Characters: Ianto, Lisa, Jack.
Spoilers: Fragments, Cyberwoman.
Summary: Ianto hadn’t realised how much he missed being touched until he met Jack.
Word Count: 751
Written For: juliet316’s prompt ‘Author's choice, author's choice, lack of touch,’ at fic_promptly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
It’s not a question of love; Ianto loves Lisa with all his heart and knows she feels the same, but everything between them has changed because of her… condition. He can hardly bear to touch her now. Half of her body is sheathed in cold, unforgiving metal, and the parts of her that aren’t feel clammy beneath his fingers and almost as cold as the metal. Besides, when he touches her it causes her so much pain, making her scream in agony. The painkillers he injects into the tube in her arm help to a certain extent, but he can’t risk a high enough dose to numb her pain completely. He’s scared he might accidentally kill her.
She can’t touch him either. The range of movement allowed by the cobbled together life-support contraption she’s strapped to is very small, barely enough to allow her to turn her head a little or move her fingers and toes. She’s unable to lift her hand or reach out to him, and he tells himself that’s okay because it’s only temporary, just until he finds a way to undo what’s been done to her. Then things will go back to how they used to be, holding hands, hugging, kissing, making love… Even though she’s right here, he misses her so much.
Days turn into weeks, then a month, and Ianto does all he can for Lisa while taking the next step in their plan; finding a way into Torchwood Three where he’ll have access to medical supplies and information, both of which they desperately need. He doesn’t notice how starved for simple human contact his body has become until Captain Harkness practically lands on top of him, and they wind up rolling about together on the warehouse floor. Sparks of intense sensation shoot through Ianto’s nerve endings and he can barely resist clinging to the man beneath him, kissing him, and being kissed in return. Whatever he’s feeling, he can tell Jack is feeling it too; pulling away is one of the hardest things Ianto’s ever done. He has to remind himself why he’s doing all this, and it’s not for his own pleasure.
Nevertheless, Ianto is irresistibly drawn to Jack. Weeks of not being touched by another human being have left his whole body craving even the slightest contact. A hand on his shoulder, the brush of lips against his forehead, a fingertip touching his cheek, wiping away a smudge of dirt… no matter what it is, the smallest touch makes him want to cry. Humans are tactile creatures, they need to be held, caressed, made to feel wanted and needed, and for so long Ianto has been denied that. He wants to tell Jack to stop, because each gentle caress hurts him in ways he can’t explain and his craving for them grows every day. He doesn’t want to cheat on Lisa, but he can’t stop himself from doing it anyway; it’s as if he’s helpless to resist. When Jack touches him, instead of saying no, Ianto says yes, and for a while he can push away everything that’s happened and just exist, floating adrift on a sea of sublime physical awareness.
Not being touched was like being dead; it was cold and lonely, but endurable because he could barely recall the way things had been before. Now Jack has reawakened him to the world of physical sensation and he can’t bear the thought of going back to the numb emptiness of before, where the lack of touch left him doubting his own existence whenever he lay awake and alone in the darkest hours of the night, waiting for the dawn. Now he feels alive again, leaning into Jack’s touch even as a voice in the back of his mind tells him this is wrong, that he’s betraying both Lisa and Jack, albeit in different ways. He knows he should never have started this thing with Jack in the first place, he’s just going to wind up hurting all three of them, but everything seems to be spiralling out of his control. Whatever it is he and Jack share, it’s the sweetest kind of torture imaginable and he hates himself for needing it so much.
Dee down he knows he can’t go on like this, but neither can he make himself stop. No matter what he does, he’ll be the loser. He’s caught in a trap he made for himself and no matter which way he turns he can’t find a way out.