?

Log in

No account? Create an account
 
 
08 April 2010 @ 02:58 pm
[fic] In Amnion, 11/? (Torchwood; Jack/Ianto, post-COE, MA)  
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Wheee! Back on track... sort of. ^__^;; I'm still working on next week's chapter (normally it would be done by now *sweatdrop*), which may or may not be on time. Depends on whether nor not the Evil Gods of Scheduling cooperate. Do they accept offerings of sacrificial goats, do you think? At any rate, you definitely don't want to read something that hasn't been through Ayashi's fine comb. We'll see what happens.

In the meantime, this chapter is... making me nervous. (Yes, yes, I know, every chapter does that. ^^) Ianto is hard for me to write, and I was initially wary of touching on 'afterlife' experiences because I didn't want to seem cliche. Hopefully, the result isn't too confusing. I owe an extra debt to mscatmoon, badly_knitted, and albichorizon-- your comments and insight helped me solidify some ideas, and gave me the courage to tackle this. *crosses fingers*

As always, I thank anyone and everyone for taking the time to read this. If I could bother you a bit more to comment, you know you'll make me a very happy little fic-writer blob. ^_^
-Meredith

ETA: Changed the italics formating to avoid confusion. Thanks to a_silver_story for pointing out this error.

DISCLAIMER: Torchwood is copyright BBC, and Russel T. Davies. I'm making no money off this, and am not affiliated with the above. Why can't we have nice things!? The short film Dumplings was written by Lillian Lee and directed by Fruit Chan. No infringement is intended in either case-- only honest admiration.


PREVIOUS CHAPTERS:
Prologue | Chapter One | Chapter Two | Chapter Three | Chapter Four | Chapter Five | Chapter Six | Chapter Seven | Chapter Eight | Chapter Nine | Chapter Ten










In Amnion 11/?
by Meredith Bronwen Mallory

mallorys-girl@cinci.rr.com
http://www.demando.net/









(Can you be good for me, Ianto-- my good boy? It'll be just like hide and seek. Don't go wandering, and I'll find you.)


He's caught in a sleep that is deeper than slumber; his dreams run underneath the mortal nightscape, endless subterranean tunnels that have never known light. This is the place where lightning burns the sand to glass; the wild black ocean lit by a burning moon; the thin slice of nothing that separates your shadow from the wall.

(behold, this is the perilous Land of In-Between)

It is strange, but ultimately finite, an escape from the directionless maelstrom of

(the Void)

before. Here, in the calm waters, he is away from the rolling, lumbering things that slithered underneath the more-than-darkness, but he is not safe. The burning moons have a tide, the dry Martian lakebed hides a secret well, and everything, everything is just red-hot shards of coal. Down here, unseen by the living, are totems that defy the waves-- they are worn clean of name and memory, but still incontrovertibly etched with the warning that all things come with a price.



He founders, he fights for grip. The walls of the city are high and narrow, it's always sunset, and the streets have no names. Something is drawing him back, he feels the strength of the cord, each ripple of twisted silk as fine and unflexing as pure steel. It is a red cord, and gold
(because Jack is gold. when he kisses you, when he touches your hands as you pass out coffee, when he smiles at you over the unconscious shape of a Weevil, he is everything brilliant and it almost hurts to look)
and it pulls, inscribed with words
(tsazhou)
he does not understand.


The dimensions here don't work; the geometry is all wrong and each angle makes him feel like he's slipping, slipping back into the No-Thing, where he'd been still and quiet,
(Jack asked you to)
waiting. And, ever so far away, something to pierce the Void-- a wordless promise, a whisper. It is the space between the light, between the stars, it is what lies Beyond. For every cynic shouting about accidents of chemistry and keeping meat fresh, there is this; the soft song to negate the Nothing, to defy and say, 'No, there is more'.


It is gone from him, now. The binding pulls, and he doesn't resist,
(goddamn him, damn those blue eyes and conspiratory smile, he has you cut down to the quivering muscle and he's always known)
just moves, wordless, half-resentful, unarmed by his own feelings. 'Love' is such a paltry noun-- stupid and small and worn from overuse. The letters can't hold this feeling, the vowels burst from the heat, but he says it because
(you're dying)
it's the only thing he has.


He is
(Jones, Ianto Jones.)
the boy sitting in the snow by the back garden wall
the student who absorbs but does not speak; correlating, devouring knowledge
the son cradling his mother's hand in the too-white hospital
the teenager who calmly holds his arms out so the officer can cuff him for shoplifting
the young man who feels the shape and order of his archives like the curves of a secret mistress
the panicked lover in the burning, smoke-lit-red chaos of Canary Wharf.




("Lisa died at Torchwood One," you say, sitting slumped and undignified on your kitchen floor. Jack is some ways away, legs folded, oddly calm. He says nothing-- and better than that, his eyes say nothing-- but the feel of his kiss burns on your mouth like a brand. You want to fight, but you're exhausted. You want to find a chink, just a small one, in the Captain's powerful facade. Anger or resentment, some sort of weakness you can stir and needle until he does Retcon you and every acidic moment of this nightmare dissolves into chemical white. You rally, one last time over the top, and whisper, "I died at Torchwood One." Except that's not exactly true, and Jack knows it.

