Who He Wants to Be
Chapter 67: At the Hub, pt 1
A/N: Warnings for violence and some suicidality.
"Well?" Jack asked, bouncing on the balls of his feet, his smile wide and excited and hopeful.
Ianto turned in a circle, taking in Jack's expression, the cavernous space, the Asian woman — Toshiko — at her computer station, Suzie at her workbench, scattered with tools and random bits, Owen and Billy — white-haired, red-eyed, skin a mottled grey, but otherwise human-looking — in what could only be described as an old-school surgery theatre — no, theatre was too large, bay? — surgery bay, the rubbish strewn about, the alien tech just as haphazardly tossed wherever seemed to fit, the rubbish, the pizza boxes and takeaway containers and coffee cups and files and rubbish and rubbish and rubbish and —
"Unacceptable," Ianto declared. "There's no way this is Torchwood! I am not working in a rubbish —"
"It's actually not so bad," Billy called. "I've seen it much worse."
"Worse? How could it possibly be —"
"Maybe we'll skip the rest of the tour, then," Jack muttered under his breath, all his enthusiasm gone. He turned his back on Ianto and waved in the general direction of Owen. "Go see Owen. I'll be in my office." He slammed the door behind him.
Ianto stood frozen on the 'Invisible Lift,' staring in shock. What had come over Jack?
"Way to go, Teaboy," Owen grumbled loudly. "Now he'll sulk for half the day."
Ianto got off the lift and walked towards the others. The longer he stayed, the more repulsive the place seemed. Dirty. Smelly. Covered in all kinds of dried fluids — mud, blood, sewer water. Rubbish everywhere. He felt his skin crawling.
There was no way Jack could expect him to work in these conditions. Hell, there was no way anyone could work under these conditions — it was worse than a sewer, though, admittedly, he didn't see the feces he smelled. How could he touch anything? There wasn't even a place to start organizing, it was so bad!
He needed a hazmat suit.
He turned towards the glass-walled office where Jack had gone, seeing him sitting at an old wooden desk stabbing at a piece of paper with a pencil. As he watched, the pencil snapped and Jack threw it against the desk, dropping his head to his hands. Ianto took a step towards him and felt a wave of nausea.
Jack growled to himself as he threw himself into his desk chair. How dare Ianto insult the Hub? His Hub? His home?
He grabbed a pencil and the nearest report to be looked over and scowled, anger swirling behind his eyes.
Who was Ianto to criticize him, anyway? Just some Torchwood London drone. No thoughts but what the Tower told him to have. No actions but what the Tower told him to —
Ianto wasn't a drone. He was a wonderful, beautiful man who —
Killed him just the other day. Betrayed him to the Tower. Claimed to love him but was just using him for the Tower's gain. Forcing him to feel things for him… forcing him to kill innocent operatives to rescue his family…
He hated killing! And Ianto knew that. He knew.
And still he forced Jack into doing it.
No, that didn't sound right.
The pencil snapped under his hand.
Who cared, anyway? Ianto was just a child. A stupid, scared child. Jack didn't need him. He didn't need anyone. He —
Why was Mikado's voice in his head?
Probably Ianto's fault. He'd been in the most contact with Mikado recently, so who else could it have been?
Just another traitor in his bed. Giving away his secrets to London… Stealing his thoughts and memories…
He'd been broken by Mikado once. True, he'd been tortured and drugged first, but Mikado had broken through his walls. Never again, though. Everything had reset when he died, and he came back with psychic walls firmly in place.
He'd never allowed himself to be near Mikado again, after that.
So why was he hearing Mikado and his poison?
He tugged on his hair painfully, sparking an instant of clear thought.
Mikado had been torturing Ianto for months… in his head… planting suggestions and subconscious time bombs. Could he have set one to explode in Jack's head?
But Jack hadn't bonded psychically with Ianto since that time in his flat after the second interview… Mikado hadn't gotten to Ianto yet.
He looked out at the Hub, at his people, at Ianto, kneeling on the floor dry heaving.
Ianto was sick? Was he suffering from Mikado's tampering, too?
Jack got to his feet, but a wave of loathing swamped him. Ianto was sick? Good. The little weasel deserved to be sick after what he'd put Jack through. He deserved all the pain he could —
He grabbed a paperweight and smashed it against his hand, crushing the bones. He let the pain take over, washing away the sewage that was Mikado's influence.
He felt it slip and smashed his hand again. It was a technique that wouldn't last, he knew. He had to do something, get to the bottom of it. He noticed Billy.
Billy! He'd been bonded with Billy for hours yesterday! Not just the usual surface bonding, either, but he'd been rummaging in his head, reconstructing the careful barriers that kept Billy sane. Mikado had planted seeds deeply in Billy's mind, and though Jack thought he'd cleaned them all up, some spores must have transferred to his own mind.
Reset. He had to reset. That was the only way to permanently get rid of Mikado's influence. But how to do it? He could shoot himself, but then Ianto and the others would see him come back. No, that wasn't the problem; they already knew. He didn't want Ianto to see him shoot himself. He couldn't heap another trauma onto his lover, not after Ianto had killed him a few days ago and —
Kill the boy, Mikado hissed in his head. Kill the boy and it will all be better.
Jack cursed loudly, squeezing his bloodied and broken hand to try to get ahead of the thoughts.
He jumped down to his bunker and shut the hatch behind himself.