Pairings: Jack/Ianto, Ianto/Lisa, also eventual hints of Gwen/Rhys, Owen/Tosh
Rating: R (some chapters NC-17)
Disclaimer: Torchwood is not mine. No matter how much I sometimes wish it was.
Spoilers: Better say everything through s2, just to be sure. Begins pre-S1.
Summary: Why didn't you tell us? We could have helped you. - Basically this fic is one huge 'what if' situation... you'll have to read to find out more!
Warnings: The working title of this fic was angst!epic, so you can probably gather from that that things are going to be pretty dark at points.
Thanks to: My beta cazmalfoy for all her wonderful work, and my cheerleaders angelzbabe1989 and piper08 for putting up with me when I whine about being stuck.
“I can’t do this.”
If Ianto thought he had been conflicted the night before, it was nothing compared to his current state of mind. The temptation to just confess all and see where the chips fell was nearly overwhelming, but only nearly. Almost as strong was the urge to run.
The only thing he was certain of was that he couldn’t continue with his original plan. He would find another way to get Lisa the help she needed, he just couldn’t do it like this.
“Can’t do what?” Jack looked perplexed.
“This. This job. I just… I can’t. Not like this.” Ianto knew he wasn’t explaining himself well, but his normally collected thoughts were scattered. He was having trouble formulating a response that didn’t involve spilling all his secrets. It didn’t help that part of his brain wanted to spill them.
Ignoring the confusion evident on Jack’s face, Ianto turned to walk away, choking down a sob that threatened to erupt. He had only taken a few steps when he felt Jack’s hand gently grasp his shoulder, spinning him back to face him.
“I don’t understand.” Jack shook his head. “Yesterday you were desperate to work here, and now you’re, what, quitting before you even start? What’s the problem? What do you mean, not like this?”
Ianto took several steps back, trying to escape the feel of Jack’s warm hand on his shoulder. “Yesterday was… I was… I just…” Closing his eyes, Ianto attempted to summon some inner calm before he spoke again. “I was lying to you - deceiving you - and that’s not me. Or at least, that’s not who I want to be, not anymore. So, I can’t do this. I just… can’t.”
“Ianto…” Jack’s brow furrowed; Ianto’s speech had done nothing to really clarify the point. “You’re still not making sense to me here. Just tell me what the problem is and I’m sure we can figure it out.”
The urge to do just that, to unload his problems and let Jack help him ‘figure it out’, was growing stronger, but fear kept Ianto resisting. “I wish I could. You have no idea how much I wish I could.” Despair started to well up inside him, and his voice broke, “But I really can’t. I… I can’t… Can’t risk it.”
Overwhelmed by his emotions, Ianto didn’t notice Jack moving towards him, until he was right in front of Ianto, gripping his biceps and trying to catch his gaze.
“Ok. Breathe for me, Ianto. You need to calm down.” Jack’s voice was low and soothing as his hands smoothed down Ianto’s arms. “You can’t hyperventilate on me now; Owen’s not here to save you yet.”
As Jack had no doubt intended, Ianto felt a snort of laughter bubble up at that, and his breathing slowly began to even out. “That’s better,” Jack grinned, and stood back, giving Ianto more room to breathe.
“Now, how about you tell me what’s going on?” He held a hand up, stopping Ianto before he could interrupt, “And before you say you can’t, I think the way you just reacted says that you need to tell someone.”
Ianto blinked, knowing he was right but still unsure of Jack’s reaction to the truth. He was relieved when Jack turned away, indicating for him to follow. Mutely he did as requested, following Jack through the Hub to his office. The short walk gave him a few minutes to think, and he used them to consider his options.
1. Say nothing and run.
While part of his consciousness was screaming at him to do just that, Ianto knew that it wasn’t really an option. It would leave him searching for another new way to help Lisa, and that was only if he could get away quickly enough.
He wasn’t stupid enough to think that he could just walk away with his memories entirely intact now that he’d been inside the Hub. Especially considering how suspicious running away would make Jack and his team. No, that option was out.
2. Lie. Cover up the lie with another one and stick to the original plan.
And he’d be back where he was half an hour ago: dreading the thought of routinely practising the art of deceit and indirectly betraying his new colleagues. Combining the slightly sick feeling the thought brought to his stomach, with the cynical surety that Jack’s now heightened curiosity would be able to see through any new lie, led Ianto to only one conclusion. That wasn’t really an option either.
That left him with only one viable solution to his problem.
3. Tell Jack everything and hope my hunch is right.
Onto chapter five
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