"Liar," Harkness says, but there's no heat in the word. Only something, hidden behind that handsome face, that aches and aches and cannot stop aching. It's brief, gone as soon as you realize you've seen it, but that look lives in your memory like his touch on your skin.

"I don't sleep through the night," you tell him, hating yourself for speaking but unable to stop. "I keep waking up because it's time for her meds." More than that, it's in your jumbled dreams. A blur, an infection, so that every half-conscious thought is about changing the IV, alternating electrical currents, and whether or not you can convince her to try and keep some sort of real food down. It's with you, this ghastly knowledge of failure, it rapes you with sure fingers every time you close your eyes.

"You'll sleep," Jack says. He's close again. You should never have taken your eyes off him-- you
know better-- but here he is, kneeling next to you by the stove. His hand is warm on the back of your neck, wide and sure and strong. Like the flutter of a thoughtless moth, his other hand returns to your pulse, tracing.


"I shouldn't let you touch me," you say, not so much to him as to your own malfunctioning gut. There's that twitch of Jack's lips, not quite a smile-- he leans over and presses those lips to your forehead in a quick, chaste kiss. Half-offended and half-touched, you stare at him as he stands, reaching out a hand to help you up. Logic and order, plan upon careful plan, and it's all come down to Jack standing in your kitchen, the only vibrant thing in your colorless flat. You could slap his hand away now-- the endlessly shifting, calculating portion of your mind encourages this. If you came at him with your not-inconsiderable right hook, you might just make him angry enough, disgusted enough to end this today.

Bite me once, shame on you, or so the saying goes. It's Mam's voice-- it might be rational and it might not-- but the echo is real. Bite me twice...

"Shame on me," you whisper, so softly you know Jack doesn't hear you. And, without any conscious thought behind it, your hand is in his. He pulls you up, holding your fingers with an odd sort of care, and you tell yourself you have just made a choice.

Except you really
are a liar; you know there was never any choice at all.)



Ianto sees all this, the perfect sphere of memory amidst the confusion. Like an artfully forged chain, it leads forward and back, the line of his life the same as the grooves in his palm. He struggles a little against this small but vital pivot-- there's more, but the grid of the map is faded and he can't
(doesn't want to)
remember.

There's Jack, of course. Jack, working his way under the skin, slowly becoming as much a part of the body as vein or bone. Always smiling, flirting, taking more than Ianto was ever willing to give. The shape of this new loyalty is the curve of Jack's back against his chest, all arrogant charm and jarringly selfish sacrifice. The scars begin to close over, but Ianto wants to keep digging at them, keep them infected because, if he lets them heal, he'll lose his last protection.

Time moves
(differently for Jack)
relentlessly. It makes quick, thumbnail sketches of precious intimacy; it watches Gwen waver between Torchwood and the outside world; it steals Tosh and kills Owen twice over, as if certain it didn't get it right the first time. No Torchwood employee has ever lived to draw their pension-- Ianto is twenty-six and treading water, hyperaware of every risk and somehow insanely at peace. He (loves) cares for a man who can slip through Death's fingers, but Ianto knows that-- in his case-- when the house lights go down, that's it. Show's over, this is the point of termination, no departures or arrivals forevermore.



The pragmatism and fantastic order of Ianto's soul make this knowledge endurable-- make it rational. He has always been-- and will always be-- at his most relaxed when everything is in its place. But there's a hidden shard of romanticism in him, a vein of precious metal running through the practical earth. It gives him his creativity, his grasp of the abstract, his affection for the sarcastic and the absurd. And, here in the In-Between Lands, it is what saves him. He moves towards that moment etched on his soul, the final line on the monolith and-- though he is afraid-- he is also stubbornly himself.

("There's steel in you," Jack remarked once, after you disobeyed orders and subtly led Gwen to Flat Holm. Not surprised, but admiring. Peeling away your artfully tucked suit, kissing until your lips are bruised and you still climbed over him, forced him down, asking for more. You struggled against one another, half-irritated and half-playful, and he said, "Some metals are stronger than their forge.")



So here it is: and what's to be scared of? He knows its the end, but Jack is with him. Here, huddled together on the wonderland tile of Thames House, Jack holds him and asks him to stay. Ianto's chest hurts
(he can't breathe)
and he has to say it
(don't, Jack says don't)
but he also has to be honest
('A thousand years time, you won't remember my name')
and that's okay.
(it's not)
What is death but the final settling of accounts, the heart weighed against a feather, the River of Lethe that leads to the next world? Provided, of course, that Ianto believes any of these things. If there's fear in him, it stems from this, from knowing the gate will close behind him and there will be no going back.


He is not surprised that Jack is the last thing he sees-- he's bemused and oddly grateful, and he has to close his eyes. Just this room, the tile floor, frozen forever, a blip in time.


There isn't supposed to be an 'and then'.





(This is the Land of In-Between, the City called No-Place, where the clocks have no hands and every direction is the same. Here, it is always sunset and the streets cry out beneath your feet. You can feel the falseness of the image, practically see the stroke of the brush as the mind tries desperately to paint a perception. The colors are wrong and the street signs are grotesque smears of ink, but the alternative is darkness, which is no choice at all.)


