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 The first time is a few days after Ianto starts working in Cardiff, tired and exhausted, his hands cut up from putting together the Cyber-conversion unit to keep Lisa alive and searching without hope for a specialist (or even someone who claims to be a specialist—Ianto’s pretty desperate) who’s still alive and not working for the military in an underground chamber somewhere.

It’s Jack who touches him first; all warm hands and big flirtatious smile and kissing that steals Ianto’s breath and before Ianto knows it, he’s on his knees sucking cock like he hasn’t since he was in high school (and not very well, even back then with all the practice he was getting in), but Jack makes it so easy with his hands in Ianto’s hair moving him and quiet encouragements that make Ianto want to take more and more and more

And afterwards, Jack licks come out of Ianto’s mouth and jerks him off, mouth pressed against Ianto’s ear whispering filthy things that sound alien and distant like everything and nothing and nonsense and Ianto’s not really betraying anyone (even if he is bent over Jack’s desk while his partially-converted girlfriend rests hidden in the hub basement, waiting for Ianto, relying on him to keep her alive, to save her) – not where it really matters at least, because this is his job and his way of keeping sane, so what does it matter if he presses into Jack’s hands like a hungry cat when the hands he really wants to feel sliding over his skin are trapped in cold steel?



Ianto believes Jack when he says that they need to be prepared, that the twenty-first century is when everything changes because he still remembers what it feels like to be pushed into line, forced to wait his turn and watch his colleagues and friends be converted into monsters, to hear them scream and beg and cry over the noise of machines and the soulless ‘DELETE, DELETE ’ that put an end to any resistance. 

They’re the things that Ianto has nightmares about, Daleks and Cybermen and worlds full of ghosts, of creeping through rooms full of the discarded top-halves of human heads, of tripping over a familiar bun and thinking ‘Oh, isn’t that the hairclip Lisa bought for Hannah on her birthday’ 

They’re no where near ready enough for the shit that’s out there.

*

Before Ianto became a glorified janitor at Torchwood Three, he’d been the senior aid to the head of Risk Analysis and Management at Torchwood One. 

He didn’t stop to analyse the risks when he pulled Lisa out of the conversion unit though, he didn’t stop to think, not for days after Canary Warf, not even when the exhaustion finally caught up with him and Ianto found himself collapsing with a bucket in one hand-- because he’s volunteered to help the emergency services clean up the mess, (and not just the physical damage, missing walls and collapsed ceilings were easy; there were rooms where the floors were covered in blood and shredded human bodies, and, well, someone had to clean it all up), doesn’t actually think of Lisa as a risk until she propositions him with a brain transplant, and even then, Ianto still has hopes of saving her. 

He should have stopped to think about what he was doing, he should have known better. 

Not that he would have done things any differently. 

*

Jack doesn’t touch him after the mess with Lisa and Ianto isn’t sure whether he’s disappointed or relieved, but it only takes him a week to realise that being alone, locked in the hub and re-organising the filing system is going to drive him insane. 

Luckily, there are seedy pubs and clubs in Cardiff, just like London (but that had been before Lisa) and Ianto knows he doesn’t have to spend the night alone if he wears the right jeans (the tight ones that Lisa had liked so much) and smiles and bats his lashes, lets strangers touch him and take him home (or to a back room, a dark alley) and fuck him (or the other way round, Ianto isn’t picky). 

In the mornings he’ll cover the bruises on his wrists and hips under pressed shirts, neatly done up buttons, a high collar, and forget all about them -- which is a lie, because Ianto’s caught himself staring at his wrists during the day, remembering what it felt like to be held against a graffiti covered bathroom wall, stretched out and fucked the night before -- and serves coffee and archives records of Glowing Mushrooms and Glowing Dogs and tidies up (and tries not to think about Lisa, and how he’s alone now and how it hurts to breathe) – which is tedious and boring and might explain why Ianto’s thinking about sex instead. 

Other times Ianto thinks about sitting in a boardroom with white walls and a white table and matching white leather seats (like someone had been trying to make a statement), looking over a list of recommendations, Yvonne and the rest of the senior staff sitting around him and saying “The energy source could make us self-sufficient, and with the readings the scientific teams have forwarded, we see no risk in starting the project, although we’ll keep an eye on it just in case,” reading the words off the notes the head of Risk Analysis and Management had left for him. 

Sometimes Ianto wonders whether anyone bothered to check his background before he was transferred to Cardiff (what with there being no London offices anymore, no more files and )—wonders if they know how easily he can hack a computer, that he speaks twelve languages (three of them alien), or if they know about the kid Ianto almost beat to death in a boxing match when he was seventeen. 

He wonders if they know it was his job to threat assess rogue and unstable agents and to clean them if they were deemed dangerous or a liability. 

*

Three weeks after Lisa dies (which is inaccurate, because Lisa had died months earlier and Ianto had been too stupid—too cruel—to notice and let her go) and Ianto’s beginning to get used to the pain he wakes up to; the slow ritual of reminding himself to breathe through the worst of the agony every morning, Jack pats him on the back and hands him a cup of coffee that’s bitter and too strong (and tastes like an apology and forgiveness).



*



Ianto can’t stand the sight of them, but the smell is worse and it’s a wonder he doesn’t throw up, coming to in the kitchen, though his stomach does a nice impression of trying to climb out of his mouth. 

There’s someone behind him when he wakes up, someone with an arm around his chest and a mouth against his neck and fingers twisted in his hair. 

“You’re a pretty one,” the man holding him says, not bothered at all when Ianto tries to pull free, cursing and spitting. The man just laughs and licks his way up Ianto’s throat and across his cheek (and Ianto really wants to be sick or maybe even dead, because this is too much), “And you taste good, hmm.” 

“Get away from me,” Ianto says, and immediately regrets it when he gets a mouthful of someone’s tongue and ends up choking, feeling the bile rise in his throat as a hand slides down to the front of his pants and all Ianto can think is thank God Tosh got away , before he bites down as hard as he can. 

And then the mouth is being pulled off of him and Ianto’s bend over gasping for air nad being sick and he can barely make out the words being screamed over his head. 

The moment they get back to the hub, Ianto’s burning his clothes in the incinerator.
He’s pretty sure they’ve got one of those somewhere. 

He’s pretty grateful when they beat him unconscious.

*
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October 2013

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