Challenge/Prompt: fanfic100, 011. Red
Rating: PG-15 (for themes rather than content)
Copyright Title taken from "The Great Escape" by We Are Scientists
Summary: Ianto would do anything to bring Lisa back.
Author’s Notes: Written for karaokegal’s Halloween party (which is open all week so a) expect to see more, and b) go take part!), in that I’ve never done an interpretation of Ianto like this (i.e completely batshit crazy). Also, it’s for specially for Halloween, because there’s lots of gore. Yay! But this is dark and kind of icky so be warned.
It starts in the weeks following Lisa’s death. Ianto’s never been the most talkative of people, and it’s tricky to get him to make eye contact on good days, but after Lisa, Ianto becomes ever more like a walking mannequin, handing out mugs of coffee and seeing through them all. It’s unsettling. Jack wasn’t exactly expecting smiles and laughter, but Ianto is stoic to a fault now.
And it’s making him suspicious.
Jack knows that he shouldn’t be suspicious, but it’s become increasingly clear to him in recent months that Torchwood Three is full of distinctly unstable people that he knows nothing about. It’s almost hilarious, how he’s supposedly in charge of a team he doesn’t understand and can’t control. And he can’t trust them either. Not anymore.
Ianto is still staying late, still spending too much time in the archives, but Jack knows now that it can’t be out of any loyalty to Torchwood, and there’s no Lisa to stay for. It worries him, a niggling doubt at the edge of his mind. What the hell is Ianto doing and should Jack step in and stop it before it’s too late? He wants to have faith in Ianto, he really does, but he’s had faith before and that got thrown unceremoniously back in his face. It’s an impossible situation.
So Jack chooses an evening and follows Ianto, quiet, still, down into the dark where things are hidden that technically shouldn’t exist. Hopes that whatever Ianto’s doing, it isn’t what he thinks it is.
But his back is prickling in a cold sweat and he knows deep in his stomach that whatever Ianto’s doing, he doesn’t want to know about it. Because if he finds out the truth, if he finds out Ianto’s betrayed him… Jack can’t go through that again, not and leave Ianto intact. He takes a deep breath, prepares himself for anything, and walks into the basement room, six levels deep, to find out what the hell Ianto is up to.
There is blood, so much blood it’s practically a caricature of horror, a cheap slasher movie parodied in their basement. And when Ianto turns around, face stark white under the spluttery lighting, Jack can see a look, an expression, something in his eyes. And he wonders just when all his employees decided it would be ok to go completely and utterly insane without giving any kind of notice.
“Walk away, Jack,” Ianto says steadily, there’s a cold little smirk on his face that’s almost scarier than the blood spattered on his shirt or the whatever-the-hell-that-is on the table behind him.
“Lisa’s dead,” Jack tells Ianto, trying to keep his voice calm.
“But she doesn’t have to be,” Ianto responds, calm delusion in every inch of his face, and Jack wonders just what lengths a man will go to in order to get back what he lost. Maybe there really are no limits, not in a place like Torchwood, full of alien devices and dead bodies in drawers, just waiting to be used as body parts or as receptors for someone’s consciousness.
“Stop this,” Jack demands, something that’s almost panic running through him, “Whatever the hell you’re doing, Ianto, stop it.”
“Do you really think I want to follow your orders any more?” Ianto smirks, turning away. “I’d leave now, if I were you, sir.”
The warning in his tone is sharply, darkly clear.
Torchwood has always been a stepping-stone to something more for Ianto, and Jack realises this now. And he knows his own motives for running Torchwood are far from pure, but he’s not going to let this happen, not on his watch. The smell of blood is almost overpowering, glistening on metal and what might be skin; Jack moves, drags Ianto back from whatever mess he’s making with what remains of Lisa.
“Let me go!” Ianto shouts, pulling and twisting to face Jack, raw hate and violence in his eyes. He shoves at Jack’s chest, and when Jack stumbles backwards, he can see two perfect, slightly sticky, red handprints left on his blue shirt. Jack has no idea whose blood it is, and that thought unsettles him. But whatever the hell is going through Ianto’s head, whatever he’s doing that he shouldn’t, however far-gone and irredeemable he is, Jack is not leaving Ianto down here to pull his own personal universe to shreds.
