Title: In Concert
Disclaimer: I do not and never will own Torchwood or the characters within.
Characters: Ianto Jones, Jack Harkness
Note: Set after the events of “Greeks Bearing Gifts” and written for the Redisourcolour Challenge 19: Celebration. Prompts to be used are ‘portmanteau, dense, ravel’ and the phrase "I'm so hungry I could eat an elephant!" Part of my sirenIanto ’verse. Fourth in the series after Siren, Recital and Counterpoint.
Author’s Note: I am surrounded by boxes and my internets won’t be back until next Wednesday-ish. I thought I’d be able to get a fair bit of writing done without having so many online distractions but the boxes keep insisting on being unpacked.
Summary: Ianto Jones finds something out about the Captain and Owen tries to find out more about Sirens.
I am not the only one.
The thought kept running through Ianto’s head as he stared into the case.
He’d known from the beginning that aliens and even people could be taken and displaced by the rifts. He’d read the reports, he’d seen the photos and he’d known what had become of them. Bryn left him in no doubt as to what would happen should his other-worldly origins become discovered.
And until the night of Lisa’s second death he had been successful. But that night both the Captain and Owen had found out and Ianto had been beyond relieved to find out exactly how different Torchwood Three was from the now destroyed One. Although he knew that the doctor would enjoy putting Ianto through as many tests as he could get away with. However the Captain had forbidden any experimentation and Owen had to be content with ensuring Ianto wouldn’t react badly to the augmented medicines he used on the human members of Torchwood.
Thoughts of Owen however were far from his mind as he sifted through the documents in front of him.
I am not alone.
He’d found the suitcase half-hidden and stuck at the end of a shelf. An old Gladstone portmanteau similar to many he’d seen at Torchwood House. He liked the feel of the old-fashioned double-sided cases and he’d sat down on the floor and eased it open. That had been thirty minutes ago.
He shook his head as he held up an old sepia photo. So many questions answered all at once and so many more to take their place. Ianto didn’t know where to begin.
The soft tones of Ravel’s Bolero broke the silence of the room and he pulled out his phone.
“Yes Sir?” he queried absently. “Did you want some coffee?”
“Actually, I wasn’t ringing for that, but if you insist I’d certainly love a cup.” The Captain was cheerfully loud in his ear.
“I’ll be up in a few minutes, Sir,” Ianto replied without taking his eyes from the photo. “What did you want, Sir, if not coffee?”
“We’re going out. Apparently its Christmas and we’re supposed to do a team thing and go out to the pub to celebrate it.”
Ianto sighed. “Christmas is still two months away,” he pointed out, not quite comfortable enough to add that Christmas was something he’d never heard of until he’d arrived on Earth.
“Consider it a practice run. If it doesn’t work we can do it again closer to the day,” the Captain replied easily.
“Or we could just do it closer to the correct date anyway,” Ianto murmured reluctant to leave his find. His reluctance must have been audible because there was a pause before the Captain spoke.
“You’ve been down there for hours, Ianto. Time to re-join the rest of the world.” There was a distinctive coaxing note in the Captain’s voice and Ianto could clearly see the smile inherent in the words. “I could always come down there and carry you up …”
“Kicking and screaming all the way, Sir,” Ianto interjected before the Captain could get started on the innuendos. The man could be so predictable at times. Ianto stared at another photo in the case, his brow creasing.
“Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it, Ianto. Kicking and screaming can be the best start to a great night,” Jack replied with an audible leer and Ianto did sigh in response, loudly enough to be heard. “You’re spoiling my fun, Ianto,” the Captain pouted. “I’ll give you five minutes and then I’ll be down there to carry you out. Kicking and screaming is optional but would be much appreciated.” The grin was so obvious in his ear.
“Yes, Sir.” Ianto ended the call and picked up the two photos. He read again the words on the back of one. Ypres1915. He looked at the other photo. London 1942.
Captain Jack Harkness looked exactly the same in both images.
Ianto closed his eyes and let his breath out slowly. He wasn’t the only alien in Torchwood. Surely that was something to celebrate.
“I’m so hungry I could eat an elephant,” Jack Harkness exclaimed as he held open the door to the small pub. Owen and Gwen agreed while Tosh nodded. They were all starving. Lunch had been interrupted bare minutes after they’d sat down and there’d been no time afterwards to finish it off. Myfanwy was eating well tonight Ianto thought as he followed the others in and they quickly settled at a table.
Steak came and was demolished in short order along with several stuffed potatoes and a couple of baskets of chips. Ianto was only slightly surprised to see Gwen and Tosh eat almost as much as Jack did. Afterwards they sat back and relaxed in the comfortable warmth of satiation.
Ianto ordered coffee and was pleased at its quality. He looked around the room as the Captain ordered drinks. The evening crowd was beginning to arrive and karaoke had started in one corner vying against the rugby that most of the bar was watching. Ianto paid it all little attention his mind still mulling over the contents of the case in the archives. He shot a small glance the Captain’s way.
The Captain had his usual water and Ianto wondered if he was one of the many species who couldn’t handle alcohol. He knew he should just ask outright but the Captain was always so unforthcoming about his past that Ianto doubted he’d survive the asking.
But surely the Captain would be able to talk to someone who was stuck just as he was. He thought of living his long life on this one planet with only humans for company and shivered. He liked humans, he did, but their lives were brief compared to his. To have found someone who obviously aged as slowly as Ianto himself did was a welcome relief. Ianto avoided thinking of his long life span as often as he could. Up until now there had been no-one who could’ve understood just what a long life meant.
