Title: More Like The Man You Were Made To Be
Length: 614 words
Summary: written for the prompt Doctor Who, Rory, In ancient Rome, struggling with the prospect of being a soldier, Rory has to learn how to hurt people instead of healing them.
They tell him that it isn’t difficult, the pointy end of the sword goes in the other man, but there’s a look in their eyes when they say it. He learns that death is not doled out willingly here, but done daily by order, by command, by words from above. Rory has never had faith in people or entities higher than him in the hierarchy. Healers – Doctors a part of his mind insists – are not infallible and gods don’t listen. Rory deals in the concrete, in his own two hands and what they can do.
They place a sword in his hands.
It starts with endless training, designed to make sets of motions automatic and natural. He remembers as a child his father teaching him balance and grace, how to place his feet firmly, anchor himself to the ground for when the enemy comes. He remembers another childhood, being uncomfortable in his own skin, having to be taught by a girl how to climb a tree. In his head he is two people, both graceful and not, but this body of his acts as it will regardless. He is shown something once and his body remembers.
Rory hones his mind as he hones his skills, matching mind to actions. His family wishes him to be a commander of men. He wishes to be a commander of his hands.
It is too much to hope for to be a commander of his mind. He has two selves, two histories, knowledge that cannot be.
He is taught battles, wars, strategy, and tactics. He expects a conflict within his own head and on long marches he entertains himself by mapping how it might go. Yet there is something else, over-riding the two or mediating or joining them, something deeper in his head (or his heart) that makes him him and holds all the parts of him together.
It says there is someone – a redheaded girl – who believes that he is worth loving. It says family is important, that knowledge is useful, and dying hurts. It wants to help people and it wants to protect.
They take to the field of battle and then this that holds him together, that he has been thankful for, makes him falter. Surely to hurt people, and because he was ordered, goes against what he is.
Beside him Aemilius falls – fifteen and thin, drowned by his uniform, beautiful voice and knows all the crude lyrics – and Rory strikes out. His hands take the sword that they have given and they use it. Blood spills out onto the earth.
He wants to say that this isn’t him, just a body moving by rote, but truthfully for one glorious moment Rory is whole. He moves as taught, he acts as ordered, he protects and helps.
Rory hauls the younger man to his feet before facing the oncoming others once more.
If he concentrates on the fact that this is protecting and fighting for his own, if he thinks on killing as helping, then he can do this. If it’s saving lives, then he can do this. Rory can do this and be good at this.
They tell him that he has an aptitude for leadership. They place a better sword in his hands and raise him through the ranks. His family are proud and men fight to be able to fight under him. He couldn’t face an enemy in single combat and he couldn’t slaughter someone in cold blood, but given a command he protects those entrusted to his care with ruthless success.
They tell him that it isn’t difficult. Whether it is or not, it becomes easier and Rory is good at this.
Length: 237 words
Summary: written for the prompt Torchwood, Gen or Jack/Ianto, “Hypothetically, Jack, what if I didn’t make anymore coffee?”
“Hypothetically, Jack,” says Ianto, hovering in the doorway to Jack’s office, “what if I didn’t make anymore coffee?”
Jack fixes a seriously expression onto his face before looking up from his paperwork, which contrary to popular belief he does actually do. Sometimes.
“Well,” he says, “first I’d have to fire you, so then there’d be retcon, obviously. Then I’d set you up as the head of your own coffee shop and make you believe that was your life’s vocation before writing into Owen’s job description that he’d have to collect our usual order from you at the usual time.”
He leans back in his chair and lets himself grin.
“I wouldn’t stop dating you though.”
“Ah.” Ianto finally steps into his office properly and places a requisition form in front of him. “Better make this a priority then.”
“A new coffee machine?” says Jack, frowning. “Why, what happened to the one we already have?”
“There were a group of idiots playing basketball in the Hub last night, sir. If you happen to know who the instigator was,” says Inato, placing both hands flat on Jack’s desk and leaning in, “I would appreciate it if you’d pass on how unacceptable the practise is. I know some people don’t especially mind if the Rift Manipulator explodes and the world ends, but apparently damage to the coffee machine can get me fired.”
“Right.” Jack closes his eyes. “I’ll have words.”