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26 October 2008 @ 12:31 pm
Made This Bed, Ianto/Lisa (PG-13)  
Title: Made This Bed
Author: valderys
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Ianto/Lisa, Ianto/OFCs, hints of Jack/Ianto
Word Count: 3,319
Warnings: A dark fic. Angsty. One off-screen death.
Notes: Written for the 2lineschallenge. A post-Cyberwoman AU. (Another one - yes, I know :)
Summary: Ianto knows he had to save Lisa, knows he had to do anything and everything to save her. But managing a lie in Torchwood, under pressure? That was the easy part – it’s the aftermath that’s hard…



I used to know the name of every person I'd kissed
Now I made this bed and I can't fall asleep in it

- Brand New, Millstone


Ianto takes his hand, and holds it to the curve of her cheek. The skin’s as soft as he remembers, but the jut of her cheekbone is closer to the surface, it’s sharp under his fingers. Her face used to be rounder, was fuller somehow, so that now, even with his eyes closed, he can still tell there are differences. He tries not to think about it. He opens his eyes again quickly because if it doesn’t make any difference whether they are closed or open, he owes her his gaze, his open and honest regard.

Her eyes are the same, he tells himself. Because he knows it should be true. But they are blue, when they should be brown, and they are surrounded by delicate pale skin, not dusky brown. The eyes are the windows to the soul, as the old saying goes, and Ianto wants it to be true. He needs it to be true because her soul truly is the same. Or so he tells himself.

“Lisa…” he breathes, and she smiles. Delicately, with a stranger’s mouth. He brings them closer, closer still, until their breath is mingling and her lips are soft under his. They are thinner than he remembers, but she still shivers when he runs his tongue along the inside of her bottom lip, before darting in to taste her fully. There’s a sharpness to her, to her taste, her feel. But it doesn’t matter. It can’t matter. This is Lisa. His Lisa. How difficult can it be? All he has to do is learn the shape of her all over again.

***


Ianto Jones remembers the name of every person he has ever kissed. There was Cerys Platt in the last year of junior school. Who had spent the year running away and giggling with all her friends when Ianto had walked by. On the last day of school she’d found him in the boy’s cloakroom, and she’d walked right up and mashed their lips together. Ianto’d been so surprised he’d kissed her back, although badly, he suspects. So he remembers that smell of gym-shoes and plastic very well, grey waxed-cotton raincoats soft against his arms as Cerys pushed them back against the wall.

It always seems to be that way. He doesn’t remember ever doing the asking the way boys are supposed to. He thinks that’s a fallacy. Boys never have the courage. It’s the girls that are really in charge, who know what they’re doing, or appear to anyway. He hopes that’s true, and that he isn’t really giving himself an excuse.

Cerys went to grammar school, and Ianto went to the local comprehensive. After that day, he never saw her again. He also hopes it didn’t start a trend.

***


The bed is too small to be a double really. But the bed and breakfast was cheap and the old lady in the flowered apron didn’t blink an eye when Ianto paid in cash. The room is cheerful in the half-light. Any peeling corners are invisible in the golden glow from the yellow curtains, and some corner of Ianto’s mind approves the economy, the making the best of the B&B’s resources. He’s carefully trying not to think about how this may be their future, from now on. He should be thinking more about their plans, and some part of him, the remainder of Ianto Jones the Archivist, is cataloguing, is always calculating, is working out their next step – but the rest of him is here. The better man, thinks Ianto, is lying in golden light in a too-small bed with the girl he loves.

He traces one eyebrow gently, as she stares at him. It’s straighter than it used to be, and if he were pushed, he’d say it was thinner too. Although he can’t ask Lisa for confirmation. She won’t look in a mirror. He supposes he can’t blame her for that, although he knows that at some point he’s got to play the bad boyfriend, and make her. They can face anything together, he’s sure of it, but he doesn’t want it to be on false terms. He knows she’s upset about her appearance, but he keeps telling her that it doesn’t matter, that she’s beautiful. He wants her to believe it.

If he can ignore the jagged scar on her forehead, then so can she. She can grow her fringe long, Ianto decides. Her hair will grow out long and straight, perfect for hiding things. Everything will be fine.

***


In secondary school, in year 8, there was Mandy Davies. His first girlfriend. She had bad acne that she hid with a lot of clever make-up, but it didn’t matter very much, no-one really looked at her face anyway, no boy at least. She was the best developed girl in the year, and wore her white uniform shirt low and open whenever possible, tie hanging loose between her round and gorgeous breasts.