Thing is, he knows that this is wrong. He knows it, feels it with the rush-and-pulse of his unexpected awareness, but he cannot make the knowledge stick. It slips through his hands, slithers
(skin that's cold and slightly clammy)
off defiantly
(muscles that tighten, no longer soft; oh, flesh of the newly dead!)
and leaves him lost, like a pilgrim dizzied by a sky full of alien stars.


Ianto doesn't want to look at this, doesn't think he can bear to. Each bleeding shard of memory is a part of him, but that is cold comfort indeed. One carries these things; everyone carries these things. Bright little buttons and dark bits of rock that catch a child's eye, pieces of memory and life, weighing heavy in the pockets of the heart and mind. Who wants to look at them all at once-- the moments of joy mixed in the withering regret, small flecks of pettiness, of stolen comfort, and all those things we hush away behind the door called FORGET? They are here with Ianto, they are timeless and immediate. Here, in the In-Between, every single one of them is happening Now.


He's falling off the swing because Da pushed him too hard; he's running across the Plass, desperate to reach the Hub and find Lisa before anyone else can. He's the toddler held on his mother's hip while she dances, holding his hand and singing 'What Becomes of the Broken Hearted'. Mam never could sing with that squeaky voice of hers, but to his infant's heart it is beautiful. He sees now the things about her he'd forgotten-- the curve of her breast for his toothless mouth, that flash of almost-envy on her face as Da and Rhiannon leaned close, Mam insisting he sit there until he finished his supper, thank you very much young man. It's all too much, and it won't stop. Here is the feeling of shame when the upper level boys take his uniform pants during gym. Here is the hard-on he got while shoplifting. Here is the flinch of hatred he felt, awake for days on end, fixing the wiring on Lisa's Conversion Unit while she screamed at him to hurry up. The feel of the trigger beneath his finger, the look on Owen's face as he fell back with the bullet's force. The chill in his gut while Gwen sat there, serene as any marble angel, holding Jack's hand in the morgue. Here, and here, and here, here, here.


(A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.)

Gwen had that printed on a magnet, one she kept stuck to the top drawer of her desk. Only Gwen Cooper would bring a thing like that into Torchwood-- one of those kitschy, well-meaning bits of pseudo-wisdom pinned up like a granny's ancient sampler. And yes, he took that magnet, pocketed it with a practiced twist of the wrist and ended up throwing it into Cardiff Bay. Ianto was living each one of those steps, a week into his release from full suspension and return to 'light' duties. Each agonizing pressure point on ankle and heel, every lurch forward through the buzz of his teammates' resentment and suspicion. Those fake-gold enamel words mocked him with every round of coffee or cleaning-- he stole the magnet like he stole the videogame he was busted for, and the two others no one ever discovered.




The yearning for time overwhelms him-- he longs for his stopwatch so earnestly that he can almost feel its weight in his palm. He needs it, for there must be reason and measurement in this place. Or is this hell, that he must keep looking at these broken reflections, admitting to them, with no hope of reprieve?

And he will admit to them-- he will own them all. 'Confession is good for the soul', as Da always said (usually while tapping the ruler against the table), so let's have at it, and why not?


(Yes, you held onto Jack's RAF coat after Abaddon, clutching it for comfort and the lingering ghost of scent. When you cried, cradling Lisa's warped and wired remains, you knew deep mourning-- but you also, in that final reserve of rationality, knew relief. You lied to Da, limping your way home from school, and so much more terrible than the beating was the fact he readily believed you simply fell. The night-- just the once-- you and Tosh spent cuddled up together on the sofa, both of you lonely and drunk and more than a little afraid. And yes, when you took yourself in hand, even during Jack's vanished months, the first thing that sprung to your hungry mind's eye was the feel of him, pressing into you, holding you, and the shape of his mouth when he smiled and went down.

Da was always pushing you, always telling you to buck up and be a man. You tried. You went for quiet endurance, and Lisa always teased that you were the strong, silent type. You were properly mortified when Jack took your hand in public, despite pool of warmth in your heart, and-- though you gave him your loyalty-- you never, ever expected him to say the words.

If you wanted it, if you wished he would... well, you were good at hiding things, even from yourself.)





It's true, it's real. All of it, whether Ianto likes it or not. He gazes on himself, the sum of time and deed and memory, weighed here in a land where nothing has a name. This is Knowledge, the fruit of the Tree in the Garden, red skin stretched to bursting with strange seeds. That image sticks with him, overwhelms the terrible intimacy of being forced to examine himself. He turns it over, heavy as it is with the echoes of 'thou shalt not'. Hasn't he always though Jack had a face like an archangel, like a rebel who'd bitten into the fruit and cared not? There was the Tree of Knowledge, but there was also...

(the Tree of Eternal Life)



The tree.

