“Travelling is so much easier when you can take your home with you. Or when it’s your home taking you to different places,” Ianto said with a smile. “No need to book hotels, or depend on public transportation. Wherever you want to be, there you are, and if you get tired, or bored, you can be home without even moving.”
Jack laughed. “You’re not tired or bored right now though, are you?”
“Bored? Perish the thought! How could anyone be bored in a place like this? I have no doubt I’ll be tired before we’ve seen everything though. This place is immense!”
He and Jack were on another alien world, just taking in the sights and enjoying their honeymoon. This was the third planet they’d visited since their wedding back on the Tallan homeworld; first they’d gone to Tellumi for a few days of being pampered at a very exclusive spa. While they’d been there, Auber and the four young Tallans who were travelling in the TARDIS to experience other worlds had remained onboard, since mud baths, saunas, and massages didn’t appeal to them; they were too furry to find such indulgences relaxing. Besides, this was the young ones’ first trip away from home and they were not only a bit nervous, but also still acclimatising to being aboard the TARDIS. They’d had more than enough to explore within her walls while Jack and Ianto enjoyed the start of their honeymoon undisturbed.
After Tellumi, they’d travelled to Shimizad and visited the water gardens, a series of lakes, streams, and pools on many levels, connected by waterfalls and set in a beautiful landscape full of blue-green lawns, scented flowers and tall, slender trees that swayed and rustled in the eve present breeze. None of it was natural, not even the rolling contours of the land. The Shimizadren had built the entire complex from scratch over the space of several generations, transforming a barren desert into a feast for the senses, and they were still expanding it.
As the rivers and streams reached the largest lake at the bottom of a hill, the water was pumped back to the top, the mechanisms running solely on the power produced by the flowing water. For a week the Tallans had studied the techniques used, because such technology would be useful back on Talla. Meanwhile, Ianto and Jack had wandered the gardens, swum in the pools, travelled the maze of rivers on a short cruise, dined in the restaurants, and enjoyed the entertainments. Shimizadren were very graceful beings, and their dancers were among the most accomplished in the universe, quite captivating to watch.
From Shimizad they’d come here to Galelian, a peaceful, largely agrarian world where one of its four large continents was given over solely to the breeding and growing of decorative plants. It was a horticulturist’s paradise. The plants were a delight to look at, and many of them were also edible, in part or in whole; their flowers, leaves, or their fleshy, tuberous roots able to be used in cooking. Some even produced sweet and tasty fruit.
Galelian was also where some of the finest Saiyami in the universe came from, and Ianto had wasted no time introducing the young Tallans to the deep-fried delicacy. They’d loved it and were now somewhere out in the fields beyond the town learning about the cultivation of the plant from whose roots it was produced. Jack had eaten Saiyami many times before, which shouldn’t have surprised Ianto considering how extensively he’d travelled, first with the Time Agency, then with the Doctor, and then on his own after Ianto’s ‘death’.
So now here the two of them were, wandering through a garden centre the size of a small town, munching on perfectly cooked Saiyami so spicy, sweet and tender it practically melted in their mouths. All the while the TARDIS was looking at the flowers through their eyes and trying to decide what she’d like to add to her extensive gardens. There was so much to choose from. Everywhere they looked there were ever more colourful, exotic blooms, and the air was filled with the most wonderful scents.
Before leaving earth, an experience like this might have left Ianto with serious sensory overload, but he’d seen so much since he’d first revived aboard the TARDIS who was both his home and his closest friend that while his senses delighted in the sights, sounds, and smells, he didn’t find them overwhelming. All the walking was going to wear his legs down to stumps though. He was in good physical shape, but they’d already been walking for a couple of hours, and had covered a considerable distance although they’d explored less than a quarter of the centre. On top of that it was a very warm day beneath Galelian’s two suns.
Jack stopped and sat down on a bench set at the side of the path, patting the seat beside him. “Let’s sit while we eat our Saiyami.”