He still isn’t sure what she’d seen in him, really, but going out with Mandy had made him almost popular for a while. He remembers he used to come home with pink and beige foundation smeared across his school shirt, and the taste of powder in his mouth. His mother would click her tongue, but she’d smile too, when she didn’t think he was looking. Mandy liked to giggle, Ianto remembers, that’s what he remembers most, when they were tucked tightly together in the space behind the squash courts by Bute Park, he’d made her laugh.

Mandy’s probably the reason why he associates sexiness with tie-wearing. It worked on him, and it worked on Jack, a long time later, when he was desperate and in need. He has a lot to thank Mandy for, really, once he thinks about it.

He wishes he could remember why they broke up. Just a nasty case of being fourteen, he suspects. It’s lucky that people tend to grow out of that. Mostly.

***


The girl who delivered the pizzas had a name. Her name was Annie. Ianto knows this because she’d been delivering their pizza for weeks, and Torchwood orders enough pizza that he’d seen her fairly regularly. She’d known his name was Ianto too, although she didn’t know his full name, and she’d teased him about his pizza-eating co-workers, wondering how such a small tourist office got through so much. She’d teased him about his waistline too, he remembers.

Annie was a pretty girl, delicate and fine-boned. Not really his type, he likes them robust and buxom, if he has a type at all. He tries to forget Annie now, because she’s part of the past, left behind like everything else to do with Torchwood, cold and red and metallic on a basement floor. He kisses Lisa, and closes his eyes. He’d never thought about Annie this way, it had never even crossed his mind, except as the vague will-she, won’t-she calculation of likelihood that every bloke does subconsciously in the presence of anyone even halfway attractive. That assessment, that thought, it makes him flush, now, as his mouth lazily explores Lisa’s thin shoulders and collarbones. She moans under him, and Ianto desperately nuzzles into her neck, feeling for the connection, for something more, something else... Lisa’s voice is high, higher than usual, and Ianto wants to make a dodgy joke about his prowess and its effects, but doesn’t quite dare. He would have dared once, and Lisa would have thwacked him with a closed fist, and they’d have laughed. He doesn’t risk it now.

She has her hands at his waist as he moves with her, the hot wet heat familiar and yet strange all at the same time. Lisa isn’t fragile, but... This Lisa is. Not just physically either. Her legs are high, wrapped around him, and she squeezes hard, just as he remembers, and he comes and comes. There is wetness at the corner of his eyes, as he holds himself up, not daring to let go, to lie his full weight down. He never lets himself go any more. He doesn’t think about his pizza-softened waistline, or Lisa’s delicate hands, or the scratches he knows are on his back, as she cries out in release, high and sweet like a bird. Everything is fragile, can fly apart at any moment, he knows this. But Ianto isn’t going to encourage it.

***


In sixth form college, things got more wild. Ianto went out with a number of girlfriends, fluidly, sliding from one to the next to the next, without any kind a plan. It didn’t seem to matter, all of them were doing it, almost like they were swapping. He’d thought it was a rare and unusual phenomenon, a real rebellion, but he’s noticed since, all closed environments have a tendency to become... incestuous. It’s rarely as trouble-free as at college though. That’s something. He remembers walking into the computer labs one day with Rachel (or Beth, or Jane, or Olwen) and finding his best mate Gwyn having sex under the desk with some bird. It was a revelation. It was excruciatingly embarrassing.

He remembers thinking he shouldn’t be looking, that he shouldn’t be gawping at Gwyn’s skinny arse, sticking up in the air. He’d flushed, he thinks, he’d stared, and then Rachel had giggled, which had broken the spell. Ianto had teased them, of course, even after Gwyn had pulled up his trousers and boxers, and he and Beth (or Jane, or Rachel, or Olwen) had crawled out and faced them. Even then though, Ianto felt he wasn’t really confronting Gwyn, couldn’t look him in the eye, not properly.

It was laughed off, it became a story. Gwyn boasted about it in the end, in the pub, glad it hadn’t been a teacher that had walked in, and that terrible uneasiness, that awful embarrassment, was bludgeoned to death with familiarity, with heavy wit. Ianto never forgot it though. He wasn’t sure Gwyn did either, because they drifted apart after college, and neither of them tried very hard to hold on.