Something ephemeral changes, some firming of texture or brightening of color that leaves Ianto breathless. He is awake and asleep, he is present and not, in some impossible marriage of light and shadow. Opening eyes that are not quite eyes, he sees the tree. It's a stunted, twisted little thing-- white like
(ghost wood)
marble. Though he sees it, it is far more important to note that it sees him. There are more words
("Daaih lou!")
he doesn't understand, before one last merciful crash of red-and-gold pulls him under and bears him away.


Pulled on this swell of affection, of need, he is as one caught by the massive force of a wave. The very definition of the word 'possessed'. Wanted, ardently anticipated, Ianto knows he must answer. He is lifted, he is carried, and the arms that hold him belong to Jack. That's good, that's more than Ianto would have asked for; Jack's voice reaches him from
(where?)
fathoms off,
('I told you I'd come for you, Ianto. I told you I wouldn't forget')
sometimes intelligible, sometimes lost in a beautiful cascade of foreign sounds. The play of that beloved tenor draws him, recalls touch and warmth against his lips and jaw. He drinks of it, deeply, lets it bind his hands with stabs of heady desire. It is Jack, always Jack, the arch of that truism as comforting as it is deeply terrible. Somehow, Jack has reached him, soothed a pain too overwhelming to register until it began to ease. There is touch in this narrow kingdom; the siege is over and the walls have come down, Ianto is found-- not lost, but found!



As he drinks and dreams, Ianto Jones envisions the weight of a beautiful, ripe ruby orb in his hand. The curve of the fruit is sensual, it is lit almost from within by a gold so familiar that it takes his breath away.


He bites into it, and it tastes so sweet.





* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

GLOSSARY:

Daaih louh- lit, Elder brother. Also used as respect for a male aquaintance younger than one's father.
Tsazhou- this one, I made up. From Boeshane, 'Bound One'.






TO BE CONTINUED


Do you think Daleks come in Easter colors, the way Peeps do? So, we could have a whole conga line of pink daleks, and yellow daleks, and purple daleks... *is disturbed by her own train of thought* Still, feedback is just like peeps, dalek-shaped or no. It's sweet and gooey, and it makes Meredith so happy she explodes, just like when you put a peep in the microwave.

Well, I don't really explode at feedback, but I do get gooey. And y'all know I have no shame. *puppy dog eyes* Please...? ^___^





.
 
 
Emotional Temperature: cheerfulcheerful
The Band Plays:: "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted"-- by Jimmy Ruffin
 
 
 
Missus Howard: Tosh/Iantosyien_island on April 8th, 2010 07:27 pm (UTC)
Guuuuhhhhh...I shouldn't have read this while listening to the Cinematic Orchestra's Ma Fluer album. That, combined with beautifully written, poetry-like fic always has me in tears.
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: notafraidgarnettrees on April 9th, 2010 05:06 am (UTC)
*grins* I have an almost-completely-instrumental playlist for writing this fic, so I was ridiculously pleased that the orchestra association came through. I'm glad this chapter wasn't too confusing-- some things are more easy to communicate in poetry than in prose. It's good to know the mix worked! Thank you!
-Meredith
doves_wingdoves_wing on April 8th, 2010 07:28 pm (UTC)
*sigh* Your imagery is just amazing. You got the floaty, weird feel of the place across really well. And the symbolism. And the different Death Theories (it's what I call them, anyways) and just... gah. It's all good. ^_^;
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: carolgarnettrees on April 9th, 2010 05:09 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for commenting! The imagery was the thing I was most nervous about for this chapter, actually, since there is no 'physical' space for death or a coma-like state. I'm glad the metaphors worked for you. I imagine sometimes what we bring our 'death theories' with us as we cross over to... whatever. To me, it's the ultimate mystery. ^_^;;

Again, I really appreciate the kind comments!
-Meredith
dreamcrazy26dreamcrazy26 on April 8th, 2010 10:00 pm (UTC)
I've been reading this for a while now and I just though I'd stop and say how beautiful your writing is. It nearly brings me to tears every time, which isn't easy to do. But this chapter especially with Ianto's reflection has left me stunned at the sheer beauty that you are able to write. I love it and can't wait for the next chapter.
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: magicgarnettrees on April 9th, 2010 05:11 am (UTC)
*blushes violently* Thank you so much for all your kind words! I'm so glad the story-- and this chapter in particular-- are appealing to you. I'm not a very good artist, and I think sometimes it would be easier to 'paint' some of these things than describe them, but we all do what we can. I'm so happy these word-pictures come across well to others!

Thanks again!
-Meredith
Silvera_silver_story on April 8th, 2010 10:03 pm (UTC)
Loving this fic! It's beautiful, and I love your OC's (though sometimes it does feel like you concentrate on them more than Jack and Ianto, but they are wonderful characters so I can more than forgive you).

I don't know if this has been flagged or fixed already, but you have some errant coding about halfway through - you close a '</i>' without opening it (on a sentence something like, "Thing is, he</i> ....". I also noticed in an earlier chapter you said "lightyears into the future", which doesn't really make sense as lightyears are a measurement of distance, not time :)

I shall look forward to updates this fic eagerly! It's well written, imaginative and really sucks you in. I love the amount of detail you put in (though Jack knowing Chinese is a semi-plot hole that for the sake of this fic can be swept under the carpet and stamped on) and the background for Jack you've presented - as well as the background for your OC's. I don't know if you knew all the traditions and phrases and rituals and stuff before you started this or if it was already knowledge for you (for all I know, you could be native!) but again, I love all the detail there and I feel like I've learned while reading, which I think is very important.

