friends that will keep an eye out for you; keep you and your family safe. The world will become a far uglier place very soon – and I will have a need for intelligent people as yourself to help me and others to save the Earth.'
Eugene looked down to his broken body, then up to the others - and realized they were not moving! 'What? H…how are you doing that, Ianto Jones?'
'I was told recently that I may be one of the most powerful psychics on Earth at this time. My mother said it was time for me to become who I am. And now I say the same to you, Eugene Jones. It is time for you to grow up – and become who you really are.'
Eugene looked again to his broken body – and thought of the myriad of things he could do to change the mess his life had become. 'Go back,' Eugene said, repeating what Ianto had said. 'Or do you mean "start over"?'
Ianto smiled then – and Eugene felt a little unsettled by the feral grin with too many teeth perched on Ianto's face. 'However you want it, Eugene,' he answered evenly.
'I want to go back; back to that awful day. I want to fix it; change it into something better. I know Tad'll leave, but at least Mam won't have to tell me stupid lies. And my brother will know we'll be fine without Tad. Because I'm Eugene Jones, a genius with numbers and facts. I am going to be all that I am.'
Ianto's smile widened at the declaration. 'Good luck, Eugene. I'll be in touch; you'll have a far more promising future. This I swear.' He then moved his hand out of the spectre's hold and switched it over the corpse's heart. His other hand he held over the stomach – and Eugene watched as his body gave up the Eye.
'What is it?' he asked, amazed that his talisman actually was an alien bodypart.
'It is a Dogon Six Eye. The alien race it belongs to can tell the future with this appendage. It also allows those that pass with unfinished business to complete it before they move on to the next realm. But for you…it will be a talisman once more. To let you know and remember that no matter how much your life changes now – before it was just too small.'
Eugene Jones smiled then and held his hand out for the Eye. 'Thank you, Ianto Jones.' He snorted then – and Ianto smirked along with him. 'It's got to be the last name,' Eugene said, smiling. 'Be seeing you soon, Mr. Jones.'
'Sooner then you think, Mr. Jones,' Ianto answered, handing him the Eye.
And in a flash of light, Eugene Jones's body was gone – and everyone was back at their stations and areas around The Hub. Myfanwy screeched from high above in her aerie – and Ianto Jones opened his eyes to find himself seated across from his Cousin Owain at his desk in the Archives. Owain still wore his guise of the Warrior Faire as he stared at the young one in wonder.
Cousin,' the Faire One breathed. Your mother did you such a disservice by taking you from us.
'No,' Ianto said softly. 'If I had left with you – I wouldn't care about this world at all. And we do need each other for this planet to survive.'
Owain laughed long and loud at that. You are right, Young One, he conceded as he rose from the seat in front of Ianto's desk. Until next time, he said as he began to fade away. And of course we have watched over Eugene Jones and his family.
'Thank you, Cousin. And thank the others as well,' Ianto answered.
This is a new path, Cousin, The Faire One commented gleefully. And new paths are always so much FUN! And he vanished in a burst of light and fairey dust.
Ianto put his comm unit back on – and as he stood, he felt the shift within Time as the new memories instated themselves within his mind. Eugene Jones was a friend he met in university and was now running his own logistics firm. Ianto needed his mathematical skill and savvy to knowing where to put money and resources. You have done well, my Son, his Mam whispered.
As he was shutting off his desk lamp, two strong arms encircled his waist as a firm body pressed close into his back. 'Mr Jones,' Jack purred into the ear without the comm.
'Captain Harkness,' Ianto answered.
'We're finishing up. Owen's putting the new residents away and I told everyone to home once all the paperwork was cleared away. I want to have dinner with you tonight.'
Ianto smiled. 'With me…or on me?' he asked cheekily.
Jack chuckled as he kissed the side of the young man's face. 'That is what the heavy whipped cream and maraschino cherries in the fridge qt home are for – dessert.'
Ianto laughed at that. Jack turned him around and looked deeply into his eyes. 'Something…is different,' he said after a few moments of silent study. 'You…you are different.'
'Good different or bad different?' Ianto asked, a twinge of fear creeping up his spine.
'Good,' Jack answered quickly to quell the Welshman's fears. 'It's a good different. A…powerful different as well. So what happened?'
Ianto chuckled as he cleared away the box and a few files from his desk and put them in the top drawer. 'Spoilers, O Captain, my Captain,' he said, pulling Jack closer by his trouser belt and kissing him. 'Spoilers,' he whispered into Jack's ear a few moments later.
And in a galaxy not named by humans in the distant future…a Cloister Bell gave an ominous toll within the bowels of the TARDIS. The Doctor quickly ran to the main console room with his latest companion, Martha Jones, fast on his heels. After flicking a few switches, he was able to see what caused the commotion.
'What?' he asked incredulously. 'A lone human? On Earth? In the 21st century? Impossible!'
'What's wrong?' Martha asked, not liking The Doctor's pacing one bit.
The Doctor, however, was completely oblivious. 'Something…someone is on Earth that shouldn't be there. They are playing a dangerous game…and I need to find out how they managed it!' He jumped back to his console and began flipping switches, dialing knobs and typing out code on half a typewriter as the TARDIS engines began to grind away louder as it changed course and direction.
'So…where are we going?' Martha asked.
'Earth, 21st century. Cardiff, Wales,' The Doctor answered, putting on his glasses to inspect the Console's readout. 'Someone has A LOT of explaining to do.'
A/N: And DONE! Yay! Well, this was a BEAR to do, but I'm glad where it finally ended up going. Next up is my version of "Captain Jack Harkness" – definitely some changes for the better! Stayed tuned Archives Fans – and many, many thanks to all that read, review and favorite both me and the story. And check out stories for my latest obsession: Sherlock Holmes & BBC Sherlock. That last one's not up yet – but have no fear! I'm losing WAY too much sleep writing it! Tootles!