***


Lisa has fallen asleep, and Ianto is watching. He’s not sure if he’s watching her, or watching over her, because it comes down to the same thing in the end, however much the distinction matters. He remembers she’d wanted them to be upgraded together, and although Ianto knows that was only the last of the programming speaking, that she’s completely fine, despite all that, he’s still compelled to watch, and to guard. That’s Torchwood’s influence, he reckons. You never leave Torchwood behind, not really – it’s like death or taxes, and just as unavoidable. He hates thinking like this, because they both have left. They are here in this cheap seaside guesthouse, with yellow curtains at the windows, and the promise of bacon and two eggs for breakfast in the morning. Ianto knows the coffee will be terrible.

It’s all so ordinary, that in some ways he’s glad of that. He strokes a strand of wayward hair away from Lisa’s mouth, oh so gently. She needs so much more sleep now, then she used to – but she’s gone through a terrible ordeal. And sleep is healing, after all. Ianto wishes he could sleep more, sometimes, when he lets his guard slip a little, but he can’t afford to, not now that he has... bad dreams. There’s screaming in those dreams, familiar and beloved, and Jack is shouting, his voice all distorted by rage and betrayal. Ianto likes those parts, there’s nothing wrong with relieving your feelings. Jack was always good at that. No, there’s other stuff that he’d rather not dwell on. Other things that he wants to stay carefully tidied away. He doesn’t know what’s wrong, he used to be so good at tidying things away.

He watches Lisa sleep and thinks, she used to snore. It’s such a small thing, ridiculous really. They were tiny little snores, almost snuffles, not great loud honking great duvet-shakers. But still. How can he miss something so stupid as a snore? His eyes burn, and his fingers clench in the covers, until he relaxes them, one by one by one.

***


When Ianto drifted to London he found it was harder to find himself a girlfriend. To find himself any friends at all. London is so big, so impersonal, he’d found it just as hard as others before him to find his niche, his place in the world. He’d experimented, he’d drifted, he drank a lot, he took some drugs. He thought he was really living, but he’s not so sure any more.

He met Chloe at a club, he thinks, and it turned out that they had a dealer in common. Apparently that was enough to start something between them, and later when other things had gone to shit, they still had that connection. Chloe was henna-red, and wild, and shameless. She’d snog other men in front of him, to make him jealous. Ianto would laugh and pretend it didn’t matter. He’d learned to hide his feelings years and years ago, he’d never known precisely when.

When she overdosed, Ianto thought that he’d be more upset about it. He called 999, got rid of the drugs down the loo, and then sat there holding her hand, waiting for the ambulance to arrive. He expected to feel something. He wanted to feel something.

Ianto began applying for proper jobs again, the very next day.

***


Ianto thinks he must have eventually slept, at least part of the night, and that means he wakes up with a smile. The sheets under him are crumpled from tossing and turning, but at least he doesn’t remember his dreams, so that’s enough to put him in a good mood. That’s something to bloody celebrate.

He turns to Lisa, and sees that her eyes are open, that she has been watching him in turn. The covers are thrown back, and her slim pale body is bare and vulnerable. He immediately begins to worry, is she too cold? Is she too hot, or sick? He wants to throw the duvet back across, he wants to cover the shiver of embarrassment that chills his shoulder-blades. He doesn’t want to think too hard. He’s never been ashamed of their naked bodies before, he doesn’t want to consider why there are now goosebumps lying across his skin.

He leans forward to kiss her, and Lisa lets him. Her mouth is cool and impersonal. Like a machine. He takes her hand and pulls her closer as he rolls onto his back. He nestles her into the crook of his arm and drapes her hand across his belly. It’s better like that, with the morning light shining through, a butter yellow glow across the bedspread. He doesn’t have to look at her. He swallows and thinks of how her skin feels under his fingers, as he holds her hand. Silken flesh, smooth nails, but nicked and pocked and rough from work. He stills, brings her palm closer and kisses it, mouthing each mark, each burn, making them better.

Her skin was unblemished last night. Ianto holds her tightly and closes his eyes. The golden light through the curtain is a beautiful illusion. When he finally opens them the morning will be grey and wet, and waves the colour of iron will be slapping against an unforgiving shore. He knows what’s out there, but just for a little while longer he wants to be fooled, he wants to live in happiness. That’s not too much to ask.