However, I found the formatting for this chapter confusing occasionally. I think it would be better if you decided on a format for each style - for example, all your prose regular, all your second person prose in italics, all your flashbacks in brackets and italicized, etc. But that's totally just my viewpoint, as in my opinion the chapter felt messy and confusing (though now I say that ... that's probably what you were going for ... erm ... shut up, Silver!).

... I'll go back to my corner before I do more damage ....

xx

Edited at 2010-04-08 10:05 pm (UTC)
megc81madame_mary on April 8th, 2010 11:02 pm (UTC)
I have only just found this, it is truly beautiful. I just stayed up til midnight just to read the ones i'd missed. Oh, and I love your OCs they really add to the fic in a perfect way, adding a deeper dimension to the story. xx
(no subject) - garnettrees on April 9th, 2010 05:29 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - garnettrees on April 9th, 2010 05:26 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - a_silver_story on April 9th, 2010 08:33 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - garnettrees on April 12th, 2010 05:27 am (UTC) (Expand)
Cat Moon: punishedmscatmoon on April 8th, 2010 10:56 pm (UTC)
Woke up late, so I'm rushed to get to work. Although I can't take time to comment properly now, I know you're especially nervous about this chapter because it's Ianto, so I wanted to tell you it's just perfect! I love it! I promise I will be back in about 12 hours with my usual 10 pages of comment. LOL.


Meredith Bronwen Mallory: kissmegarnettrees on April 9th, 2010 05:31 am (UTC)
Here's hoping you get to work on time, my dear! *crosses fingers* I appreciate you taking the time to comment, anyway. I'm so glad to hear Ianto came through properly. I dunno why he's so hard for me to write-- probably because I adore him so much I give myself performance anxiety. ^^;;

LOL. I'll look forward to whatever you have to say. As I said at the beginning of the chapter, your comments really helped me iron out some ideas and get some fresh angles. I owe you!
-Meredith
cen_evanscen_evans on April 9th, 2010 01:39 am (UTC)
Oh wow. This was utterly amazing. Dammit but I'm running out of compliments! There aren't enough in the English language to describe this fic.

I especially liked this part:

"But there's a hidden shard of romanticism in him, a vein of precious metal running through the practical earth. It gives him his creativity, his grasp of the abstract, his affection for the sarcastic and the absurd."

Beautiful, and very Ianto.

Can't wait for the next update!
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: partnersgarnettrees on April 9th, 2010 05:34 am (UTC)
Awww... I think that was actually the line I wrote first, before I started on the rest of the chapter. It gave me something to build from, so I'm really glad it appealed to you. There's so much that harmonizes and contradicts about Ianto's character-- he's neat and practical, yet he was willing to sacrifice everything for love, and he's so deeply loyal to Jack... I've always been drawn to his quiet intelligence.

Thank you so much for commenting! I'm always pleased to hear from you!
-Meredith
illusion_hope: jackxiantoillusion_hope on April 9th, 2010 03:35 am (UTC)
Oh god... the imagery... half of the time my heart stopped, and the other time I kept on imagining along with the imagery. And for some reason, I kept on seeing, along with the imagery you presented, the scene of hell from the movie Constitine.
:X But it was wonderful to imagine.

As he drinks and dreams, Ianto Jones envisions the weight of a beautiful, ripe ruby orb in his hand. The curve of the fruit is sensual, it is lit almost from within by a gold so familiar that it takes his breath away.
He bites into it, and it tastes so sweet.


This was a wonderful tie in with Ianto, Jack and Jack's blood. Almost wicked in detail, but oddly romantic.

Ianto's characterization is well-done. Especially the description of who he is.
He is
(Jones, Ianto Jones.)
the boy sitting in the snow by the back garden wall
the student who absorbs but does not speak; correlating, devouring knowledge
the son cradling his mother's hand in the too-white hospital
the teenager who calmly holds his arms out so the officer can cuff him for shoplifting
the young man who feels the shape and order of his archives like the curves of a secret mistress
the panicked lover in the burning, smoke-lit-red chaos of Canary Wharf.

<3. I know I'm not giving much to help you out (other than praise you repeatedly), but this is a wonderful chapter. Wonderful wonderful wonderful. If I already didn't put this on my delicious (which I did a while back), I would have. And recced it repeatedly.
And don't worry about this chapter. It was lovely, creepy but a wonderful creepy that I want to hug. His yearning and his humanism speaks out well, and so does the imagery of the 'Land-in-Between'.
Okay, I'm going to zip up and stop gushing.
Just one more thing.
Guh.
XP
(Can't wait to read more! And don't be nervous!)
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: lotusgarnettrees on April 9th, 2010 05:43 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for commenting on this chapter, especially on the imagery. I was really nervous about avoiding traditional 'afterlife' cliches, but still having something firm enough to keep from delving into too much philosophy. I'm also glad the tree-fruit imagery worked. I've always found the Garden of Eden oddly compelling and I think, somehow, there's a bit of religious upbringing in Ianto's background that would creep into his subconcious, whether he wanted it to or not. ^_^

His yearning and his humanism speaks out well
You know, I'd never thought of it like that before... Ianto really is a wonderful example of humanism, though. He's brave, loyal, dedicated, intelligent, skilled and hard-working... all of which he can attribute to his own inner strength of character. He's a servant of humanity in a very real sense, and I imagine mixing Torchwood and organized religion would be very difficult. A religious foundation might exist in his past, but you're definitely right... Ianto has wonder and zest for the universe, and no real room for a construct of 'god'. Interesting!

