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12 January 2010 @ 02:54 pm
[fic] In Amnion, pro/? (Torchwood; Jack/Ianto, post-COE, MA)  
Nervous as I am, I can't help but post. 'Tis the curse of the fic writer, it is. ^_~ I give you the story I've been threatening since August:

AUTHOR'S NOTES: First off, I have to thank you for taking the time to read this. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it! I actually started writing this back on August 12th of 2009, so COE was pretty fresh for me. I finished this part-- the prologue-- and thought it would be enough to help me rationalize that trainwreck of a third season, so I could go back to writing "Certain for the Dead" or "Things Rank and Gross Possess it Merely".
... but, like a lot of people, I got stuck. COE was such a block. I couldn't get past it, and took to delving back into my very first slash pairing (original Star Trek Kirk/Spock) for comfort. But I really do love Jack/Ianto-- I love their loyality, their wit, their heroic aspects and their dark sides-- so... here we are again. I polished this up a little and started writing more. At this point, I have a total of nine pages and two chapters. I'll post Chapter One next week, after my darling beta finishes up with it. I'm really nervous about posting this. This takes place after Day Five, with some slight alterations. It's not so much a COE fix-it as it is a consequence, though I do promise you a happy Janto ending.

I admit it. I'm a hopeless romantic. Just... sometimes not a very nice one. ^^;;

*deep breath* I'm very nerous. So I'll be quiet now.

Again, Thank you for reading. If I could trouble you a bit more to comment, it would make me happy like a break-dancing weevil. ^_~

DISCLAIMER: Torchwood is copyright BBC, and Russel T. Davies. I'm making no money off this, and am not affliated with the above. Why can't we have nice things!?

In Amnion
by Meredith Bronwen Mallory

amnion - noun. the innermost of the embryonic or fetal membranes of reptiles, birds, and mammals; the sac in which the embryo is suspended.

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

Jack Harkness would later tell himself he did not conciously remember chosing to abandon the strictures that once governed his interference in the Timestream. Like so many other breathless, broken moments of his past, he would wall it off with the rush of instinct, as if that could somehow offer a sliver of absolution.
The truth was, he knew exactly when the decision was made.

The UNIT medics had been loading the body onto yet another of their seemingly endless gurneys-- cleaning up the remnants of the Thames House massacre like a hive of expressionless, waxy carion bugs. Deathwatch beetles, in their dark helmets, breaking the general hum of work as they cut lables and called out numbers.
Snick. "One forty nine!" And then the zip of the body bag, thick and oily.
Snick. "One seventy seven!" Zip.
There was an awful, unconcious rhythm to it, and Jack took dark pleasure in the ripple of disturbance he caused as he pushed past the technicians. There were looks, whispers, and some openly raised fingers to point; Jack kept his eyes on the hand of the nurse poised to zip up yet another bag. Crossing the room and making no effort to slow his strides for Gwen's sake, Jack grabbed the nurse's heavyly gloved wrist, pushing her hand roughly away. Ianto lay still in that sick black cocoon, limbs arranged a little haphazardly within the confines. His tie was askew, waistcoat rumpled, and his sideburns were matted with dried sweat, but he was beautiful. As poised and empty as the marble boy-gods of Rome. Jack brushed a light touch over his lover's forehead, thoughtlessly straighting and smoothing his suit. The woman he'd swept aside was protesting, something about possible lingering contaminants. Jack spared her a single, barren glance, and she shut up, fluttering her hands uselessly as her eyes silently appealed to Gwen for help.

"Jack," Gwen murmured, putting a hand on his shoulder. Close-- too close. Cloying. He gently took Ianto's arms and crossed them over the younger man's chest in that attitude of eternal repose. So many funerals he'd attended over the centuries; priests and mages, acolytes and ministers, faiths and superstitions mingling into one long, disgusting buzz.

(An image rose in his brain, a tombstone on a quiet hill. 'She sleeps, and awaits her Lord'.
Ah. That one had been Estelle's. )

"How long?" Jack asked, consigning Gwen to a dark-toned shadow he saw out of the corner of his eye.
"I'm sorry?" the nurse asked, grabbing hold of her clipboard. She seemed to find some reassurance in it, for she took a step forward, putting a hand on the gurney handle. Jack raised his arm again to brush her off, but it proved to be unnessecary. "All bodies have to be collected, sir," she protested, though she moved away, arms raised in a gesture of peacable submission. "We're on a tight schedule." Almost as an afterthought, a bit ashamed; "I'm sorry for your loss."

