Chapter One

"Like the suit by the way."

Ianto halted momentarily, a tiny frisson of pleasure snaking through his mind as he felt Jack's appreciative stare burn into him. A second later, the pleasure dissipated, replaced by self-directed anger; guilt for allowing himself to respond to the charismatic Captain when that had definitely not been part of the plan. Just for a fraction of a moment, he had forgotten the reason he was doing this, forgotten quite why it was so important that he land a job at Torchwood 3.


His beautiful Lisa, so full of life, trapped inside a metal shell, clinging onto life by her fingertips. He had to save her, and getting into Torchwood Cardiff was their best hope. He had told Jack that morning that she was deceased, and he was desperately afraid that his lie might become truth.

He hadn't been able to save her when the Cybermen attacked. The mysterious 'ghosts' that had troubled him for weeks, finally materialising into something truly horrific. He had dodged Cybermen and Daleks alike as the battle intensified, his only aim to find Lisa and get them out of there. He'd been too late. He'd failed her.

Dragging her from the conversion unit, they had stumbled through the darkened hallways of the ruined building, the pain from his own injuries forgotten in his desperate need to help Lisa. The authorities couldn't, or wouldn't, help. He'd heard the soldiers being given their orders as he and Lisa struggled down empty corridors. If there are any Cybermen left, destroy them. He couldn't let that happen to Lisa, and from that moment on, he knew he was on his own.

At first, Lisa had been pulling through remarkably well, her body holding up despite the metallic components of her incomplete 'upgrade'. All too soon, however, things began to deteriorate. Systems slowly failing as the full effects of the mutilation set in.

Ianto had drawn upon long-forgotten skills gained during his misspent youth, sneaking into the heavily guarded tower to retrieve various components from the conversion units. Rebuilding them, with Lisa's guidance, as a life-support system. He had been forced to resort to even more trickery when it became clear that over-the-counter painkillers would not be strong enough, and his own prescription for stronger analgesics had been exhausted. He had employed all manner of deception to acquire the medication Lisa needed, but even those supplies were beginning to dry up.

Lisa's condition had worsened each day. Ianto had cried the day he'd been forced to intubate her, her broken body no longer able to breathe independently. Without access to significantly more advanced technology, Ianto knew he would soon lose her.

And thus, barely a month after the fall of Torchwood One, he had relocated them to Cardiff, hiring a van and driving through the dead of night to minimise exposure.

He remembered the rumours about Captain Jack Harkness that had filtered through to his department at Torchwood One. A little covert research around Cardiff quickly verified them, and his strategy to persuade the older man to hire him was quickly formed. Finding the pterodactyl had really been a stroke of luck, although Ianto had his suspicions that his dinosaur hunting technique may not have been the only factor contributing to Jack's offer.

Still, no matter the motives, he was in. One step closer to saving Lisa.

As he walked away from Jack, a tear escaped and slid silently down Ianto's cheek.

Everything was going to plan, and he would finally have the resources to help Lisa. So why wasn't he more pleased?