Can't imagine a time when this isn't everything. Pain so constant, like my stomach's full of rats. Feels like this is all I am now. There isn't an inch of me that doesn't hurt.

To any outside observer, Ianto Jones appeared to be fine. He had a good job, a nice car and a flat in the right part of town. He always knew what to say at each moment. He smiled when he was supposed to, laughed at the jokes that were told. When Jack flirted, he would respond in kind and always delivered an appropriate snarky comment when Owen made a jab at him.

To those around him, Ianto Jones appeared to be getting better. He seemed to finally be moving past what had happened with Lisa. He seemed to be moving on with his life.

He wasn't.

You see, Ianto Jones was an expert in deception. He had lived for so long behind a mask that it was almost like a second skin. He knew what the world wanted him to be, so he slipped on that façade. Perhaps someday, it would be more than a front… perhaps one day it might sink deeper and become real. But not now.

Right now, Ianto Jones was wasting away inside. He stayed at the Hub far later and came in earlier than anyone else. He knew Jack thought it might be for him, and Ianto let him believe that. It was preferable to the alternative.

Preferable to the reality, that if Ianto Jones left the hub, he would have to go home to his empty flat. To face the truth that he was absolutely alone. To allow the mask drop and let the rats devour him.