Disclaimer: I do not own, nor ever will, Torchwood or the characters within.
Note: Set after the events in 'Cyberwoman' and written for my longliveIanto bingo card prompt ‘Singing’
Summary: Jack hadn’t thought that he could have been any more surprised by Ianto Jones until he heard him sing.
Jack Harkness bowed his head, pressing the heels of his palms against his tired eyes and slumping against the closest wall. He let his breath out in a puffed rush and dragged his hands down his face. He opened his eyes and studied his stained boots before he lifted his head enough to see the rest of the room.
The floor was wet. Puddled water glinted in every imperfection of the concrete. The stinging stench of bleach and caustic didn’t hide the lingering smell of blood and there was a metallic tang that grated against his teeth.
The room was completely bare. Everything had been removed. He had dismantled the conversion unit and broken it down into the smallest pieces possible before dumping it into the incinerator. He had done the same for the bodies; dissecting and removing every component and circuit before tossing them into the fire as well. Then he had cleared the room of every trace of use. Cables, wire, tools, it all went. As did several books, a few photos and a small bear with the name Lisa embroidered across its patch-worked red heart.
He tipped his head back against the wall and stared at the ceiling. He yawned screwing his eyes up at the brightness of the single bulb and wishing that he was anywhere else but here. He was so tired and he still had decisions to make.
Ianto Jones. Tall and slim, handsome and efficient. Looked beyond good in a suit and brewed God’s own coffee with ease.
Ianto Jones. One of the dwindling numbers of Canary Wharf survivors. Stubborn and persistent. Polite and almost totally unflappable.
Ianto Jones had conned him. Had managed to sneak one of the worst monsters of the whole universe into his home and kept it there for several months without him ever suspecting. Jack wanted to scream. At Ianto, at the now-burnt monster, at this empty room, at himself. Except he was the Captain and all the blame and all the guilt and all the anger were his. To carry and to feel and to deal with. He had never asked for this much responsibility and he resented it.
Sometimes he wished he could just walk out of the door and never return. Never return to the waiting, to the questions that he desperately wanted answers to and to the people he was responsible for.
He’d sent them home. He couldn’t cope with their rampant emotions just yet. He had enough trouble getting his own emotions sorted.
Gwen had been so torn. Trying to be sympathetic and understanding when all the while he could see it in her eyes. I almost died! That thing nearly killed me! How could Ianto have done this to me?
Tosh had been a little better. She knew too well wanting to do everything and anything to save a loved one. But she also knew the consequences of doing so as well. She’d been just as worried about him as she had about Ianto.
Owen had been the easiest of all. “Killing him or dosing him to the gills with retcon ain’t going to make what he did go away, Jack. You’d have to dose us all. But if you let him remember, then he has to pay for what he did.”
Jack straightened and looked around the room. It seemed colder now and he shivered. He began to roll down his shirt sleeves and took a breath. Time to finish this. Time to see to Ianto Jones.
It took Jack ten minutes to realise that Ianto had left the Hub. He cursed roundly in several human and alien languages before logging in to the CCTV network to find his errant employee. A minute later and he was looking at Ianto’s back. The man was on the pier facing away from the cameras and staring out across the Bay.
Jack swore again and ran for the lift. He jiggled impatiently as it rose and as soon as the doors opened he was out. He tore down the corridor to the Information Centre and went slamming through it leaving fluttering papers in his wake.
He came to a complete halt the moment he opened the door.
Someone was singing and it was the most devastating sound he had ever heard. He was crying before he realised that he couldn’t understand the words. The soaring pain and desolation was completely overwhelming and he had to force himself to move against the emotional tide that the unknown words created. He had never heard anyone carry such depth and range in a voice. And never in a human voice.
He concentrated hard and stared at his feet willing them to keep moving. Slowly he made his way along the boards and around to the pier. The song got deeper, reverberating in his bones and he pressed his fingers behind his ears. Tears still ran down his face and his earlier tiredness was now bordering on exhaustion.
He blinked and wiped at his eyes as he stared along the pier. It was close to three-thirty in the morning and there was nearly a dozen people standing on the pier. They were standing completely frozen and crying unheeded as the song swelled over them. Jack stumbled and fell to his knees, swallowing hard against the bile at the back of his throat as images from years ago assaulted him. No-one seemed aware of him as he struggled to get back on to his feet, forcing the memories as far away as he could.
