Disclaimer: None of the characters belong to me. Sadly.
Spoilers: The Keep Killing Suzie and all that went before it.
Author's Note: Just another one-shot looking into the mind of Ianto Jones. I'm not entirely sure I like it but I thought I'd see what you guys thought. I'm not entirely sure where all the fluff has gone from my mind – I suspect its related to my feelings on Miracle Day. That's another diatribe for another website though!
In that sickening moment when the lights go out pitching the Hub into an all encompassing darkness he feels the all too familiar tingle of fear crawling its way up his throat. He knows it's ridiculous and that, for now at least, he is perfectly safe although admittedly locked inside the impregnable walls of the Hub. Yet he still feels his heartbeat rocket, drumming dully in his ears in time with his racing pulse, beads of cold sweat forming on his forehead.
He never used to be afraid of the dark as a child, in fact he remembers creating secret cave dens in the space beneath his bed and the cavernous void that lurked under the stairs in his parents' home. In those days the velvety darkness had been comforting; shrouding him in invisibility on those nights his Da came home from the pub on the corner on payday, protecting him from the quick fists that characterised his father's defeated anger. It was his sanctuary, where he could sit for hours on end, plotting his eventual escape from the dull monotony and unhappiness of his years as a child growing up in South Wales as a part of a family he felt he'd never truly fitted into.
As a child he always thought he'd failed his parents. He wasn't strong enough, clever enough, brave enough, and that's why his Dad behaved the way he did. Now he's older, and has had time to reflect, he thinks that perhaps it was more that his Dad thought he'd failed his children. He recalls vividly the defeated air that hung round his father like a shroud, even before the insidious onset of cancer had turned him from a strapping prop on the rugby pitch to a shrivelled husk of a man his family barely recognised. It was that air of defeat that kept his son from visiting during his illness, the younger man unwilling and unable to see his full-of-fight father give up on everything, even on his will to live after a lifetime of railing against anything and anyone, even his own child. But in those final days of his father's illness, all he wants is to hear his familiar raised voice shout at him, because then everything would be back to normal, and his Mam and sister wouldn't carry those haunted, sorrow-filled looks that he wishes he had the depth of feeling for his Da to be able to replicate.
He can pinpoint the exact day, the exact moment this fear started. He can tell you precisely where he was, every detail of the terrified faces that clustered around him in a tiny room in Canary Wharf. He recalls, in vivid technicolour clarity, almost every night, the way they huddled together beneath the ruby glow of the emergency lighting while the dull mechanical thud of cybermen boots and the shrill whine of dalek voices echoed around them signalling the fall of so many hundreds of their colleagues, including the woman he loved. He remembers the feeling he has now, magnified a hundred, a thousand times when he realises the sounds are coming closer, heralding his impending death.
He remembers running through building blueprints in his head, mentally testing routes of escape although blurred in the background of his recollections are those moments when he finally led the group through the archive corridors, turning corners with dizzying, unpursuable speed into the relative safety of the deep storage areas. He doesn't remember those moments well at all, is relatively unaware that practically all the survivors of the massacre owe their lives to him. That is subdued beneath fear and overwhelming modesty.
Now, as Suzie and Gwen race away from them to God knows where, all those feelings are back, threatening to swamp him, breaking his fragile grip on control. He feels his breathing hitch painfully in his chest as he tries to focus on the calming sounds of Jack's unflappable voice. His fingers, grasping his phone, tremble slightly, leaving his phone feeling slick in his clammy handed grip. Silently, he berates himself for his stupidity, praying that the darkness hides his fear from those trapped with him.
It is almost without thinking that he begins to disassemble his phone, mind racing as he searches for the wires that will allow him to use the water tower as a relay for his phone signal. It doesn't abate his fear, unusual noises still send a jolt through his nervous system but he is at least distracted, and has a purpose. It helps of course that Jack is there, and while he's still not entirely sure how he feels about the enigmatic Captain, he is sure that the hate he felt in the aftermath of Lisa's death is gone.
And then all of a sudden, the phone is connected, he can hear the dial tone and see Jack grinning at him and for a moment the darkness lifts in the face of his triumph. He'll not remember this later, he'll play down his role in saving the day to that of a bit-part actor, because his heroism will be buried; beneath his modesty and his fear.