Ianto flopped beside him. “Good idea, I could use a break.” Just because he and Jack were both immortal didn’t mean they were immune to becoming tired and footsore.
“Maybe we should rent one of one those electric buggy things,” Jack suggested, trying to sound casual. “Once our lady starts deciding what plants she wants we’re going to need some means of carrying them, and the buggies look easier to handle than the hand trolleys. They hold more too.” The buggies could be hooked up to tall trailers fitted with racks to securely hold several tiers of plants. Despite their height, the wide wheelbase made them almost impossible to tip over.
“You just want to try your hand at driving one, don’t you?” Ianto teased, biting into another crisp deep-fried tuber. “You’d better not go breaking the speed limit.”
“Of course not! That would be dangerous, there’re a lot of pedestrians about. Besides, I doubt they’re capable of going at more than ten miles an hour, if that.”
“Probably a good thing if you’re taking the controls. We’ll have to find a rental kiosk first though,” Ianto mused.
“There’s one at the next junction; I noticed it just before I sat down.”
“Of course you did.” Ianto smiled indulgently at his husband then cast his gaze across the path at pots of tall plants with tubular flowers in shades of yellow and cream. They reminded him a bit of daffodils, except that they whistled softly when the breeze blew through them.
‘I would like some of the whistling flowers,’ the TARDIS informed Ianto. ‘They’re pretty and they make a pleasant sound.’
‘Why not? We can pick some out once Jack gets us a buggy and trailer.’ Ianto didn’t need to speak out loud for the TARDIS to hear him. He finished his tub of Saiyami and stood to deposit the empty in the nearest recycler before turning to Jack. “Right, why don’t you go fetch us some transportation?”
Jack raised an eyebrow. “And what will you be doing?”
“Picking out some plants. Our lady likes the whistling ones, and so do I; they remind me of home, sort of like singing daffodils.”
“How very Welsh! In that case, I’ll be right back.” Getting to his feet, Jack sauntered away along the path, dropping his empty carton in the first recycler he passed without breaking stride. Renting a buggy fitted with the largest size of trailer available, he trundled back along the path to where his husband had set half a dozen pots of yellow tube flowers; that wasn’t their proper name, but it was easy to remember. Loading them into the racks, Ianto climbed onto the seat beside Jack and off they went again, in no hurry, stopping here and there to add more fascinating plants to their ‘shopping basket’. There were shaggy golden ones that made Ianto think of lion manes, silvery-pink teardrops that chimed when they bumped each other, deep blue tassels that smelled both spicy and sweet, plump red pompoms, and tall spires in shades of purple. There was even a small tree with triangular silver leaves and tender fruits that looked like lemons but tasted more like a cross between apricots and peaches.
‘You might have to expand the garden room a bit to fit all of these in,’ Ianto joked, and the TARDIS’s happy laughter filled both his mind and Jack’s, if the other man’s wide smile was anything to go by. “Perhaps we should nip back to earth after this and get some daffodil bulbs,” he added out loud. He couldn’t return to his own time, but it would still be nice to see Wales again, even just briefly.
“We can definitely do that,” Jack agreed. They had the whole universe and all of time to explore, and forever to do it in, but no matter how wonderful other planets might be, planet earth would always have a special place in their hearts. Like Ianto, Jack missed Wales; it had been his home for over a century. “It’s only right we should include Wales in our whirlwind honeymoon tour. We’ll find a good restaurant and have a celebratory dinner, Welsh lamb with all the trimmings.”
“Bara Brith,” Ianto added. “And leek soup as a starter.”
“But not Laverbread.”
“Definitely not. That I don’t miss at all,” Ianto said with a laugh.
“Well, now we have our next destination planned, how about we pay for our purchases and go pick up the others? I think we’re going to need their help getting all of these planted.”
Ianto smiled. “Sounds like a plan.”
It was good to know that no matter where he and Jack travelled in the vastness of the universe, thanks to the TARDIS, the planet of his birth would never be very far away.