Pairings: Jack/Ianto, Ianto/Lisa
Disclaimer: Torchwood is not mine. No matter how much I sometimes wish it was.
Spoilers: Some information and events from s1,2. None for s3.
Summary: Why didn't you tell us? We could have helped you. - Well, what if he did?
This chapter: Lisa asks Ianto for help holding on.
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.
Fic starts here
Previous chapters at the new master list for this fic
Ianto glanced at the scanner display with trepidation. It had grown higher every time he looked, and it seemed to be accelerating at an alarming speed.
In the wake of Tosh’s bad news, that really, really wasn’t good.
“It’s higher again, isn’t it?” Lisa’s voice was strained. The higher the number got, the harder she was finding it to stay in control.
He nodded as he walked around back into her line of sight.
“How bad?” Ianto hesitated, but Lisa was firm. “Just tell me, Ianto. I… I need to know.”
“Forty-one point six percent,” Ianto sighed. Less than ten percent more and it have an equal grip on Lisa’s brain to Lisa herself.
“I suspected as much,” Lisa pushed out. “I can feel it in the back of my mind all the time now. Tapping away. Waiting for me to give up; waiting for me to just cede control.”
Her eyes were wide as she stared at Ianto. “The worst thing is that sometimes it is so tempting. It’s so tempting just to stop fighting, because I’m so tired and it’s getting so hard.” Ianto stroked his fingertips down her cheek, his eyes full of sympathetic sorrow. “Please help me, Ianto.”
“In any and every way I can,” he murmured hotly. “What do you need me to do?”
“Remind me why I’m fighting?” Lisa asked plaintively. “Talk to me, tell me a story. Help me hold on to all the emotions and feelings this thing wants to take away from me. Take me back to a time when I wasn’t fighting this all the time.”
Ianto nodded and gripped her fingers. “I can do that.” He thought for a second. “How about the story of Ianto and Lisa’s Moving In Day?”
She smiled weakly. “I think I know that one already.”
“Maybe.” He mustered his own best smile. “But you can’t deny it, it’s a good one.”
Her smile grew a little stronger as she let herself remember. “Yeah, it is.”
Ianto shifted on the stool to get comfortable before beginning the story. “Once upon a time, not so very long ago…” He paused when Lisa scoffed at him. “Hey! What’s that for?”
“Enough of the cliché fairy tale bit. Just tell the story.”
“Oh, alright. If you insist.”
“Lisa! Is this the last of them?” Ianto called breathlessly through the open front door as he climbed the last few stairs.
He couldn’t be entirely sure that the cardboard box in his arms didn’t contain building bricks or rocks, even though the label on the side said ‘books’ in Lisa’s loopy handwriting.
Next time, they were getting moving people in to do this stuff. Now that they actually owned furniture – ignoring the fact that none of it was assembled yet – he felt justified in making this one small decision about the future without consulting Lisa.
“Are there any more boxes in the car?” Lisa asked in response as he stepped across the threshold into their new flat. Their new flat. He still liked the sound of the words when he thought them.
“Then that’s the last of them.”
Ianto put the box down next to the stack of other boxes marked ‘books’ and ‘DVDs’ and smiled at Lisa where she stood unpacking cutlery and crockery on the other side of the kitchen counter. “Oh thank God. I think my arms will fall off if I make them cart up anything more.”
“Well, Tracey and Colin offered to stay longer and give us a hand with the rest, but you insisted we were fine. So you only have yourself to blame,” Lisa retorted, grinning back. Tracey, Lisa’s friend from university, and her boyfriend Colin had stopped by earlier that afternoon and helped them cart their IKEA purchases up the two flights of stairs.
“That was before I realised how much stuff we have between us.” Ianto looked around at the piles of boxes around the room. The bedroom was full of boxes too. “Are you sure all of this is actually going to fit? I mean, we only bought two of those bookcases, and this looks like more than two bookcases’ worth of books and DVDs.”
“If they don’t fit they don’t fit,” Lisa said, dropping the last of the spoons into the drawer and coming around the counter. “Stop worrying and start opening boxes.”
“Shouldn’t we assemble some of the furniture before we start trying to unpack some of this?”
Lisa smiled and leant over to kiss his cheek. “You know, for once, Ianto Jones, you might actually be right.”
“Oi!” Ianto reached out and, snagging a hand around Lisa’s waist, pulled her to him. “I’ll have you know that I am frequently right. You just suspiciously never remember it.”
“If you say so,” Lisa mumbled against his lips.
Ianto pulled back slowly, tempted back for several more soft kisses before he drew away. “Right then. Erm… side table or bookcase?”
Lisa considered the two boxes. “Well, a table can’t be that hard to assemble, right?”
An hour later, they’d proved that yes, a table could be that hard to assemble. Privately, Ianto thought he might have had it put together by now if he was on his own, but instead of speeding the process up, having two of them had slowed it down. They simply couldn’t agree on what the sketches in the instructions booklet actually meant.
“No, look, it goes through part 12, into part 9, and then that little twisty thing goes in the side.”
“I’m sure that’s part 6, not part 9. Part 9 is too long.”
“No, part 6 would be too short. It must be part 9.”
“You know, actually, I think it might be part 11. With one of those longer screws. The… ‘D’ ones.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m sure. Now hand me that Allen key.”
With a similar debate over almost every instruction, it was no surprise that it was over three hours later before they had completely assembled the table and one bookcase.
Not wanting to subject themselves immediately to the building of the second bookcase, even though they knew how to do it now, they decided to start unpacking and sorting their DVD collections.
They should have guessed really that this would lead to more good-natured bickering - most importantly on the subject of whether their now extensive joint collection of movies starring either Johnny Depp or Tom Cruise should be segregated into a special section of their own or if they should be alphabetised with the rest.
By the time the DVDs were sorted to their satisfaction, it was early evening and, over a meal of takeaway (as they had unpacked kitchen utensils but had yet to stock the fridge), eaten at the counter on the stools the previous occupant had thankfully been happy to sell on, they simultaneously realised that they hadn’t even started on the bedroom furniture yet.
Comfortably full, they headed into the other room, armed with a screwdriver and the Allen key.
Ianto took a long look at the large box of parts on the floor next to the mattress and made a decision. He tossed the tools onto the floor beside the door and turned to face his new live-in girlfriend.
Wrapping his arms around her, he caught her mouth in a passionate kiss and swivelled them around, backing towards the bare mattress.
“I still can’t believe it took us four days to finally get around to putting that bed together,” Lisa smiled. Ianto noted with pleasure that some of the tension had left her voice.
“Well, as we discovered that night, the mattress was quite comfortable enough for us on its own.”
“Oh yeah…” Lisa sighed happily, but Ianto detected a hint of melancholy beginning to seep back in.
“We’re going to have another day like that, Lisa. We just need to keep fighting for it.”
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