I know I'm not giving much to help you out (other than praise you repeatedly)
Oh, my dear, you're of great help to me! I'm always thrilled to hear from people-- it gives me the energy to write, and 'hearing' what other people get from my writing (as opposed to what I put in) is an awesome way to get new ideas. And you definitely gave me something to think about tonight!

Thanks again!
-Meredith
Heather: ustheddychaa on April 9th, 2010 04:33 am (UTC)
This chapter is nearly prose poetry! I loved the switching between second and third POV throughout. Very effective! Lovely lyrical writing, very understated and very sad and very thoughtful and very Ianto. <3
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: wyrdgarnettrees on April 9th, 2010 05:45 am (UTC)
This chapter is nearly prose poetry!
Now that makes me a happy girl! It's hard to mix the two to the right consistency, so I'm very glad you liked it enough to comment! And 'very Ianto' is just what I needed to hear!

Thank you!
-Meredith
captannecaptanne on April 9th, 2010 04:40 am (UTC)
Ah, and now we see Ianto's fever dream of Near Death. (Or is it Death Itself as he moves through the terrain?) And it's fabulous. Just fabulous.

I'm not even going to comment on the chocolaty goodness because there is simply too much of it! :-) A tiny one, though, that made me giggle is that Ianto is still the little thief -- stealing Gwen's treacly magnet and tossing it overboard. LOL

The only paragraph I stumbled over, though, was this one:

"Ianto sees all this, the perfect sphere of memory amidst the confusion. Like an artfully forged chain, it leads forward and back, the line of his life the same as the grooves in his palm. He struggles a little against this small bit vital pivot-- there's more, but the grid of the map is faded and he can't
(doesn't want to) remember."

I stumbled because I got all turned around in the metaphors. He sees a sphere that is a chain with a pivot and a faded grid on a map. All of that in one fell swoop was a bit much for my addled pate to handle. Also, "small b-u-t pivotal", I think there might be an utterly inconsequential typo there?

But seriously, this chapter is what I've been waiting for and then hangs me out over the edge again...almost touching your Ianto but not quite -- like two magnets repelling -- I can see he's there but he doesn't respond. GAH!

Awesome. Just awesome. As Tim Curry said, "I shiver with antici---pay--shun!"
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: teamgarnettrees on April 9th, 2010 05:51 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for commenting once again, Capitanne! I'm glad this chapter pleased you-- chocolate is always a wonderful thing to be compared to! ^___^

A tiny one, though, that made me giggle is that Ianto is still the little thief -- stealing Gwen's treacly magnet and tossing it overboard. LOL
See, I'm really glad you liked that. I hesitated about including it-- the whole idea came to me on the fly, but my beta convinced me to keep it in. It's good to know that was the right choice. Can't you just see Gwen bringing something like that with her to Torchwood, anyway? *giggles*

Sorry about the metaphor confusion. I think I was trying to go for the fluidity/lack-of-real-reference in the place and got lost. Heck, I think it was something like 2 am when I wrote that. (My nieces tease me that I can't even get started writing before 11 pm. X_X;;) Thank you for pointing out the typo, though. Just goes to show you that, no matter how many times Ayashi and I go over this, we always miss something. Oy vey.

As Tim Curry said, "I shiver with antici---pay--shun!"
I may draw things out, but I can assure you I'm not a tease. I have every intention of fulfilling my promise. *cheesey Harkness wink*
-Meredith
lone_star_woman: ianto sniffing coffeelone_star_woman on April 9th, 2010 06:29 am (UTC)
Hooray, it's Thursday, and I get to read another marvelous chapter.

There are so many insightful little nuggets about Ianto. I especially loved: the student who absorbs but does not speak; correlating, devouring knowledge and the part about his dying words at Thames House.

And then there's this:

The pragmatism and fantastic order of Ianto's soul make this knowledge endurable-- make it rational. He has always been-- and will always be-- at his most relaxed when everything is in its place. But there's a hidden shard of romanticism in him, a vein of precious metal running through the practical earth. It gives him his creativity, his grasp of the abstract, his affection for the sarcastic and the absurd.

Oh, yes. It's the contradictions in Ianto's character that I find immensly fascinating and the reason why I love him so and keep writing him.