He drags Ianto bodily from the room, kicking the door shut and leaving them in the awful half-dark of the endless corridors. Ianto is shouting, Jack is unrepentant, both of them getting bruised as they attempt to overpower each other. Ianto is surprisingly good at this, elbow jabbing back hard into Jack’s stomach, but Jack has hundreds of years’ worth of fighting experience – literally – and he hangs grimly onto Ianto’s shoulders, one hand twisted behind his back.
“Going to kill me, sir?” Ianto half-laughs when they’re back in the Hub and all sense of propriety has crashed and burned, they’re both covered in someone else’s blood and their clothes are torn and they’re both trembling fit to break. God knows what’s happening now; Jack definitely doesn’t.
“Give me one damn reason I shouldn’t,” Jack tells him. Ianto, looking so different to the neutral and ever-present receptionist Jack has come to know, smiles dangerously, and that’s Jack’s only warning before Ianto surges forward and kisses him.
Teeth and heat and the blood has dried brown to Ianto’s hands, they brush up through the back of Jack’s hair, crusted brown blood trapped in the creases of his palms, everything smells like salt and copper. Jack wants to tell Ianto that this won’t result in forgiveness and this can only make things infinitely worse, but he can’t bring himself to stop, trembling anger backing Ianto into the wall.
Ianto laughs against his teeth, it’s a strange sound, it doesn’t sound right and there’s too much blood everywhere and Jack hates it, because death is a way of life for him but it shouldn’t be for Ianto and if he’d just fucking let Lisa go then none of this would have happened. But Ianto is crazy or maybe just corrupted and why not try to bring back those you love? Jack supposes he should be grateful Ianto hasn’t got his hands on the Glove yet, Suzie’s sweetest downfall and all that, she’s dead too and for a horrible moment Jack wonders if she’s the one Ianto is cutting up downstairs, converting Cyberman back into human from the inside out.
The thought makes him sick and his thigh slides between Ianto’s, whether this is punishment or inevitability is too hard to figure out – it might be a little of both. Still, this cannot happen, Ianto is laughing and getting blood everywhere and Jack’s ribs are bruised or perhaps even fractured and there is a protocol for these situations. What to do when Torchwood becomes too much and the employees splinter. A handbook with horrible pictures that Jack has lost somewhere because he thought he’d know how to deal. He thought he knew what he’d got himself into.
Ianto smells like death, like every violent, sudden death Jack has had to endure since Rose decided it’d be amusing to make him part of some higher plan (although the truly terrifying idea is that he’s not, and he’s merely alive because death isn’t in the mood to fill out the paperwork). It’s not a good idea to give mere humans access to technology and morals that far superior races can’t contain, it always turns out like this. Blood on everyone’s hands and blame thick in the air.
Suzie shot him in the head and Ianto is hacking bodies to shreds in their basement and trying to patch together a new girlfriend (did he not read Frankenstein at school? Has he no logic whatsoever?), and they all betray him in the end. Even this, the Judas kiss, that’s half a fight and half blind want, is less a culmination of half-assed longing and more a new kind of manipulation. As though Ianto thinks he can save his own life with Jack’s favourite currency.
“You’re fired,” Jack hisses, pushing Ianto away, sending him to the ground. Ianto’s cheeks are flushed against his pallid face, it’s an ugly look on him, and the less said about the state of his hands and clothes, the better.
“If you say so, sir,” Ianto responds, and once upon a time Jack would’ve put money on Owen being the first to crack and shatter them all (at least before Lisa smashed in and completely changed the odds, among other things).
Standard Torchwood execution. Two shots to the head, three to the chest (or, for those members of Torchwood Four that aren’t exactly human, wherever the heart and brain are located). Jack has already lost one member of his team in the last month, and he can’t help thinking it’s just as well One is still rubble, because it won’t look good on his next report. Another employee lost their mind and died. Whoops. We sure do get through them quickly here, huh? But he’s not sure he can murder Ianto in cold blood, even now.
“I should’ve killed you that night,” Jack says. His shirt is drying, stiff everywhere Ianto has touched, and his lips are sore and taste like salt.
“Jack,” Ianto begins, on his back on the floor covered in the stains of his transgressions (blood’s a bitch to get out), “Just make up your fucking mind.”
There’s purple bruising swelling on his face, and his lip is split, and he’d almost look pitiful but for his glittering eyes. The expression in them is truly terrifying; Jack hasn’t seen that particular shade of instability in a long time and it’s impressive in some kind of complicated way.
Jack takes a breath, slowly, feeling his ribs protest.
“I should have killed you,” he repeats, and makes his decision.