People can’t exist in a vacuum. Everyone needs someone, some form of companionship. Ianto had Lisa, but… she wasn’t herself, not surprising considering what she’d been through, what she was still going through. They talked, when she wasn’t in a drugged sleep, or in too much pain, but those moments when he caught a glimpse of the woman she’d been before her ordeal were becoming fewer and further between. Most of the time when she spoke she didn’t make much sense. Sometimes he almost started to doubt that Lisa was still in there, but he couldn’t lose faith in her now, not when they’d come so far. He’d worked so hard to keep her alive, to keep her hidden. He couldn’t bear to contemplate failure, it simply wasn’t an option; she was counting on him.
Because he had no intention of remaining in Cardiff once Lisa was cured, Ianto had always intended to keep the other members of Torchwood Three at arm’s length; better that he shouldn’t get involved with them any more than absolutely necessary. But he was human, and already feeling painfully isolated by Lisa’s condition. In short, he was lonely, and who could he talk to if not the people he worked with? Not about Lisa, of course, or really about himself, but work was surely a safe topic of conversation.
Suzie seemed fairly indifferent to his presence; she was cordial but not overly friendly, reserved but not in the same way Ianto himself was. She was a bit of a workaholic, single-minded when involved with something that interested her, to the point where she ignored the people around her. Tosh could be like that too, but she was more open and friendly, and Ianto soon realised that he genuinely liked as well as admired her. He could learn a lot from her too; she was a genius with computers and he’d already picked up a few tricks that might help him create new identities for himself and Lisa when the time came.
Owen was a bastard, bad tempered, always ready with a barbed insult. It would be easy to dismiss him as arrogant and obnoxious, but there was a sort of vulnerability buried beneath the sharp tongue and self-destructive behaviour. The reasons for that became clear to Ianto as he worked in the archives. Although access to the employee files on Torchwood’s computer system was restricted to the boss’s eyes only, hard copies of personnel files were stored in filing cabinets which Ianto had been handed the keys to. He was able to read everything, and he did so, although he didn’t let on about what he learned to anyone, not even Lisa; that would be an indefensible invasion of privacy. He felt for both Owen and Tosh; in many ways they were like him, trying to deal with horrific events in their lives as best they could.
Then there was Jack Harkness, larger than life and twice as gorgeous. Ianto had thought Lisa was the love of his life, that he could never feel for anyone else even a fraction of what he felt for her, but Jack was magnetic, thrilling, extraordinary… Ianto felt drawn to his new boss in ways he couldn’t quite put into words. Jack wasn’t the first man he’d ever been attracted to, but he’d never met anyone quite so irresistible.
And Ianto did try to resist; he was in a committed relationship with a woman who needed him right now more than she ever had. He had no intention of cheating on her, not ever, but somehow he wound up doing just that.
How do you say ‘no’ to someone when your body screams ‘yes’ every time you’re in their presence? It wasn’t as if he could avoid Jack and the temptation he represented, although sometimes he wished he could because when Jack was there, especially when nobody else was present, it was so difficult to think about anything else. Jack filled his senses, made him want to touch, taste, smell… Had anyone else he’d ever met smelled as mouth-wateringly delicious as Jack Harkness? 51st century pheromones; that was what Jack claimed was responsible for the enticing aroma he exuded, which begged a few questions about the origins of Torchwood Three’s illustrious leader.
Coming here, Ianto had been sure he could avoid becoming personally involved in any way with the people he would be working alongside every day. He’d been so naïve to think that he could shut himself off, exist in a vacuum of his own making. Not even for Lisa’s sake, not to mention her safety, had he been able to keep himself aloof because he was no different from anyone else. He needed people in his life, companionship, and meaningful conversation. He needed to be touched, and held, and loved, needed to feel both physically and emotionally, and now… Now he felt altogether too much.
He still loved Lisa; that was without question, but he loved Tosh as a friend, even loved Owen a little, like the brother he’d never had. As for Jack, Ianto’s feelings for his boss were complex. He admired and respected the man, desired him with an intensity bordering on outright lust, and had grown to care deeply for him. If he didn’t love Jack yet, he was heading inexorably in that direction.
How had his life become so complicated? All he’d wanted was to rescue Lisa, take her to a place of safety, protect and care for her, find someone who could heal her, and he’d done all of that; Doctor Tanizaki would be here in a few days and Ianto was sure he’d know how to help Lisa. He had to; he was one of the top cyberneticists in the world! Once she was herself again Ianto would take her away from here, somewhere nobody would ever find them. But how could he leave this place, and the people who’d become his friends? He fitted in here as if he belonged. Could he really just walk away? Did he even want to? Lisa needed him but so did Torchwood.
He should have kept to his original plan, maintained a distance between himself and his colleagues, but he’d just been so damned lonely, and now the prospect of walking away without so much as a goodbye made his heart feel like it was breaking. The worst of it was, he knew he had no one but himself to blame.