And in these two stories, it actually HAPPENS. Sort of. In both cases, a reset (or Retcon) button gets pushed, and younger versions of Ianto and Rodney get inserted into the lives of current Ianto and Rodney. I cannot tell you how much I love this. I want this to happen to everyone. (Okay, not everyone. In Teal'c's case, lots of people would die, because younger-Teal'c would likely not be behind this whole killing-the-gods thing. And some people are so young already that it would be more like a de-ageing story - Clark, Merlin, I'm looking at you. But Depot-era Benton Fraser, oh my god. Ronon Dex before he was a runner. Jim Ellison before he joined the military!)
So, on to the specific stories.
The One That Demonstrates Why People Should Not Plan Like Action Heroes Unless They Happen to Be in an Action Movie. (If You're Not Sure, Assume You Are Not in an Action Movie.) Rewind, Reboot, Restore, by Rheanna, aka rheanna27 and rheanna. Stargate: Atlantis, Rodney McKay/John Sheppard.
This story - well. If I had to pick just one character who got to see his new life as his old self, it would have to be Rodney. Because - okay. I used to complain that the Gateverse canon writers did not exactly get this novel concept we call "character development," but in Rodney, they totally prove that they do get it (they just mostly don't like it, and try to avoid it when they can, sort of the way some people are with cilantro). Rodney of pre-Atlantis really is a very different person than the Rodney we know and love, and that makes for quality drama when the two Rodneys meet. And in Rheanna's hands, it is quality indeed. If I had imagined how this might work, well, I don't think I could have imagined anything as wonderful as this.
Also, this story has one of Those Lines. The ones that stay with you and define the story for you, and that you think of often. (I cannot be the only one who has these. I refuse to believe it.) I am not sure if I should include it or not, so here it is, behind the cut:
Rodney let out a long, low groan. "I hate myself," he said. "I literally hate myself."
For one thing: hurray, a use of "literally" that actually means literally, and if you don't think that's something to celebrate, I would like to live where you do, please.
But more - that line is the story. Except the story is so very much more. And if I listed all the things I love about this, I would spoil every last plot development, so instead, how about you just read it?
The One That Proves That If You Spend a Lot of Time near Jack Harkness, You Should Plan Like an Action Hero. It Might Be Fun, and It's Not Like You Could Make Your Odds Worse Than They Already Are. The Theory of Two Centres, by sam_storyteller. Torchwood, Jack Harkness/Ianto Jones.
This one fascinated me. See, I have never seen Torchwood, and I don't read huge amounts in the fandom (although that is changing, especially since people keep writing nice long stories for me to put on my Kindle, and TW folks, I will totally take any recs you might have for those), so I really don't know much about Ianto. I know he wears suits. I know the entire fandom seems riveted by him. I know he's the guy who did right by Jack after the Master knocked him up. (Okay, maybe that isn't canon, but it should be.) Beyond that - well, I have a seriously hard time telling the Torchwood people apart, and they seem, from the posts I see on my friends list, to spend most of their time having massive team orgies, so it's not like there's been a pressing need in my life to know who's who.
In this story, though, Ianto is awesome. He seems kind of like Giles, except a) he went through his transformation from Ripper to the Librarian with the Core of Steel in four years instead of twenty, and b) it's not magic and demons, it's the Rift (and excuse me if I have some difficulty telling the difference sometimes). I - I have a weakness for characters who had wild youths and grew up to be staid individuals, for reasons that might be apparent to those who know me pretty well, and this makes me like Ianto so much. I just really admire those who, sure, they could have the sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll and dangerous leather outfits, but they'd rather have this spreadsheet. After all, it's an awesome spreadsheet.
So I love that, and I love the point of view factor here. (Rewind, Reboot, Restore is from the loved one's point of view, and Theory of Two Centres is from the actual rewound person's point of view, and it is fascinating to me the difference that makes in the tone of the story.)
And, most of all, I love that this story gave me the chance to get to know both younger-Ianto and, by the reactions of people around him, canon-Ianto. For people who don't actually know the canon, this story really cannot be beat. And that is very happiness inducing for me.