He took several deep breaths and forced himself forward again, walking around the others as they remained stationary. The song rose in an undulating lament and almost unbalanced him with its sheer power. The people around him swayed in unison and Jack shook his head trying to clear it. He looked forward beyond them and saw the kneeling form of Ianto Jones.
He wondered if Ianto had been affected like the others until Ianto lifted his head and the song rose with it. Sorrow and loss were almost palpable and every unknown word carried tears and pain into his listeners. Jack’s breath hitched as tears once again burnt his eyes and ran down his cheeks.
Several impossibilities came together in a rush and Jack fell forward in a stumbling run to the young man’s side. Ianto didn’t acknowledge him. He kept singing pouring his heart and every breath into words that Jack now knew weren’t Welsh or any human language. Jack edged around him careful not to touch the singing man.
Ianto’s eyes were wide and unseeing and his suit was stained with blood and water. His tie was gone and his shirt pulled open at the neck. Jack nodded to himself as he saw the thin chain that now hung free and had been hidden under those distracting gorgeous suits all this time.
“Ianto,” he said softly. He ignored the tears that he couldn’t stop knowing they wouldn’t stop until Ianto did. “Ianto,” he repeated. “Ianto. Ianto.”
The song never faltered but eventually Ianto blinked and Jack smiled at him.
“That’s it Ianto. Time to finish the song now,” Jack encouraged in a gentle voice. Ianto blinked again and the song became louder, deeper and Jack felt an echoing edge of protest to the words.
“I know, Ianto, but you need to come back now. There’ll be more time to grieve later.” Jack kept his voice level as Ianto’s eyes came into focus. Ianto’s eyes had never been so blue and they’d never looked so lost before either.
The song narrowed and Jack felt it pour straight into him. Emotions so powerful and completely honest swept through him, blinding him and nearly stopping his heart. Jack rocked backwards as his mind and voice cried out at the invasion.
And then it was silent.
Jack blinked furiously to clear his sight and reached out to gather Ianto close as the blue eyes fluttered close and he slipped bonelessly into unconsciousness. The young man’s face was disturbingly pale and he felt cold in his damp clothes. Jack sighed as he shifted Ianto into a more comfortable position.
He looked along the pier. The others had collapsed when the song had stopped. Jack sighed again and looked back down at Ianto.
“What am I going to do with you, Ianto Jones?” he murmured. “By rights I should have executed you by now, and retcon would give us an easy out. And I don’t think you’ve ever done easy in your life, have you?” Jack looked up to the sky. The stars were fading under the false grey of pre-dawn. “Which star is yours, Ianto Jones? Or is yours like mine and too far away to be seen.”
Jack moved and reached into his coat for his phone, glad he’d thought to grab it in his rush to get to Ianto. He hit the correct speed dial and waited, listening to it ringing as he noticed a couple of small boats rather too close to the pier.
“Owen,” he said when it was picked up. “I need you at the pier.”
“Teaboy went for a swim did he?” There wasn’t much surprise in the words and Jack didn’t blame him for the assumption. After all he’d had the same thought when he had first seen Ianto on the pier.
“No, but I do need your help down here. Urgently. And don’t call the others,” he added.
“Fine. On my way.” Owen voice was abrupt and he hung up almost before the words were out.
Jack stared at the phone for a long moment before putting it back in his pocket. He pulled Ianto in closer and wrapped his coat around them both settling in to wait. Owen wouldn’t be more than fifteen minutes and he didn’t know how long the effects of Ianto’s song would take to pass.
Who’d have thought, he mused as he watched Ianto. A Siren. Ianto was a Siren. Goddess, but how did a Siren end up on Earth? A long-lived race that kept to itself, Sirens were both feared and desired for the power of their voices. Although called Sirens they were actually Vopix. Like the Sirens of myth their songs were irresistible, but unlike them their voices could do so much more. The resonances in a Vopix song could bring down buildings and whole cities. It could level mountains and raise rivers. Sirens rated highly in empathy tests and combined with the power of their song they could coerce and even kill.
Jack was grateful that Ianto had sung a song of grief. The other possibilities were too chilling to contemplate.
“You and I are going to have a long talk when you wake up, Ianto Jones,” Jack told the unconscious man. “A very long talk.”
Continued in Recital