01. Pick a character, pairing, or fandom you like.
02. Turn on your music player and put it on random/shuffle.
03. Write a ficlet related to each song that plays. You only have the time frame of the song to finish the ficlet; you start when the song starts, and stop when it’s over. No lingering afterwards!
04. Do ten of these, then post them.
1. The Sleepless Sailor, Kate Rusby (post-Countrycide)
It’s the bed rocking like a boat on a peaceful sea that does Ianto in. The sea’s in his blood, always has been, and the gentle rocking is just enough to make him relax in Jack’s arms and close his eyes.
“There,” Jack whispers, “there you go. You’re safe here.”
Ianto can only press his face against Jack’s shoulder to say he knows.
2. So Far Away, Carole King (Jack’s-missing-time)
The heartbreaking part, Toshiko says to Gwen, is seeing Ianto’s face each time the Rift activity turns out not to be Jack coming back. Look at him, she says, he’s devastated.
How can you tell? Gwen says, not to be cruel, but it seems to her that nothing about Ianto is that different: he’s always contained, always calm, and if he doesn’t smile much–well, he never smiled much.
When she tells him, Take a day, just go do whatever it is you do when you’re not here, he gives her a blank look, like he’s forgotten whatever it is he does when he’s not there.
3. Where We We Before, Blessid Union of Souls (futureverse)
The last time Jack told him, “Go,” Ianto went.
He was tired of the fight, tired of fighting, just tired. The Retcon didn’t last, of course, he had too many memories to forget anything, really, and that was part of the trouble. Doing something other than Torchwood, loving someone who wasn’t Jack–those were hard. He felt like a war veteran who can’t get used to quiet streets and safe houses.
He’s sixty-two. His body is still lean, but soft, and his hair is silver and he has to wear reading glasses, and it’s been fifteen years, longer, since he’s seen Jack Harkness, but he knows that face without question when he sits at the cafe table across from him.
4. I’ve got a dark alley and a bad idea that says you should shut your mouth, Fall Out Boy (smut crumb)
It’s the excitement of escapaging death again, that’s all–that’s all it takes for Ianto to shove Jack against the alley wall and kiss his mouth in a way that’s both punishing and desperate. Jack doesn’t pull back or fight: if Ianto had said I need this he would have only nodded. He’s businesslike when he undoes Ianto’s overcoat and slides his hands along Ianto’s chest, thumbs flicking here and pressing there, and Ianto has the strange passing thought that Jack’s hands and mouth are all that’s keeping him bound to earth right now.
5. Tragic Carpet Ride, Polvo (ship-fic)
“Tell me about where you’ve been.”
Jack chuckles. “The first ten years will take that long to tell.”
Ianto presses his lips together, frustrated. Jack’s stories fall into two categories: the outrageous ones that are probably true, and the outrageous ones that definiately aren’t. Sometimes, Ianto thinks, he just wants to hear something that’s true–not about a fuck or an escape or a game, just something he can hold onto and put into place, something that explains.
“Your favorite place,” he tries. “The best place you’ve ever been.”
Jack rolls over and smiles at him. “Right here,” he says and thumps Ianto’s breastbone with his forefinger.
6. Come Talk to me, Peter Gabriel (ship-fic)
He finds Jack on top of the Centre, watching the sun paint the bronze to a blinding gold. He says nothing as he bumps down beside him and offers him a thermos of coffee. Jack smiles a half-smile as he unscrews the cap, and he drinks straight from the thermos before giving it back to Ianto.
Ianto drinks as well and watches the sun and the waves and the city. Sometimes he’s blind to it–except for the years away at school and in London this is all he’s ever known–but today it looks particularly beautiful, particularly beloved.
And safe again, because of them.
“I have too many memories, Ianto,” Jack says at last. Ianto slides his hand down Jack’s arm and weaves together their fingers, and Jack squeezes them, grateful.
