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For oncoming_storms 148. Doctor Who episode
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hofficoffi
ooc: Spoilers for The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang.

A few days after Ianto's seventh birthday, he went to London for the first time. His dad thought he was too small to go, but the Cowell family, who had a daughter who went to school with Rhiannon, said they would look after him. Rhiannon went too, of course, and Catrin Cowell, and Catrin's younger brother John, who was five.

They took the train, and Ianto had never taken the train before, so he watched the countryside through the window the whole way. Mrs. Cowell said he was a good boy, but a quiet boy, and she gave him and John each a half a sandwich as a snack.

That afternoon, they went to the National Museum.

They hadn't even been there an hour when Ianto got lost.

Mr. Cowell had gone off to put Mrs. Cowell's bag in a locker, and Mrs. Cowell had gone off with John to find the toilets. She'd been gone a really long time, as far as Ianto could tell, and even though she'd told Rhi and Catrin to watch him, they'd forgot.

"Oh, but he's a bit fit, isn't he?" said Catrin, and she pointed at a poster of the Lone Centurion. Then, she and Rhiannon kept walking, giggling at something he didn't understand. They went by a photograph of an underwater castle, one that Ianto hadn't remembered seeing in books, and into the next room, leaving him on his own.

He should have followed them. He knew that, but he was seven, and what he should do didn't really matter, because now he could see what he wanted without it having to be what girls liked.

So, he didn't follow them, and instead he squinted at a sign about the Pandorica, which Rhiannon said looked boring. He didn't think it looked boring, but he also couldn't read some of the words on the sign, because they were big.

The Pandorica was big, too.

The Pandorica was in its own room, and in the room before it were all sorts of strange things, which Ianto liked. Grown-ups thought they knew more than him sometimes, but then they found penguins in the Nile, and even the growns-ups didn't know why.

Plus, Ianto liked penguins.

He looked at the penguins for a while, and at the Egyptians, and the polar bear, and the stone creatures that some people thought came from outer space, but Ianto's dad said that nothing came from outer space, because there was nothing in outer space, nothing but the sun and the Earth and that's why the sky was dark at night. But Ianto thought the stone creatures were just scary enough to be interesting, and as he walked toward the Pandorica he thought about the noises they would have made as they flew around like spaceships.

There was nobody there, so he made some of the noises himself.

He was shooting at a monster hiding behind the Pandorica with an invisible ray gun when he ran into the man.

He hadn't seen the man before, because he was standing still, just looking. And that was strange because while the Pandorica was big and not boring, and made a good hide-out for space monsters, it didn't really do much, no matter how long you looked at it.

"Oh," said the man, with a long pause between his words, "hello."

"Hello," said Ianto, even though he wasn't supposed to talk to strangers. After all, he wasn't supposed to wander off, either. "I'm fighting monsters," he announced, then, in case the man wondered, and he held up his hand like it was a gun.

The man opened and closed his fingers a few times before he said anything else.

"Are you?" the man asked, and he laughed, awkwardly.

"Space monsters," Ianto added.

"Ahhh. Space adventures! I used to imagine those, too."

Ianto gave the man a look, the sort he gave his father when he said something that might as well have been from a storybook because it obviously wasn't true.

"I did," the man protested. "A long time ago. Spaceships. Time machines. Seeing the stars. Psychic pollen, vampire... fish." He paused. "Nevermind about the fish."

Ianto thought that vampire fish sounded ridiculous, but he didn't say so. Saying so would have been rude.

Also, something the man said didn't make sense.

"Stars?" Ianto questioned, and he screwed up his face in thought. Stars were make-believe, but they were the kind of make-believe that nobody wanted to talk about, not even Ianto's dad. But they definitely weren't real, and if you thought so that was bad. The woman who lived down the street had thought so, Rhiannon told him, and she'd gone away. But if stars were something you could see in space, maybe they were like the stone creatures...

Except the stone creatures were real.

"Stars, yes," said the man. "Stars. In the sky... starlight... star... bright..." He trailed off, as if he had just realized something. "You don't know that, do you?" he asked and then he sighed. "No, of course you don't. No one does. No star signs, no good morning starshine, the Earth says hello..."

His eyes drifted back to the Pandorica, and he spoke much quieter. "Just a fairytale."

Suddenly, the man spun around to look at Ianto, his mouth slightly open. "Hey, are, uh, are you lost?"

"No," Ianto said, which as far as he was concerned was the absolute truth. "My sister left me behind. I don't mind."

"Good for you," the man told him, and Ianto thought his voice sounded sort of sad.

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Let me reiterate:

OMG.

SO GOOD.

This was lovely. And Rory is PERFECT and this scene is PERFECT and stop being so PERFECT, you.

So, I should stop writing Rory, then, yes?

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