Characters: Ianto, Lisa, Jack
Summary: Ianto has one goal, to save Lisa, and he has to keep moving forward with his plans, no matter what.
Word Count: 1500
Written For: Challenge 21: Forward at beattheblackdog.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
Ianto closed the door behind him, leaning back against it and sliding down until he was sitting on the floor. There was no going back now, he was committed to his chosen course of action and all he could do was forge onward and hope for the best.
The last few days he’d felt like he was teetering on a knife-edge, unsure which way he would fall. Everything, his entire future as well as Lisa’s life, had been hanging in the balance, totally dependant on whether or not he could convince Captain Harkness to give him a job. If he failed, then he’d have to come up with another plan, find some other place that might give him access to the things he needed to help his girlfriend, but if he succeeded…
It was weird to realise that he hadn’t really thought much further ahead than that. Get Lisa out of Torchwood Tower, transport her to Cardiff, get a job with Torchwood Three, and then what? Somehow get her inside Harkness’s base of operations for starters. While he more or less knew where that was, he hadn’t been inside yet so he knew nothing about its layout or what security systems were in place and how to disable them. He’d have to find all that out before Lisa could be moved, and he had no idea how long that would take. It meant he would have to continue to keep her here in the cellar of this derelict old house, siphoning power from the national grid in order to keep her life support machine going, while holding down a full time job. It was going to be a juggling act; he wasn’t getting enough rest as it was, thanks to the nightmares, and everything he had to do for Lisa. Not that he begrudged her anything; she could do nothing for herself and yet she so seldom complained, bearing every indignity with a brave smile.
Ianto thought back to the events of an hour ago.
“Hey! Report for work first thing tomorrow.”
After everything he’d been through so far, hearing those words should have filled him with elation, but instead his heart had plummeted into his shoes and it had been all he could do not to burst into tears then and there. Not tears of joy even, despite knowing he’d finally got what he’d wanted, but tears of despair, shame, guilt, and self-loathing.
It had been far easier to contemplate using and betraying someone he’d never met but only heard rumours about, than to know he was about to do exactly that to someone he was beginning to genuinely like and respect. To make matters worse, the attraction he’d felt towards Jack as they’d rolled on the warehouse floor had taken him by surprise, adding to his guilt. He’d come so close to kissing Jack and that would have been a betrayal of everything he and Lisa shared. How could he have almost done that to her knowing she was waiting for him, alone and in pain?
“Ianto? Is that you?” Lisa’s voice, drifting up from the cellar, was faint and strained. She was long overdue for her pain medication and he silently berated himself. He didn’t deserve the luxury of wallowing in self-pity when Lisa was lying down there, strapped to that monstrous contraption, suffering and unable to move.
“Yeah Lisa, it’s me. I’ll be right down.” With shaking hands, he roughly wiped away the tears that streaked his face. He’d almost used his sleeve before remembering that he’d need this suit in the morning. It was far from the best one he owned, but he hadn’t wanted to risk one of his other, more expensive ones on such a hair-brained scheme as trying to catch the pterodactyl. Besides, he hadn’t unpacked his other suits yet, if you could call randomly throwing his and Lisa’s clothes and personal items into black bags at the last minute ‘packing’.
In a bitterly ironic twist, he and Lisa had been in the process of moving in together when everything had fallen apart. Most of their stuff had already been packed in boxes in preparation for the move from Lisa’s one-bedroom flatlet and his own bedsit into a nice two-bedroom flat they’d found a few streets away from Lisa’s place. All he’d had to do before leaving London had been to cram the most important of the stacked boxes, and the bags filled with their other belongings, into the space around the conversion unit that took up most of the van he’d taken from Torchwood One’s underground garage. At least it meant he hadn’t needed to buy much other than food since he got here, so he could reserve most of his remaining savings to pay whoever he found to fix Lisa. He hoped it would be enough.
Getting to his feet and dusting off his trousers, he realised he’d have to get his other suits out and pressed over the next few days, along with any other clothes he might need for his new job. Another task he could well do without, but there was nothing else for it. He wanted to look the part of the efficient, dutiful employee, all suit and tie and stiff upper lip. Appearances were important; present the right image and hopefully no one would see past it to his inner turmoil. Suit as camouflage.
Making his way down the steps to the cellar by the light of a small torch, Ianto steeled himself before stepping into the dimly-lit room at the bottom and crossing the bare concrete floor to where Lisa lay, hooked up to the life support system he’d jury rigged from the parts of several conversion units he’d cannibalised. He picked up a bottle of morphine from his dwindling supply, measured out a dose with a syringe and injected it into the tube in her arm.
“Sorry I was gone for so long, love. I’m going to hook up the automatic drug delivery system I picked up in a few minutes; we’re going to have to rely on that to give you your painkillers in future.” He moved around to where she could see him and took her hand, squeezing gently and trying to ignore the cold metal against his palm. “I did it, Lisa. I’m in, and as soon as I find a safe place to hide you in Torchwood Three’s base, and work out how to bypass their security systems, I’ll get you set up in there. It might take a few days though, I don’t want to arouse their suspicions so I’ll have to play the part of the eager new recruit, following orders and doing my job. But we’re one step further forward. Everything’s finally falling into place; as soon as you’re settled I’ll start searching for someone who can fix you, and when you’re well again we’ll leave, go somewhere we’ll never be found. This is going to work.” He forced himself to sound confident. It had to work.
Lisa smiled weakly. “I knew you could do it, Ianto.” Her smile faltered as the drugs took hold and for a moment her voice turned metallic, harsh. “This body must be repaired.” Then Lisa was smiling again. “You always keep your promises.”
Ianto smiled back, not letting Lisa see the fear that had momentarily gripped his heart. “Always. We’re going to have a wonderful life together, you’ll see.” He leant down and kissed her forehead. “Sleep now, I have things I need to do before work tomorrow. Is there anything else you need?”
Lisa shook her head slightly, all the movement the machine allowed. “I’ll be fine, you don’t need to stay with me. Go do what you have to, but don’t forget to get some sleep yourself. Human bodies are weak, they require rest and sustenance in order to operate efficiently.”
Ianto hated the way Lisa’s voice kept changing, as if there were two personalities inhabiting her body, each with its own thoughts and agenda. It scared him and he couldn’t help wondering, just for a moment, what would happen if the machine consciousness took over completely. It was a worrying thought, but he ruthlessly quashed it; he couldn’t allow himself to be swayed by doubts. Lisa trusted him to save her and that was what he intended to do, whatever it took. Nothing could be allowed to interfere with that goal.
The road ahead was going to be difficult, there were still so many things he needed to figure out and he knew it would take all the strength, courage, and determination he could muster if he was to have any chance of succeeding, but he really didn’t have any other choice at this point. He had to see this through to the end now. All he could do was try to keep moving forward, one step at a time, taking each day as it came, and pray that everything would turn out right in the end.