Title: The Man Who Isn’t There
Characters: Ianto, OC, mentions Jack and Estelle
Spoilers: Set shortly after Small Worlds.
Summary: The ghosts in the Hub don’t bother Ianto, except for one.
Word Count: 359
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
Ianto knows the Hub is haunted. He spends a lot of time in the lower levels and he sees a lot of strange, inexplicable things down there. After the horrors of Canary Wharf, the supernatural has mostly lost the power to scare him; the real world is a whole lot scarier than anything intangible could ever be. As long as the ghosts don’t bother him, he won’t bother them. Live and let live, or something like that.
He sees the ghosts mostly as flickers of movement in the corners of his vision, gone when he turns to look at them. Sometimes there are odd sounds, faint scents, or floating lights. And then there’s the man who isn’t there. That’s what Ianto calls him anyway, after the old children’s rhyme.
Ianto doesn’t know who the man is, or rather, who he was, but he’s met him at least a dozen times on the stairs to the lower archives. He doesn’t really do anything, just stares at Ianto with an expression of such sorrow and grief that it breaks his heart. He wishes he could somehow help the sad spirit, ease his pain, guide him to the light, or whatever you’re supposed to do for ghosts, but he wouldn’t even know where to start.
Of all the spirits drifting around the Hub, the man who isn’t there is the only one whose presence disturbs Ianto. Every time he sees the man, no matter how good a mood he’s in beforehand, he ends up feeling depressed. He wishes the man would just go away and leave him alone, and then he feels guilty for even thinking that. He’s sure the man would leave if he only could.
Ianto thinks that maybe Jack might know who the man is, but Jack’s weighed down by so much loss and sadness since Estelle died that he doesn’t want to add to it. Besides, he and Jack aren’t exactly on the best of terms right now. So he keeps the sightings to himself, smiles sympathetically when he sees the man, and gets on with his job.
There doesn’t seem to be much else he can do.