Argh, this is gorgeous. Thank you for sharing.
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: gunslingergarnettrees on April 12th, 2010 05:32 am (UTC)
Hooray, it's Thursday, and I get to read another marvelous chapter.
*grins* Aw, thank you! I'm glad I could make your Thursday a little more interesting. It's one of those days that's just sort of... there. It's not a Friday, and it's not the mid-week pinacle, nor is it the hideous Monday we so fear. Hmmm. ^_~

There are so many insightful little nuggets about Ianto.
Really? I'm so, so relieved to hear that! I adore Ianto to bits, and I absolutely drove myself to the bughouse trying to get him 'right' in this chapter. Thank you so much for saying that!

I absolutely agree with you-- the contradictions, the seeming balance of matter and anti-matter in one young man, are what make Ianto a fascinating character. He has so much potential. *glares at RTD*

Thank you for commenting!
-Meredith
deepsorskiesdeepsorskies on April 9th, 2010 06:39 am (UTC)
Again an incredibly stunning chapter! I'm always astounded by the way you weave words and imagery together. Starting to read, I thought for sure this would be my favourite sentence of the chapter:

>This is the place where lightning burns the sand to glass; the wild black ocean lit by a burning moon; the thin slice of nothing that separates your shadow from the wall.<

In a way, it still is, but you create so many wonderful, powerful images here that it's impossible to chose just one. Great writing!

I think your version of Ianto works very well, the way he is inescapably bound to Jack but constantly observes his own behaviour. I don't know why, but I wasn't expecting to be reading what's happening from his perspective. It really works, though!
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: boomer2garnettrees on April 12th, 2010 05:36 am (UTC)
In a way, it still is, but you create so many wonderful, powerful images here that it's impossible to chose just one.
I'm so glad to hear you liked that sentence-- it was actually one of the first bits that came to me about the In-Between state. I was having a hard time thinking of ways to differentiate it from the void, and then lightning struck. Somewhat literally, in this case! ^_~

I don't know why, but I wasn't expecting to be reading what's happening from his perspective. It really works, though!
I actually wasn't expecting to write it. But, as I kept going along, I realized there had been so many changes to Jack's mindset that I couldn't avoid dealing with Ianto's as well. And he seemed so.. resigned in Thames House. Like he went in there, ready to die. I started wondering if he began other days that way. He seems like a very self-conscious person underneath the mask of serenity. I think that's back of what makes him attractive. Peeling away the neatly pressed suit.

I'm so glad this chapter worked for you! It makes it all worth while!
-Meredith
Cat Moon: beautymscatmoon on April 9th, 2010 11:01 am (UTC)
To know I've inspired anything in this story is a huge thrill. I know how you feel about adoring Ianto/anxiety because I have a bad case of it myself. Makes the idea of trying to write such an amazing and complicated character very daunting! You've done a job worthy of him.

I like how Ianto is now having his turn at introspection.

There's Jack, of course. Jack, working his way under the skin, slowly becoming as much a part of the body as vein or bone. Always smiling, flirting, taking more than Ianto was ever willing to give. The shape of this new loyalty is the curve of Jack's back against his chest, all arrogant charm and jarringly selfish sacrifice. The scars begin to close over, but Ianto wants to keep digging at them, keep them infected because, if he lets them heal, he'll lose his last protection.

Gives me chills! It's a fantastic insight. I can SEE this so clearly, that Ianto might want to keep the pain of Lisa because to lose it meant losing himself in Jack instead, and knowing what the cost of that is (which has just been raised to a level I'm sure he could never have imagined). You’ve really nailed the complexity that is Ianto, the reason we all love him so much and are so fascinated.

From: The pragmatism and fantastic order of Ianto's soul make this knowledge endurable-- make it rational.
To: And, here in the In-Between Lands, it is what saves him. He moves towards that moment etched on his soul, the final line on the monolith and-- though he is afraid-- he is also stubbornly himself.

Didn't quote the whole thing as several others have zeroed in on this paragraph too, but it's another great one. It will be interesting to see how you integrate the changes his new situation brings into the whole of Ianto Jones and how he deals in his own, unique way.

There isn't supposed to be an 'and then'. Had to LOL at that! Would certainly confuse poor Ianto's orderly mind!

Again, love the poetic way you write.

Must be a difficult place Ianto is in in this chapter, having all his memories, things he’s rightly forgotten, all accessible NOW. God knows he hasn’t had the easiest life. And to have to remember those flashes of feeling we all have, ones we feel are inappropriate and are ashamed of (like hatred while helping Lisa) is just terrible for him. Good memories too though, nice that he’s able to remember his mother more clearly than he could before. Perhaps he’s going to get his hell and heaven here and now because he wasn’t allowed to remain dead. In this place of no time, certainly he would long for it! There’s always been an interesting connection between him and time, especially when you consider who he fell for. I don’t believe that was an accident. It was never hinted at, but I think there were things that attracted Ianto to Jack specifically, things about his immortality and Time. I just haven’t quite worked it out in my head yet.

Loved the little tidbit aboutIanto and Tosh. Like that subtle reveal better than exaggerated stories of deep friendship, it seems to fit the series and characters better. NO ONE ever talks about things in TW, not really.

Da was always pushing you, always telling you to buck up and be a man. You tried. You went for quiet endurance, and Lisa always teased that you were the strong, silent type. You were properly mortified when Jack took your hand in public, despite pool of warmth in your heart, and-- though you gave him your loyalty-- you never, ever expected him to say the words.