(Rote words. The Kingdom and the power, and the glory. Forever and ever, Amen. Owen, an empty casket next to Kate in those neat, well trimmed rows. A second death. Once more, this time with feeling.)

For a moment, there was no sound at all in Jack's ears; and then, the overwhelming mundanity of human motion. Breathing and footsteps, creaking and squealing of metal, rustling of papers. The murmur of indistinct, legion voices, like the ones that flutter on the edges of a sleepless night. Too much noise.

(The clinking sound of juzu beads. White cloth and black clothing; the red and gold brocade folded over another box of nothing.
Why did Toshiko's mother have to have the same, achingly delicate features?)

"I said, 'How long?'" Jack reitterated, perfering to trace the shape of Ianto's lips than look at the medic's twisting expression of polite distress.
"Jack, don't cause a scene," Gwen was trying to pat him soothingly. He endured it, as he would the lash of the Master's electric whip.
"This man was a Torchwood Operative," the Captain said, tone hard. "All employee remains are to be kept by the Institute, as specified in Section 12 of Her Majesty's original outline."
Gwen made an exasperated noise, "Even if the tombs are unscathed, we won't be able to get down there for a long while!" Instantly, she made her voice softer, warm like burning sugar. "Love, I know this is hard, but you have to let this poor girl do her job. Ianto isn't--"

(Not dead, only sleeping. That was a good one-- very Victorian. Jack frowned, brushing an apologetic thumb over the half-healed gash on Ianto's cheek. Who had that been?)

"Contact Doctor Martha Jones at UNIT," he ordered brusquely, aware that he was interrupting what both Gwen and the nurse were trying to say, but unable to bring himself to care. "They have access to the same preservation technologies we used in our morgue." Jack bit his lip, casting his eye about the room. Mostly sargents and government types. Pencil-pushers and white-wash men. The General from UNIT was over in the corner, wearily signing clipboards and talking heatedly into his cellphone. "Never mind, I'll take care of it." He shrugged Gwen's touch away and picked up Ianto's still left hand.

(It had been Alice Guppy. Not dead, only sleeping; complete with a little marble angel, head bowed in prayer. No body of course, but the coffin had been piled high with white roses. Quite the burial for a woman with no living relations, but Emily Holroyd had seen to the whole thing. Jack remembered his inelegant snort of disbelief, watching his erstwhile nemesis cross herself before the formal grave. She'd shot him for that, of course. Later.)

Ianto did not look like he was sleeping. He didn't look like he was at peace, didn't look like anything other than dead. An empty shell.
'There's your power and glory,' Jack thought, choking. His throat was raw-- any moment, he would begin screaming, or else laugh hysterically. He thought of Ianto, forever consigned to that lightless pool-- the thick, inky _nothing_ that drowned him every time Jack himself died. No signing choirs, no Sheol, or Summer Lands of Paradise. Just that darkness too black to be real, the searing cold of something so utterly oposed to life. That, and those things that lumbered beneath, hideous and obscured.

(Further back, all the way back now. Boeshane.
May his spirit never wander, and always find home.
The hot sand; the endless, bone-crushing depth of the ocean. Papa, smoothing back his hair, talking about the red cord that bound the body to the soul. Mother and Ahmah, from the In-Worlds, laughing at his superstition, while Pa just shrugged regally. That expressive, strong shoulder roll Jack had worked so long to emulate.
'What is magic, but science you don't understand?')

He held that slim, capable hand in his own, marveling over the elegant fingers, the ink stain that remained, faint, on Ianto's wrist from two mornings prior. He kissed the knuckles, each one, with delicate attention.
You're not sleeping. Are you wandering, Ianto? I wasn't watching you, I'm sorry-- I let some damn fool cut the cord. I can't stand thinking of you down there, Yan, stuck in all that nothing. I won't tolerate it. Just stand still, love. Don't get lost.
Now a single kiss to Ianto's palm, before he carefully settled it back against the archivist's chest. He took a deep breath, one last look at that still face, and closed up the body bag before the nurse could move to do it for him.
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.

"I'll take care of this," Jack smiled, full of charm but laced with frost, as he took the nurse's clipboard and forms away. He turned and stalked towards the UNIT General; the click of Gwen's shoes as she followed sounded like a dozen Deathwatch beetles, chasing at his heels.
"-- We can still hold a funeral, of course," she said, after a moment. There was bewilderment in her tone, as if she was picking up the thread of a conversation he'd dropped. "For his family's sake. And yours." She reached for the clipboard, which he deftly held out of reach. Something flickered across her pinched and pretty features. "You know I'm here for you, Jack."
"I know." He lifted his free hand, put it briefly against her cheek. She was alive and warm and, though he could barely admit it to himself, it brought a slow burn of anger to coil up his spine. Here was Gwen; healthy, mostly unscathed, getting ready to bring a new child into the world. Gwen, who'd ducked out from under Rhys' embrace to follow Jack here. He tucked the forms safely under his arm, patted Gwen's shoulder. He made his mouth smile, and it must have seemed more geniune, because her eyes softened. After a moment, she stepped back.
She said, "Good then." As if she had won some arguement, convinced him of something. Perhaps she was even foolish enough to believe it was so.

