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A Posteriori | A Priori

Torchwood -- Before His Time

Title: Before His Time
redismycolour Challenge: Day Twenty-Eight
Date Written: 1/30/09
Rating: PG/K+
Word Count: 500
Fandom: Torchwood/Doctor Who
Characters/Pairings: Jack/Ianto, Martha/Tom
Spoilers: Torchwood 02, Lost Souls and Almost Perfect
Warnings: Mentions of character death
Author Notes: I seriously love this prompt. The Deviant Strain is one of my favorite tie-in novels and I had a blast with this quote.


I used to think I was scared of death. Or by facing death – by combat and action and the uncertainty of the battlefield. Not any more. No, now what scares me is the possibility that I live to grow old. I might wake up one day tired and wasted and unable to even open a beer. I might need crutches and a hearing aid and help getting dressed. When and if I get to that point, it'll be my memories that'll keep me going. The fact that I've lived through so much, survived so much, to get there. Do you want to get old? Do you want to end up with only your memories to make up for the loss of your faculties?
--- Jack Harkness, The Deviant Strain by Justin Richards



“Oh, Ianto,” Martha sighed from the doorway.

Ianto Jones let out a gravelly laugh. “Nice to see you too, Martha,” he wheezed, struggling to his elbows.

She was by his side in an instant. “Be careful! I know how much it hurts.”

Ianto laughed again, a wrinkled hand covering hers on his suddenly frail shoulders. “Oh, it’s not that bad,” he said. “Everything aches and I fall asleep at ridiculous times, but otherwise everything else is just about the same.”

Martha chuckled and put some pillows behind his back, helping him prop up. “You have the worst luck, y’know that? Lose your neutrons, turned into a girl, now look at you. Old and wrinkly.”

“I don’t have Tosh and Owen babysitting me,” he replied. A tiny flash of pain crossed his face, and she was sure it mirrored the one that went across hers. “Any chance I can transfer to UNIT, have you looking over me?”

She laughed. “Oh yeah, I don’t have enough with the Doctor and Mum popping in from time to time!” she said. “I need you and Jack too. Although if you promise to make your coffee…”

Ianto’s laugh turned into a dry cough. Martha rubbed his back soothingly until they subsided. “How bad is it?”

“… We don’t know what happened to you,” she admitted. “Jack’s never seen the tech before, and UNIT’s never heard of it either. We called in the big guns.”

“The Doctor.” Ianto’s voice was carefully neutral.

“Jack was frantic when he was on the phone with him,” she said. “He wants you back in tip-top shape. Probably for more of that avant guarde dabbling, eh?”

A smile pulled at the wrinkles on Ianto’s face. The old man had laugh lines. That was surely a good sign. “This is harder on him, I think. Getting a glimpse at a possible future.”

“Don’t say that,” Martha said softly.

“It’s the truth, and you know it. If I don’t die in Torchwood, I’ll die looking like this.”

“Oh, Ianto.” She hugged him gently. “I can’t even imagine what that’s like, what you two go through.”

He chuckled softly. “Yes you do. Your Tom goes off to dangerous places to save the world, and you worry about him every moment he’s away from you. He worries when you go to work.”

“We don’t have that end hanging over us.”

“Everyone has that end,” Ianto said. He sounded exhausted already, just from talking. “One leaves, the other remains. Doesn’t stop us from doing it anyway.”

Martha smoothed the wispy white hair back from Ianto’s brow and kissed his forehead. “Well, you won’t meet this end for a long time to come. You rest, I’ll wake you when the Doctor comes.”

Ianto smiled up at her and leaned back against the pillows again, closing his eyes. Martha brushed his hair back again, watching as he slept.

Martha hoped that Ianto’s bright blue eyes would open again when the Doctor came in.

If only for Jack’s sake.

Comments

( 22 Scribbles — Want to Scribble? )
vipersweb
Jan. 31st, 2009 06:21 am (UTC)
This is an awesome fic. Fabulous interaction between martha and Ianto here, and I love how realistic Ianto is. Very cool.
gracie_musica
Jan. 31st, 2009 06:44 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!
vipersweb
Jan. 31st, 2009 06:45 am (UTC)
adorable icon, btw... I like how subtle it is.
gracie_musica
Jan. 31st, 2009 07:04 am (UTC)
Subtle is overrated. Ask Jack. ;)
hab318princess
Jan. 31st, 2009 07:12 am (UTC)
loved that, really liked what you did with the prompt! Ianto's realism is heartbreaking - really great fic!
gracie_musica
Jan. 31st, 2009 07:02 pm (UTC)
That's our Ianto, ever the realist.

Thank you!
luvinthe88and20
Jan. 31st, 2009 02:17 pm (UTC)
Very nice Job.


I liked it.
gracie_musica
Jan. 31st, 2009 07:02 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!
katestamps
Jan. 31st, 2009 07:30 pm (UTC)
Oh, Ianto. *snuggles him* Love the laugh lines.
gracie_musica
Jan. 31st, 2009 07:59 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I imagine that if Ianto lives to be an old man, he'll have laugh lines. And bad eyes from rolling them at Jack.
wykling
Feb. 1st, 2009 05:33 pm (UTC)
aww *huggles Ianto*
That was beautiful, I loved the interaction between Ianto and Martha and the way you described his looks.
Laugh lines are cute x3
gracie_musica
Feb. 2nd, 2009 12:38 am (UTC)
*laughs* Thank you! The image in my head was that the tech turned Ianto into the person he would be if he lived to be old. So worry wrinkles on his forehead, but laugh lines from craziness and Jack around his eyes and the corners of his mouth.
gingerlr
Feb. 1st, 2009 06:40 pm (UTC)
'Oh Ianto' is right. Poor boys.
gracie_musica
Feb. 2nd, 2009 12:33 am (UTC)
I thought that was a good summary. *nods*
shiny_starlight
Feb. 1st, 2009 10:02 pm (UTC)
*lip wibble* Jack would be unconsolabe if Ianto didn't open his eyes. As would I. *sniffle*
gracie_musica
Feb. 2nd, 2009 12:28 am (UTC)
Martha's just a worrywart.
thrace_adams
Feb. 2nd, 2009 05:22 am (UTC)
Oh this was beautiful. I hope Ianto wakes up too :)
gracie_musica
Feb. 4th, 2009 01:25 am (UTC)
Thank you sweetheart!
etmuse
Feb. 3rd, 2009 04:11 pm (UTC)
Oh Ianto... while I love his pragmatic approach to life and death, it's a little heartbreaking
gracie_musica
Feb. 4th, 2009 01:00 am (UTC)
I know. He's so realistic that it's heartbreaking. He knows it'll end in tears.
eviekeller
Aug. 18th, 2009 06:32 am (UTC)
*sniffs*

There really is something to that, I think. Despite the fact that obviously Jack is going to outlive everyone he loves, it is so cruelly painful when they get taken away from him so early, if that makes sense.
eviekeller
Aug. 24th, 2009 02:58 am (UTC)
It really makes me wonder how he can do it, especially in such a dangerous job!
( 22 Scribbles — Want to Scribble? )

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