Rating: PG-13 (T)
Disclaimer: I don't own them, intend no infringement. They belong to the BBC.
Spoilers: Cyberwoman
A/N: the quotation Ianto remembers is paraphrased because I couldn't remember the exact words. A grateful thank you to smirnoffmule and madtheo for the betas.


We are not fallen yet

"Lisa," he says softly, brushing his fingers over her lips, because he used to run them through her hair and now he can't. She does not wake, does not stir, and he sighs. He sits in the rickety chair that he found on the eleventh sub level two days ago, and reaches for the novel. Persuasion is her favourite, though she complained it had never being filmed right. He's recorded the latest version for her, so she'll be able to see it when she's better. He makes a mental note to tell her about that when she's awake; it'll cheer her up.

The thought reminds that him she hasn't woken since he moved her here, a mere four days ago, guilt and trepidation making the span seem endless in his mind. His heart is in his throat with every step he takes around this giant dungeon and every time someone speaks his name his pulse beats discovery; he can't sleep from the adrenaline. She's hooked up to the drugs that will keep the pain from becoming unbearable, and for the briefest of moments he wishes he could trade places with her. It's not right; this, her like this, with not enough skin to touch, not enough warmth, and he lies shivering and lonely in his bed at night with the immensity of his burden.

He opens the novel, removes the marker, clears his throat. "Captain Wentworth..."

but neither are we angels--

He's shivering and lonely again, cold and grieving; it's impossible to stay but impossible to move. He should get the down blanket from the cupboard, but he never has before and he can't find the energy now.

He's surprised himself -- the blood washed off his hands so easily as Jack stood in the doorway watching, angry disillusionment burning out of those hard, pained eyes. He felt no need to keep scrubbing past cleanliness, no need to run the tap so icy it would hurt, no self infliction of any kind. He wonders now if that means he's uncaring, unaffected by the deaths that have occurred. She is dead, but in that death she was not alone and they all three weigh on his conscience, but it does not drive him mad with grief or guilt. Does that make him the monster he accused Jack of being?

Loneliness is so easy to drown in, and he lets it take him now. It does not warm, but the chill can do little to hurt him in the long run, and he does not care. He was lonely all these months, but has no self righteousness with which to say, you should have seen, because he made it this way; this loneliness is everywhere where she is not. Seeing, seeing him, wouldn't truly have made a difference, and he made them not see him.

He does not wish to die; he does not wish to live. He supposes that makes the decision for him, as he lays still and breathes. He's reminded of something distant. If the sun comes up tomorrow, it will be only for the actions of good men. Life makes choices for him in the destinies of others that influence his own. A living pawn, decision is in the involuntary action of moving air into his lungs.

--we are dust and scars and dreaming

The burn on the inside of his left arm surprises Jack, who says, "I've never seen this before. Were you hiding it from me?"

Not consciously, Ianto thinks, but his subconscious has betrayed him before. "Maybe," he replies, and Jack looks and smiles.

"I see I don't have the exclusive claim to enigmatic," he says, chuckles, and kisses the scar. He licks the circumference of the jagged patch of tissue and lifts his head again, assessing Ianto with eyes dark.

Lisa never touched that even as she was the cause of it, Ianto thinks, and lets his head fall back against the floor, not too fast, avoiding a painful collision. Jack runs a thumb over the skin, and Ianto shivers. The cold is a constant companion to some things still, and he struggles to rid himself of it, avoids giving up the last shreds that bind him to her memory.

"Hey." Jack's voice is gentle, soft, coaxing as only Jack can -- never making Ianto feel less for not knowing, for having to learn.

He lifts his head slightly, knows to make eye contact because Jack thrives on it.

"I can leave it hidden, if you like," Jack offers.

"Please," Ianto replies before he's aware he's said it. He tries a wan smile.

"Bad memories?"

He shakes his head. "No."

"Just memories, then." Jack moves his hand from Ianto's left arm, turns his head to Ianto's stomach. "There's other parts of you I can worship."

Ianto lets him talk, lets the tones of Jack's voice -- surprise, a chuckle, the brief feel of a raspy tongue, Jack's clear, beautiful laughter -- lull him away from the cold.

He'll go home tonight alone, and be cold again. Of sorts, it is his penance.