"Thank you," he mouthed, rote, and turned back towards the General. Later, he would tell himself he hadn't made the decision yet, not then, but he was already making a mental list of debts and favors owed to him. The UNIT general was tired, probably newly promoted to deal with the mess his superiors had been swept up under. Experienced, but young; as he got closer, Jack could see a faint line of sweat along his firmly pressed uniform collar. He gripped the officer's hand, shook, and the smile on his face was the smile of a con-man who'd once known exactly how to slip out before Volcano Day. He put a pen in the General's hand.

It's okay, Ianto.

Ready or not, here I come.


Right here, next week. Same bat time, same bat channel.

*puppy eyes* Feedback is like Ianto's coffee. It's Just That Good. ^___^

Sit-Rep: An Intact Hub
Emotional Temperature: nervousnervous
The Band Plays:: "Kingdom of Welcome Addiction"-- by IAMX
missthingsplacemissthingsplace on January 12th, 2010 07:31 pm (UTC)
Great start, you have me hooked already, looking forward to seeing where you go with this.
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: kissmegarnettrees on January 13th, 2010 07:59 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad I have you interested-- we'll be going to some crazy, dark places, but I hope it'll be worth it. I'd hate to disappoint anyone! *grins*

Btw, I just adore your icon. Makes me giggle like a naughty school girl every time. ^_~
anonymousdoctorinchains on January 12th, 2010 08:07 pm (UTC)
Ditto the above. Am very curious to see what happens next! :-)
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: zoegarnettrees on January 13th, 2010 07:59 pm (UTC)
Curiousity is good! We like curious people-- I hope the next part lives up to expectations. ^_^ Hope to see you there!
ally_p_xally_p_x on January 12th, 2010 08:10 pm (UTC)
And that's me hooked as well ;-)

*waits for next part*
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: badassgarnettrees on January 13th, 2010 08:01 pm (UTC)
'Hooked'-- I feel like a dealer! *waggles eyebrows* Then again, I'm the first to admit I'm a slash addict. Forget the rehab, give me the good stuff! ^___^

Thanks so much for commenting, doll.
angstosaurangstosaur on January 12th, 2010 08:15 pm (UTC)
ah - another one who started her ventures into the realm of manlove with the original Kirk/Spock - me too, when it was on paper ... ;-)

I am familiar with that awful feeling that happened after Day 4 of COE and I sense that your fic is to feature a determined Jack who has no doubt that he will get Ianto back, no matter the costs ... bravo ... I'll be avidly tuning into this Batchannel next week ....
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: trek60sgarnettrees on January 13th, 2010 08:07 pm (UTC)
ah - another one who started her ventures into the realm of manlove with the original Kirk/Spock - me too, when it was on paper ... ;-)
Wow! I bow to your longevity-- I started watching Star Trek in reruns when I was a little girl. I always knew I was up late if I got to see Kirk and Spock. ^_^ Then, of course, they came up with TNG, but even that couldn't sway me. K/S always brings this silly little-girl smile to my face.

I am familiar with that awful feeling that happened after Day 4 of COE
I swear, it was such a crazy block. I've never had one that lasted that long without some sort of extenuating RL circumstances. Stupid RTD-- we should sue for the trauma. ^_~

I'm so glad this Jack seems believable to you! Immortal or no, everyone has their breaking point-- and Jack's heart and mind are human. I've always felt even worse for him than I have for the Doctor. At least the Doctor has regenerations to punctuate things, give him a little distance.

See you next week! ^__^
in love with your plushy Myfanwy
Missus Howardsyien_island on January 12th, 2010 08:22 pm (UTC)
I am very intrigued now. What really touched me was this part:

You're not sleeping. Are you wandering, Ianto? I wasn't watching you, I'm sorry-- I let some damn fool cut the cord. I can't stand thinking of you down there, Yan, stuck in all that nothing. I won't tolerate it. Just stand still, love. Don't get lost.
Now a single kiss to Ianto's palm, before he carefully settled it back against the archivist's chest. He took a deep breath, one last look at that still face, and closed up the body bag before the nurse could move to do it for him.
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.