“Up you get teaboy,” Owen’s voice broke into his thoughts. Ianto blinked and looked at the doctor with confusion.
“Time to sing, teaboy. Microphone’s all yours,” Owen repeated with a wave at the karaoke corner.
Ianto began to shake his head. “No,” he refused. Singing in public was one thing he didn’t do. He found it more difficult to control his voice when he sang. The only time he sang at all was when he was on his own and caring for Myfanwy.
“Go on Ianto,” Gwen encouraged him. “I’m up after you. We’re all having a turn,” she smiled at him as he continued to shake his head.
“No, I really can’t sing in public,” Ianto appealed to the Captain who smiled easily at him.
“I’m sure you’ll sound absolutely tuneful,” he replied as they all winced as the current singer screeched too loudly. Ianto looked at the others with pleading eyes.
“I’ll come with you,” Tosh stood up and smiled at him. “Come on. It’ll be fun.”
Ianto grimaced but seeing the looks on everyone’s faces he knew he had no chance of refusing. His only other option was to leave and a look at Tosh had him sighing resignedly. This was the first time since the incident with Mary that he’d seen her so relaxed. He couldn’t let her down. He stood up slowly.
“I want it known that I am doing this under duress,” he stated before offering his arm to Tosh and she began to reassure him as they walked to the corner.
Jack watched with a small smile. He knew the others were misunderstanding Ianto’s reluctance although he was slightly suspicious of Owen’s motives for volunteering Ianto. Owen hadn’t heard Ianto sing although he had seen the effects of the Siren song. Jack had sometimes heard Ianto singing in the Hub after everyone had gone home and the Siren thought himself alone.
Jack’s smile widened as Ianto and Tosh began to sing. ‘River Deep, Mountain High’ rolled out of the speakers with surprising strength. Ianto’s voice held none of his nerves and Jack was pleasantly surprised at the way Tosh’s voice seemed to meld with Ianto’s. Jack wasn’t surprised to see the crowd turning to the karaoke corner as the song continued.
Halfway through the song Jack realised that Ianto was deliberately tuning his voice to Tosh’s. Jack nodded slightly in appreciation of the Siren’s tactics. It gave Ianto a way to control his singing and also to conceal the power of his voice. Jack knew the Siren was very wary of revealing himself as anything other than completely human.
As soon as the song finished there was quite a lot of applause and Gwen was running up to the microphone and demanding that Ianto sing with her too.
From then on, Ianto found it difficult to return to their table. People came up and requested songs, others wanted to sing duets with him. He tried to refuse but Owen moved to sit near him and always goaded him into “just one more song, teaboy.” He sang everything from Queen to Madonna to ABBA. His voice matched every note every time. He sang with perfect pitch and tone. The crowd reacted to every lyric. Ianto’s voice linked them together and they cried and laughed to his voice.
Jack watched with increasing concern. Ianto’s eyes were looking slightly wild even as he kept his voice under control. Jack wondered just how hard it was Ianto to maintain that control and he wondered just how dense Owen thought Ianto was. Jack didn’t doubt for a moment that Ianto was fully aware of what Owen was doing by keeping him singing. Jack was however curious as to why Ianto was allowing it.
It was nearly two hours before Ianto sang ‘Hey Jude’ to thunderous acclaim and then stared directly at Owen and stated clearly “no more.”
“Alright songboy,” he said with a nod and wry smile, looking rather pleased with himself.
“You have some explaining to do, Dr Harper,” Jack remarked quietly and sternly from right behind him and Owen jumped. “I do believe I said there was to be no experimentation of any kind.”
Owen turned to Jack with an apologetic expression that was belied by his bright eyes. “And all he did was sing and all I did was listen. Hardly a test, Jack,” Owen replied.
“You were marking my range and watching my throat muscles,” Ianto interjected having managed to escape from the crowd.
“Well, he won’t let me scan your vocal chords,” Owen pointed out. “I’m a doctor and you are a medical mystery to me. Jack won’t even let me do basic physiology tests.” Owen almost pouted but his stance was too belligerent.
“Just because Ianto isn’t human doesn’t mean you can treat him like a test subject,” Jack hissed before walking away. Ianto frowned at the Captain’s attitude, his mind working furiously. In light of his earlier discovery Ianto was drawing so many conclusions from the Captain's reaction.
Owen looked at Ianto. “You knew what I was doing. Why didn’t you stop me?”
“So I don’t have to do this the next time we go out,” Ianto spoke calmly. “Telling you that having to control my voice to sing like this is difficult and makes my throat ache would have meant little to you. I know you would have kept pestering me until I agreed. The decaf you will receive until my throat recovers might be a more effective reminder.”
Ianto smiled pleasantly leaving Owen standing there swearing in disgust.
Not a bad night after all, Ianto considered as he headed back to the table. Despite what he had told Owen, it was beneficial to be able to practise his voice control. He’d had little opportunity since he’d joined Torchwood. But the power he had felt over the crowd was disconcerting and against everything he’d been taught. He shook his head. No more karaoke. He’d keep his singing to his audience of one at the Hub.
He saw the Captain watching him. Ianto nearly smiled. And there was another more important mystery to unravel right in front of him. Life was certainly becoming worth something again Ianto thought.
Continued in Elegy