“It’s not having too many, I think,” he says slowly. “It’s when they get heavy. When they get to be a burden.”
“Yeah.” Jack takes back the thermos and has another drink.
“Well. Only one thing for that.” They look at each other and Ianto smiles. “You come see me. I’ll make them go away for a while.”
7. What’s My Name, DJ Earworm (futureverse)
This is how most of Torchwood end up, if they don’t die young first. Jack thinks that death is more merciful than just the blankness–but you can’t blame someone for cracking finally under the pressure of the secrets and the loss.
It just hurts most that it happened to Ianto.
Jack thanks the attendant who wheeled Ianto out to the garden and then just watches Ianto’s face for a while. Life couldn’t be kind to Ianto but Time has been, at least, and Jack supposes he’s grateful.
He slides a hand into Ianto’s. There’s no answering squeeze, no spark of recognition in those blue eyes. “You have no idea,” he says softly, “how much I want to just hear you say my name right now.”
He’s not sure Ianto even remembers his own.
8. Rave (Samauri Jack. To explain: this is from an episode, and it’s about half of the episode’s playing time, and I’m stealing the plot because it’s rather awesome.)
“Is there something wrong?”
He spoke in nearly a sob. “It’s the music.”
Jack saw the lights and felt the music–so loud it couldn’t be heard, it numbed the eardrums and left nothing but the beat–before he saw any of the dancers. The lights flashed against the cloudy sky, red and yellow and green, mesmerizing as the beat.
“Don’t hurt them! They’re just children!”
Children led away from their homes by a demonic pied piper. And Ianto.
He could see the dancers now, lost in dance as surely as shaman asking for favors from the gods. God, there were hundreds of them, a roiling mass of flesh–and somewhere in this mess was Ianto, caught under the music’s spell.
He’d told everyone else to stay behind: there was no way to know the spell’s strength or who exactly it targeted, but he’d been confident it wouldn’t effect him. He began to move among the dancers, mostly unnoticed, until the music screeched to stop–in that brief moment eyes held him, judged him as not one of us and he thought they’d turn on him–and then it started up again, that beat, and they forgot him.
Jack pulled off his coat and shirt and dropped them on the grass, pulled down his braces and ran his hands through his damp hair. It was all he could do–he couldn’t draw attention to himself until he’d gotten Ianto out.
But how would he find Ianto, in this crowd? He closed his eyes, inhaled, thought Follow your heart.
He took a step, then more, weaving his way through the gyrating bodies, and finally opened his eyes.
Yes. There. Shirtless, gleaming with perspiration, his hands in the air and his head thrown back, a look on his face that Jack had seen a hundred times–as lost as these others. Jack made his way to him and grabbed his shoulders. “Ianto!”
His eyes opened and focused on him blankly.
“Come with me,” Jack pleaded, sliding his hands down Ianto’s arms to take his hands. “We have to get you out of here.”
Jack had already started to pull him away, but stopped short. In all their time together, Ianto had never asked him that. “Because the music–it’s controlling you.”
“Dance with me,” Ianto said and pulled him close.
9. Love Song, Jack Off Jill (ship-fic)
“All right,” Jack said, “you want to know why? It’s not just your body, lovely as it is. It’s because, with everything that goes on, with everything we have to deal with, with all the atoning I need to do to live with myself–because you make me feel everything that I’m not.”
Ianto’s brows furrowed.
“Young,” Jack said. “Clean. Home. Everything that’s gone, you give back.”
10. Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps (Doris Day)
Jack’s arms, a slight pressure from his fingers on Ianto’s back to move forward or back (usually back–Jack leads, and that’s just The Way Things Are) and his soft whispered instructions in Ianto’s ear: “Back, back, left–you’ve got it, Ianto.”
Of course Jack knows how to tango.
And Ianto is rapidly learning why the tango is considered sexy, because it’s all he can do not to drag Jack down to the floor and show him some different moves.