***


Ianto never expected to get the job at Canary Wharf. He hadn’t even known the organisation was called Torchwood at first, but the recruitment officer had smiled and said they liked the fact that he hadn’t lied on his CV. That kind of honesty was surprisingly rare, she’d said. Ianto had reckoned it must be the only job where having a criminal record, even a minor one, actually helped.

He met Lisa on his second day in post. Just as he was beginning to think that it wasn’t for him, that it was all too serious, too hush-hush. That he couldn’t make himself wear a suit every day and like it. She’d made him laugh, he remembers. He’d needed that. He’d loved her competency, how she wasn’t needy, or demanding. She was… an equal. Yes. That was it. He loves thinking back to those days before they started seeing each other, because she became a good mate, a close friend, before she became anything else. Weird. He’d never had that with any bird before. It was nice.

And then there were camping trips, and nights at the cinema, and popcorn fights, and moving in, and… He’d loved it, all of it. Lisa was The One. He’d thought she was, no, he’d known she was. He’d never even seen it coming. But people never do, now do they? Life is made up of tiny accidents, minute coincidences, small decisions. But it all adds up to…

***


If only, Ianto thinks, as he gently strokes Lisa’s hair, if only it had been someone else. He doesn’t remember everything, but the strangest details return at the oddest times. He’d been kneeling, he thinks, next to Lisa’s body, the head sawn open, the flesh violated and full of metal. Great pools of blood were congealing on the floor, his trousers had been sticky with it, his hands… Then he’d stood, and listened to her, to Lisa. Watched helpless and in agony, as she’d explained, as she’d said she loved him. A stranger’s mouth with Lisa’s voice. Lisa’s soul. He couldn’t ignore that, could he? Could he?

If only it hadn’t been her who found them. If only the team hadn’t split up, searching different levels, looking for Ianto, looking for the cyberwoman. If only someone else had noticed the fallen pizza boxes in the pool. If someone had noticed, things would be very different now. He’d only had a second, a split second to make a choice, so naturally he’d chosen Lisa. Of course, he had. He had no real loyalty to Torchwood, they wouldn’t have helped him, they would only have killed, and he’d known that. He’d reacted, instinctively.

That doesn’t make it right.

Ianto tells Lisa he’s going to ring down and ask for breakfast in bed. They both deserve it, he tells her, a little treat before they face the world. She’s passive in his arms, all gentle uninterest, all compliance. Ianto wonders how long that will last, once… Her dark blond hair is fine and flyaway, nothing like Lisa’s really, but he buries his nose and breathes in its scent none the less.

Ianto reaches towards the several mobile phones that he’d spilled casually onto the nightstand the evening before, and picks one out. It’s compact and unobtrusively flashy, obviously high-end. He flips it open and holds the button down to switch it on. He phones down for breakfast. He leaves it on, screensaver swirling, and places it gently back onto the bedside table.

Tosh’s mobile phone. A beautiful piece of tech, and he hasn’t had time to figure out how to disable the GPS. It seems only appropriate. A memorial to the woman who found him, in extremis, in a basement. To the woman he shot down in cold blood, so that Lisa could live. To the woman he murdered.

As Ianto uses the phone, he finds he’s inched higher in the bed, so that he can see the rest of the room. He can see the cannibalised standard lamp, the laptop in pieces. He can see wires trailing from the broken sockets on the walls. He can see there was a beginning here for them, but he can also see the ending. That seems appropriate, that seems right. He only wishes he could truly regret it.

He wonders how long it will take Jack to arrive.
 
 
( Read 29 commentsLeave a comment )
fantastic dealer of wounds: Jack's all madsmirnoffmule on October 26th, 2008 09:37 pm (UTC)
Ouch. What I love about this (and your writing in general) is that no matter how angsty the subject matter, there's no melodrama in your writing. It's all very matter-of-fact, you just let the facts do the punching in the gut. This feels like it so easily could have happened, and yet it gave me such a lurch.

I love your hints of Ianto backstory, too. This is just so perfect - once again, you've taken a fandom full of cliches and come up with something novel.
Valderys: Ianto with gunvalderys on October 26th, 2008 11:04 pm (UTC)
*shuffles feet* Thanks, hon! Really. Because that's something that worries me - I think my writing is terribly menodramatic! :) It's not going to make me stop, per se, but I do worry about it. I just love doing these tight POV, monologue type fics, and they're very self-indulgent, but I do love them! :)

Luckily my Stopwatch fic is going to be sprawling and full of - well, not exactly action - although maybe later on... Hmm. Less indulgence, at least, I think! So that's good.