Pairing: Tosh/Ianto, mentions of Jack/Ianto, Jack/Gwen
Rating/Warning a very hard R, and very very dark, potentially noncon
Summary: Ianto explains something to Tosh
Author's Notes: WARNING: this is not a nice fic. Owen's current "status" threw a monkey wrench in my plans for this 'verse. Many, many thanks to my betas karaokegal, diachrony. You guys rock.
Disclaimer: Torchwood and the characters appearing in this fic are property of the BBC. No copyright infringement is intended.
Previous fics in the same 'verse:
Urban Retreat #1
Brownian Motion #2
Clouds in the Evening Sky More Darkly Gather #3
A Fork in the Road #4
I know I shouldn't care; I got myself into this position. And yet I do. Watching Jack look at Gwen as though she's unbearably precious, hearing him talk to Owen like he's the soul mate Jack's always wanted – it's all acid, etching away the man's charm and fake sincerity to the truth: I'm not interesting enough for him, not anymore. I have to choke it down and smile, because I've made it through worse, right?
It's like Tosh said, back before Owen died: how can anything be enough for a man who's outlived everything? I didn't want to hear it that night, but there's no way I can avoid it now. Not when he's got me courting Gwen for him with wedding dresses and stilted innuendo, or when he “suggests” I comfort Tosh with a waggle of the brow that doesn't need clarification.
So here we are out walking in the Cardiff rain tonight, we two who don't really fit into the equation anymore, now that Jack's found his perfect companion and his heart's desire. It took two to fill his Doctor's shoes, but Jack is hardly complaining. And I hate the part of me that wants him to complain. It's a weakness that I haven't been able to burn out of myself yet. I kick a loose cobblestone viciously at the thought, and Tosh looks at me sideways, though she keeps her peace.
I think Tosh knows we've been placed on the sidelines just as well as I do, but she's fighting it where I've given in gracefully. She's trying to learn to dress well, to take down the pompous and mighty with a competent hand and a warm gun, and look where it got her: trussed up like a spider's meal with the Banana Boat, not one whit closer to Owen and the immense pedestal she'd placed him on. Further away, if his smirk at the retelling meant anything. Jack had certainly laughed on cue.
Of course, I'm in no position to point fingers. I fill my new appointment as ably as I always do, but I'll be damned if I want to play Rosencrantz to Jack's Hamlet. I went to him for comfort, for distraction, and most of all to try to find a way to fit back into the only family I have left. Taking all those risks to keep Lisa alive, to buy or steal a way to save her though she was already dead – all of it put me on the outside, an untrustworthy emotional wreck no one tried to understand. And I still lost her; even the memory of her warm chuckle is fading now. I thought I'd found a way back in as Jack's playmate, even if the first time he touched me had made my skin crawl as though the miasma of Lisa's death still hung around him like an aura. It was a highly addictive aura, it turned out. I still feel it tugging at me when he grins like a fool at something Owen says, or licks his lips as he stares at Gwen's head bent over her work.
Jack knows all about that one-sided tug. I'm sure I'm not the first he's discarded. I think he even feels vaguely guilty about it, though he was quick to bring up the way it was my choice in the first place when he finally rebuffed me for the first time. First and last time, no one has to tell me twice. I won't crawl, not just to soothe my own twisted feelings.
Listen to me, mooning over the man who split me like an ax and left me hollow. I deserve what I've gotten.
Tosh, though – I steal a glance at her through the rain and think she needs to be told more directly than I did. She doesn't see how we all have a place, how we all have to fit together like atoms in a molecule, that isotopes are deadly and decay rapidly into something no one wants. She'll break us all if she's not careful. She still has dreams, little girl fantasies of a dangerous hero who loves and protects her. I don't blame her for it; I know what happened to her mother. But that doesn't make it less of a pipe dream.
And so I find myself pressing her up against a wall and fucking the truth into her, the truth that we're both side characters in this world, that we are always replaceable; never to be the princess or the knight errant, we are at best the king's trusted retainers. She whispers denials against my lips; she tastes of tears and the acid rain falling in this back alley, a disturbing, provoking, arousing familiarity I can feel but not grasp.
She jerks as she comes, her hands clenched tight in my soaking wet hair, a sob pulled unwilling from her throat. I force her to look at me when I climax, as I tell her that I'm the best she'll ever be allowed to have. I feel a sick satisfaction in the pain of her realization when she finally accepts the truth.
I wonder what Jack's made of me, that I can enjoy killing her dream.
As our breathing slows, she pushes me weakly away, murmuring that she could quit Torchwood – leave now and never come back to Wales. Make her own story, however lowly it might be. I just shake my head as I do up my trousers.
I can't say anything as I watch her make her unsteady way toward her flat. Apparently, I've not gone completely cold yet. Besides, I know she'll be back tomorrow, just like I will.
We're both junkies in the end, and we'll take almost anything as long as we can get just one more fix. Touch, if only for a moment, the face of God.
Comments = love