I take it Jack will be going on a little journey?
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: partnersgarnettrees on January 13th, 2010 08:10 pm (UTC)
*blushes* Thank you so much for commenting. I'm so glad you liked that section-- it was actually the first bit I wrote. ^_^

I take it Jack will be going on a little journey?
Absolutely. I firmly believe Jack left Cardiff at the end of COE with a plan-- there's nothing RTD can do to convince me otherwise. This is just my version of it.
Thanks again!
hab318princess on January 12th, 2010 10:11 pm (UTC)
I'm another one who's going to be looking out for more, liked this a lot
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: dcgirlsgarnettrees on January 13th, 2010 08:11 pm (UTC)
*is mesmerised by hab318princess' icon* Um... what? ^_~

Oh, yes! Thank you, dear! I'm so glad you liked this bit, and I really hope the rest don't disappoint!
(no subject) - hab318princess on January 13th, 2010 08:24 pm (UTC) (Expand)
doves_wingdoves_wing on January 12th, 2010 10:23 pm (UTC)
You've got me hooked. I'm not sure where Jack's going, but it may or may not be good. Can't wait to find out!
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: boomer2garnettrees on January 13th, 2010 08:13 pm (UTC)
I'm so excited that people are enjoying this! I was so nervous to post it, because I know there are dozens of COE fix-its out there. Still, one more can't hurt, and it's like a fandom right of passage, yeah? ^_~

Hope to see you next week!
Janto's girljacksgirleen on January 12th, 2010 10:58 pm (UTC)
That has me in tears... What an amazing start, I am so looking forward to reading more.
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: darla_drugarnettrees on January 13th, 2010 08:14 pm (UTC)
Wow, you have an icon of something from COE I actually liked! Clearly, you are awesome!

*hands over tissues* I'm so glad you liked it-- even if its sad, I do promise you a happy ending. ^_^
(no subject) - jacksgirleen on January 13th, 2010 09:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: lotusgarnettrees on January 13th, 2010 08:15 pm (UTC)
Wow... *blushes* I'm so glad the bits about Jack's childhood didn't seem out of place. I just can't stay away from speculating about it, especially after what little we were shown. Thank you so much for the kind words!
Iantosgaliantosgal on January 13th, 2010 01:21 am (UTC)
Very interesting start! Can't wait to read more! I was so sad after day 4 so please make this a much better version! lol! x
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: jadegarnettrees on January 13th, 2010 08:17 pm (UTC)
Day Four was just awful... I have to tell you, I didn't even watch Day Five when it first aired. I was too upset. But, I do promise you I love our boys (unlike someone we know), and I'll get them back together. ^_^

Thanks for reading!
BeeIncarnatebeeincarnate on January 13th, 2010 06:12 am (UTC)
Oh my gosh! I used to read your Anakin/Padme Star Wars stuff, which became like 90% of my headcanon for them! I had no idea you wrote Whoniverse stuff! I'm so excited to read this! **is gleeful** :) :) :)

- Bee
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: frozengarnettrees on January 13th, 2010 08:20 pm (UTC)
Golly, it's a small internet! *blushes* Is it possible I know you from the JC boards? Regardless, I'm always happy to meet someone cross-fandom! Thank you so much for the kind words about my A/P stuff, and for reading this piece. ^_^
lotus_blue9lotus_blue9 on January 13th, 2010 10:33 am (UTC)
This is very intriguing. I'm looking forward to reading more.
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: ohiknowgarnettrees on January 13th, 2010 08:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I hope the rest lives up to the standard! ^___^;;
badly_knitted: I've Been Russelledbadly_knitted on January 13th, 2010 08:08 pm (UTC)
Can't wait to see where you're going with this. Like a lot of people, I'm still reeling from the after effects of CoE (even though I'm still also denying its existence), so this is another very welcome addition to my reading list. Eagerly awaiting the next chapter =)
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: intentiongarnettrees on January 13th, 2010 08:22 pm (UTC)
Like a lot of people, I'm still reeling from the after effects of CoE (even though I'm still also denying its existence)
We Ianto fans are so talented at multitasking, aren't we? I know exactly what you mean, believe me.

Thank you so much for the comment! This fic will get a bit dark, but I promise you I really am a hopeless romantic. *sheepish*
truenorth7truenorth7 on January 14th, 2010 12:29 pm (UTC)
Ok youhave me hooked! Great start and I look forward to more!
winterbubbleteawinterbubbletea on January 15th, 2010 06:22 am (UTC)
You absolutely got my attention. It sounds like Jack is about to cross the line to jerk Ianto back to life.