Fore notes: Revision 4 October 2012.
Disclaimer: Torchwood belongs to the BBC and is the creation of the masterful Russell T. Davies. Recognisable characters and scenarios belong to the appropriate parties and are borrowed for entertainment purposes only.
Spoilers: Torchwood series 1-3, Doctor Who 'Army of Ghosts', 'Doomsday', 'The Stolen Earth', and 'Journey's End' (potentially others)
Summary: Ianto Jones had made himself into a shadow, hidden in the background, unnoticed. How does a shadow cope with being brought into the light?
Pairings: Jack/Ianto (eventually), Ianto/Lisa (mentioned), Gwen/Rhys, etc (standard canon couplings)
Ex Umbra In Solem (From the Shadow into the Light)
Chapter 1: Everything Changes
"Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose."
- French Proverb
He'd known. Of course he had. To her - to them all - he was background noise. The guy in the suit who brought them their coffees and cleared up their mess, silent save for the occasional sibilant quip. They paid him little mind, going about as if he were merely furniture, non-sentient and of no matter. It was almost funny how quick they were to dismiss him, how easy it had been for him to fade into the shadows.
He knew all of their little secrets. And they knew none of his.
For a secret organisation, one would think they'd be more careful, take nothing at face value. Instead they'd looked at his 'file' and accepted that as who he was, simple, innocuous. Just as he had intended them to. They were clueless.
Further proven by their complete and utter shock at Suzie's betrayal. Not a one of them had seen it coming, completely blindsided by something that should have been obvious. Her obsession with the glove had practically radiated off of her. He hadn't needed empathy to see just how deeply lost she'd become, how dangerous.
And now he stood, deep in the vaults, scratching out her death certificate in his neat scrawl, locking her in this tomb - property of Torchwood even in death.
"All done here?"
The suddenness of the words didn't startle him. He'd felt the man coming, heard his footsteps softly treading the flagstone and tile. "Almost," he responded, sliding the drawer shut, the clang of the locks resonating finality.
"Good," Jack sighed, looking grave and hurt, saddened by his failing, by his loss. "I should have paid better attention. I knew she was getting wrapped up in researching the glove, but I didn't see just how obsessed she'd become."
Obviously, Ianto thought a bit snidely.
"She did say the glove gets to you," the younger man replied, slipping his pen into his pocket. Ianto kept his own feelings on the subject carefully masked. He hadn't hated Suzie, but he hadn't particularly liked her either. The woman had a strangeness about her that was disconcerting, but that might have been the glove's work. She'd had her hands on it before even before Canary Wharf had destroyed his life. Perhaps before she'd been different, but that wasn't for him to know.
"Yes." The word hung in the air. There was no banter, no flirtation - the mood was wrong for it. "I've offered Gwen Cooper a job here," Jack commented, changing the subject with little finesse and Ianto could feel the further drooping, the weariness drawing to the forefront.
"She'll be a valuable resource," he returned, honestly not sure why the man dained to discuss his hiring practices with the 'butler'. "Her police training and people skills are likely to be quite beneficial."
Jack laughed then, mirth edging its way past the exhaustion to crinkle the corners of his eyes. "Ianto Jones, ever the pragmatist."
If he hadn't been facing the man, Ianto might have rolled his eyes. As it was, he merely stared on placidly. "If there's nothing else you need of me, sir?" he prevaricated, hoping to push the man into sending him on and being on his way himself. He needed to check in on Lisa before leaving and he couldn't very well do that with Jack wandering the tunnels.
"Go home, Ianto," the Captain sighed, though a small smile graced his lips. "I'll need you bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the morning. We've a new recruit to draw up contracts for and God knows I hate paperwork."
"I'll set up the phone monitoring and be on my way then, sir," the Welshman said, inclining his head slightly as he made to leave the catacombs.
He set the program from his desk in the Archives before checking the CCTV to confirm that Jack had made it to his own office. That done, he made the quick trip down to the subbasement to look in on Lisa. She lay still, tubes running in and out, trailing over her half-converted body. The silver metal contrasted starkly with her rich, dark skin, gleaming in the half-light. No change, he assured himself, dropping a gentle kiss to her immobile lips before locking the room and heading up to the main floor.
"I'm off, sir," he called through the open office door as he passed.
"See you in the morning, Ianto," trailed after him as he made for the cogwheel door and up the rickety, aging stairs.
The night was cold, especially along the Quay, and Ianto found himself shivering despite his coat. The 10-minute walk to his flat was just enough to chill his bones and stiffen his muscles so that when he arrived at the step, he was more tired than he felt he should have been.
He entered his dark flat quietly, switching on the table lamp in the foyer and shucking off his jacket. Meticulously placing it on the 3rd hook from the door, he slipped of his shoes and set them next to the pair of trainers near the door. His keys went into the small dish on the breakfast bar before he put the kettle on. While it boiled he slipped into the bedroom and changed out of his suit, donning soft flannel pyjama bottoms and a worn cotton t-shirt (if the bottoms hung a little low on his hips, he was sure it was because of their age and wear). Carefully he hung the garments back in the closet and was back in the kitchen with time enough to set out a cup and drop in a teabag before the kettle started to whistle. Routine completed he settled himself at the small, second-hand table to ponder the day and plan for the next.
It'd be best to be careful, he decided. Now that Suzie had shown her colours - dark red blood and bits of white-ish bone across the Plass, washing away in the fountain tower to pool briefly in the Hub before disappearing entirely - the other's would be more vigilant, more aware. But it wouldn't last, soon enough they'd return to their former complacency and when they did…
Dr. Tanizaki had been exceptionally keen to make the trip, almost antsy in his excitement to test his talents and come in close contact with the Cyberman technology. Ianto could only hope that the man could help and that his exuberance over the advanced equipment wouldn't hinder Lisa's recovery. He wanted her whole and human again.
Tea finished, he switched off the light and lay down on the bed. He focused on willing himself to sleep, it wouldn't do to be too tired, wouldn't do to slip up now - not when he was so close. He briefly considered a sleeping pill, but decided he couldn't risk being locked in a nightmare when the stakes were so high.
Wishing his love a soft goodnight, he closed his eyes and tried to clear his mind.