A/N – I was never going to write this, you know. I had no intention of carrying on from 'Can't You See Them?' But I got so many requests for a follow up that I thought it was worth a shot, and so I sat around, had a think, and this is what I've come up with. It's dedicated to each and every one of you who asked for it, and to everyone who left me reviews for 'Can't You See Them?'. Your thoughts on it meant loads to me, and I hope you think this sequel was worth it. It has a distinctly lighter edge to it, though it does contain a certain amount of angst as Ianto is in recovery.
To all new readers – it's worth reading 'Can't You See Them?' first as it's the parent of this.
Much love to you all. xGhostfishx
Disclaimer – Does it say Ghostfish in the Torchwood titles? No. I know, I have the box set and I've checked it thoroughly.
Loss Of Sensation
Two Months On
He looked up at the sharp call, attention distracted from the new heat signal detection program he was helping Tosh with. She'd had a brainwave of sorts about their standard detection system which currently only picked up warm or moving objects. This newer version she had come up with would include the ability to detect disturbances in electrical impulses as well, making some species, especially of the cold blooded or invisible variety, easier to track.
Ianto met Owen's gaze, the head of the doctor the only visible body part above the lip of the mortuary pit. 'Owen?'
'You know I love you.'
Ianto sighed tolerantly. 'What do you want, Harper?'
Owen grinned his wide grin. 'Coffee.'
'Make it yourself then.'
'But it's shit when I make it. I'd rather lick a Weevil.'
'What you do down there is your own business,' Ianto called back, making Tosh giggle quietly as she tapped away beside him, entering streams of code quicker than the eye could see. Owen merely winked at the two, obviously in one of his irrepressible life-is-wonderful moods that nobody ever had the choice of not joining in with. At least this type of Owen made a change from the days you'd get grumpy, impossible Owen, Ianto mused to himself, raising an eyebrow at the medic as he started bobbing up and down, giving his head the striking appearance of a target at a fairground shooting range.
'Oh go on. You'd never let me near that machine anyway,' Owen reasoned.
'Not after last time, no.'
'Look, that was ages ago. I didn't mean to leave the fudge on it.'
'Hours of my life lost completely, scraping that out of the filter.'
Owen put on his best insincere sorry face. 'Please? Does it help if I say please?'
'No, that just frightens me.'
'Ianto...' The last vowel was drawn out, pleading.
Relenting in the face of such effort, Ianto offered his trademark almost-smile. 'Alright then. Give me a minute to finish up here.'
Owen cracked a grin again and disappeared back into his pit. The squelching sounds that had been floating from the area all morning were enough to put the entire team off going anywhere near the mortuary. But the doctor seemed happy enough in his work, despite the multicoloured and unidentifiable stains that now adorned his white jacket.
Tosh gave Ianto leave after about five minutes and he made his way to the coffee machine on the gantry.
As he waited for the silver behemoth to whistle, Ianto slipped into his own little world as he quite often found himself doing, the constant quiet hum of the working subterranean base comforting, the brief interlude in the working day allowing for contemplation.
It had been two months now since that day in Roundstone Woods. Two months since he'd been so intent on shooting himself that he'd lost sight of everything else. It still made his stomach twitch in fear every time he thought of it, which was mostly during these quiet moments when he was waiting for the coffee machine, or in the dim solace of the archives.
He could still remember the weight of the gun in his hand, the solid line of the trigger pressing into his finger. Had the rest of the team not shown up he'd have been two months dead by now. Stored down in the freezers like so many others, stored and catalogued by someone other than himself. Death by Torchwood.
Because he would have done it. Absolutely, unequivocally. Ianto had had every intention of burying that bullet in his head on that chilly morning, scattered sunlight playing over the crunchy leaves around him. He had wanted to die.
Two months on, and it was at times like these as the coffee machine started to whistle that Ianto wondered why he was still here. This was a feeling that was quite familiar, one that he had become used to thanks to the slow build-up of feelings that had led him to those first thoughts of suicide.
What surprised him more and more these days was that he wanted to be here.
This he hadn't expected. For a couple of days after the incident at Roundstone Woods, Ianto had been sedated and under observation at the Hub. For a week after that, he had been conscious and under observation. It was during that week that he'd begun to feel things again. Anger. Irritation. Why the hell had they stopped him? Why the hell had they stopped him! He vaguely remembered at some point during that confusing time that he'd grabbed Owen and shaken him, screaming those exact words into his shocked face. Owen had reacted swiftly, the wiry little man stronger than he looked, pinning Ianto back down on the mortuary bed and sticking a hastily retrieved syringe into Ianto's arm. The world had faded away again as the sedative took effect.
But that stage had passed quickly. Ianto hadn't attacked anyone else, instead reverting to a calm, embarrassed sort of recovery as fragments of memory from that day had started to come back to him. The regular sedation during those first few days after the event had provided its own sort of protective amnesia, which initially had caused the Welshman to lash out at the team for supposedly Retconning him. But as it had started to drift back, fragments of memory, Ianto had begun to realize what had happened to him.