|the pocket otter (pocketotter) wrote in torchwood_fic,|
@ 2009-05-18 17:51:00
|Entry tags:||author:pocketotter, length:one-shot, pairing:ianto/lisa, pairing:jack/ianto, rating:pg-13|
Fic: If It Had to Perish Twice
Title: If It Had to Perish Twice
Pairing: implied Jack/Ianto, Ianto/Lisa
Rating: PG-13 (minor character death)
Summary: AU. Sometimes keeping secrets is the worst thing for us.
1. Ianto is feeling the cold
Cardiff was different from London in many ways. Where London had been clean straight lines, rising into the sky like a modern-day Tower of Babylon, Cardiff is sunken and dark, dank, dripping. Ianto does not think the air can be particularly healthy, with the humidity so high, but this is one of the many things he does not say. He wraps the thought, instead, around a smooth black stone, and lets it sink into the depths of his mind, the only place it mightn't be unwanted.
The main Hub is alright, with computers everywhere warming the room, but even in summer the lower levels are chill, sometimes uncomfortably so. At first he worried about Lisa, spending long hours down there, but whenever he asked she said that the temperature was fine. Which was good, since the metal framing her made clothing awkward, and blankets drafty. So even if she doesn't feel it, he is used to her skin being cool to the touch.
Today it is cold.
He doesn't know what went wrong, doesn't know enough about the technology to analyse it properly, but a light is blinking that was never blinking before and he is reminded in a sickly distant way of how the microwave timer blinked after it turned back on after a power cut. Maybe that is exactly it - a power fluctuation, the unit not transferring properly to backup - or maybe it was actually Lisa's frail broken body that failed and the blinking light is simply advertising the fact that it no longer has a working patient to care for.
For the first time in quite a long while, Ianto doesn't know what to do. This is not to say that he ever had a proper, over-arcing plan, but he could always see a few steps ahead. [Get to Cardiff] Arrange transport, lease accommodation, find power sources he could drain for a few hours, a few days, before having to move the rented truck somewhere new to avoid suspicion. [Get into Torchwood] Research Jack, stalk Jack, appeal to Jack, beg Jack, flirt with Jack.
And so on.
He had not thought about what he would do if he failed in an ultimately quiet, unspectacular way. Always his imagination had offered possibilities where he was discovered and executed or retconned (or managed to convince this band of rebels to help him), not this sucker-punch in the gut and a sudden cutting of the strings he was pulling himself along with.
In the end he locks the door behind him and slinks back up to the Archives, returning numbly to his filing until the majority of the team returns from the call-out and want coffee.
Later he will work long into the night, firing up the incinerator.
2. Jack's perception score is lower than he thinks it is, sometimes, but occasionally the dice favour him anyway
Nobody knows that it is four days since Ianto Jones walked back into Torchwood Three simply because he had nothing else to do. Instead they think it is the day after Suzie took a gun to herself on the Plass, and Gwen Cooper is being introduced to the team.
"And he looks good in a suit," Jack says, grin wide, because he honestly enjoys flirting with Ianto. It's impossible to get his claws into him, but at least he can make him blush and tease back.
Only when Ianto replies this time he looks up at just the right time for Jack to meet his eyes and for a moment he stumbles (mentally speaking) because there's nothing there. No sparkle of amusement, no irritation, not even boredom with the same old lines. Nothing.
And then something flickers and Ianto looks normal again, and Gwen is asking a question, and he knows he'll have to think about this later.
3. Sex aliens are always so goddamned distracting
But everyone has to admit, at least to themselves, that Owen trapped naked in Carys' cell was pretty bloody hilarious.
4. Ianto is pretty messed up, actually
It's only when he's cleaning blood off concrete that it occurs to Ianto that he could kill himself. Even then it's only a vague idea, the sort of thing that pops up in one's mind along with a "heh" before being discarded so that one may, as one says, Get On With It. (In this case Getting On With It involves lugging a bucket of dirty, soapy, bloody water back down the invisible lift and through the hub.)
His plans are so much smaller now, consisting of "go to work" and "make the coffee" and "finish Jack's expenses" rather than complex ploys to help him manage an impossible task.
It's a lot easier than trying to figure out how he's supposed to feel about failing. About letting Lisa die. He had promised-- and yes, she had said "please, just let it stop hurting", but she hadn't meant like that-- and it was so fucking selfish to even consider relief that it was over-- he didn't know why he was still alive, unscathed, when so many better people had died.
Still, at least Owen got his comeuppance for being such a fucking prat.
5. Jack doesn't spend much time thinking about the living
It's only once he starts looking into it that he wonders why no one else has. Canary Wharf was Torchwood's biggest failure, of course, where "biggest" could also be replaced with "most visible", but given the massive loss of life that occurred, he's surprised nothing was ever done for the twenty seven who survived.
Nineteen, now. And given that Four's gone missing, Two is barely an outpost and he was refusing staff from London until bribed with a pterodactyl, something about that doesn't add up for him. He digs further until he finds that a few were absorbed by UNIT, one transferred to Cardiff, and the rest... released, on their own recognizance. Not retconned. Though from his work at Flat Holm, he isn't even entirely sure that retcon would cure those ills. He recalls, somewhere, being CCed on a memo about the possibility of replacing Canary Wharf under new management, and wonders how many of the survivors will be approached, whether that might be why their minds and memories were left intact.
This does not help him, though, only sparks annoyance and frustration as he realises that Ianto walked out of that burning, devastated hell and into his team with nary a word spoken about trauma, therapy, follow-ups, compensation. Some of that, he supposes, is his fault, but it won't be in the future. He doesn't want another Suzie.
6. Jack may never know just how competent Ianto Jones is
He begins asking Ianto to sit with him over drinks at night, coffee or (occasionally) scotch, going over the day, working and talking. Slowly, ever so slowly, the beautiful Welsh boy comes out of his shell. Jack is glad. Ianto might not have the brilliance of Toshiko or Owen or the field ability of Gwen, but he is still an important part of the team, and Jack likes him.
The first night that Ianto really, properly laughs is also the first night that Jack gets him naked and shows him things he never knew about his own body. Both happen more often after that. Jack is glad about that, too. In the midst of everything else, everything that's fucking crazy about this job, it's nice to have something predictable, understandable, and completely and entirely uncomplicated.