Oh god I just love this! I could quote the whole thing! It's almost like you're in my head because you describe Ianto exactly as I see him, and I've never seen anyone put it down in words this perfectly. I love the little glimpses of Ianto’s personal intimate feelings for Jack, just like the ones we got with Jack. You’ve stripped away the façade and shown us an intimate portrait of Ianto Jones.

PS: OMG, I actually went over the word limit allowed on comments?! I don't know whether to be ashamed, horrified, or proud. LOL. Um, yeah, maybe this is the time to confess that I'm just as obsessed with Ianto as Jack is. ;)



Meredith Bronwen Mallory: kissmegarnettrees on April 12th, 2010 05:53 am (UTC)
To know I've inspired anything in this story is a huge thrill. I know how you feel about adoring Ianto/anxiety because I have a bad case of it myself.
You really have helped so much. In talking with you, I realized that Jack's mental stance had altered in such a way that I couldn't avoid addressing Ianto's journey back. When he went into Thames House, it seems almost like he didn't expect to come out. I coulnd't help but wonder how much of that came from Torchwood in general, and how much might be a symptom of having so recently lost Tosh and Owen. When I listen to his monologue in 'Deadline', I hear a young man who takes each day as an unexpected boon. It's like he forgot how to imagine the future, after Lisa. Jack has taught him all about Now, but-- as you pointed out-- this change in circumstances will need an eye for the future.

Thank you so, so much for your kind comments on this chapter. You nailed all the reasons I was nervous about handling Ianto. He's just... a very unique character, and I needed to get him right.

You’ve really nailed the complexity that is Ianto, the reason we all love him so much and are so fascinated.
Jack is so charismatic-- it's hard not to feel engulfed by his energy, even as you're just watching. I imagine Ianto feels the power tenfold. And, as deeply as he's capable of loving, I think he's also very aware of the power dynamics that come with love.

There’s always been an interesting connection between him and time, especially when you consider who he fell for. I don’t believe that was an accident.
Yes, yes, yes! The first time I saw him with his stopwatch, I boggled, because it seemed to have so much weight. So much could have been done with that... I hope to do something with it here, too, though it won't be nearly as satisfying as if we could see something on screen. ;_; *coe mini-trantrum* Okay, I'm finished. For now. ^_~

Loved the little tidbit aboutIanto and Tosh.
I'm so glad that stood out and worked for you! I've always thought they were probably close, in an understated sense. You're right-- Torchwood is not big on talking about feelings outside of life-threatening situations. But it struck me while watching "Greeks" the other day; when Tosh hears Ianto's thoughts, she looks up at him as though she's seeing him for the first time. I think she saw in him an emptiness like an echo.

You’ve stripped away the façade and shown us an intimate portrait of Ianto Jones.
That is seriously the best compliment I could hope for in this chapter. Thank you, my dear.

Um, yeah, maybe this is the time to confess that I'm just as obsessed with Ianto as Jack is. ;)
Heh. Join the club! ^_~ And I've gone over the comment limit before, so don't feel bad. I let my fervent love of Richard Winters from Band of Brothers get to me in regards to one fic, and I was off to the races! *sheepish*

Thanks again,
Meredith
hab318princesshab318princess on April 11th, 2010 08:22 pm (UTC)
that was gorgeous
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: boomer1garnettrees on April 12th, 2010 05:37 am (UTC)
*blushes* You're too kind! Thank you!
mcparrotmcparrot on April 12th, 2010 05:27 am (UTC)
More thumbs up, slightly creepy, very poetical and also hopeful. Ianto is coming back, from somewhere
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: wyrdgarnettrees on April 12th, 2010 05:39 am (UTC)
*grins* I promised Ianto, and I shall deliver! I'm so happy to hear you're enjoying the journey. And creepy, in this story, is a word I'm pleased to hear. ^__^ Thank you!
-Meredith
badly_knitted: A Fic So Goodbadly_knitted on June 10th, 2010 01:05 pm (UTC)
Breathtaking! Ianto's perceptions of the In-Between place are at once vivid and ephermeral, slipping between the fingers, escaping even as they are registered. Fragments of his past, his memories, weaving in and out, creating a tapestry of his life, who he was and how he fitted with the people around him, the ones closest to him.
I love the scene with Jack, sitting on the kitchen floor. It's such an odd place to sit, which somehow makes it feel more real. And I can imagine how Gwen's magnet seemed to taunt Ianto day in and day out until he couldn't bear it any more and had to get rid of it.
But most of all I love the imagery surrounding Ianto's perceptions of the cord drawing him back and his drinking Jack's like blood for the first time, direct from the source. Those images are powerfully emotional (everything is in this chapter, going through a huge range of emotions) and deeply intimate. A superb chapter!

Sorry I haven't been around for a while, things keep getting a bit hectic and there seldom seems to be time to give this the attention it deserves. I know there's another chapter, and I'll get to that as soon as I can. May I friend you, so that I don't miss anything important? I can't bear the thought of not following this through to the end!