No Hope

by Gracefultree

A/N: Here is a short standalone Cyberwoman story. It's sad, so be warned.

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"You're here late," Jack commented, crossing his arms over his chest and leaning casually against Ianto's desk in the Archives. "What are you researching?" he continued, leaning over to look at the file in front of Ianto.

"Cybermen," Ianto answered softly, not looking up, despite the urge to do so he felt when Jack's warm breath washed over the back on his neck. "I thought it might help me get over the Battle if I understood them better."

And maybe I can get some information from you... Ianto thought. Maybe it's time to trust you some more. You certainly haven't tried getting in my pants, which is unexpected given your reputation and how much I flirted to get the job. You've been a downright gentleman.

Jack grunted and flipped quickly through the file. "Well, I can tell you for certain that this talk of rehabilitating them is rubbish," he said. He tapped the page with a finger. "Dr. Tanizaki is a fraud," he added. "He's a zealot, and Torchwood has been watching his movements for years. There's really nothing that can be done, despite what he might say."

"Really?" Ianto asked, disappointment coloring his voice. "Even if, say, they'd only been, um, half-converted?"

"Even if," Jack answered. "There's no cure, not even by my time."

"So..."

"If someone were to be stuck in between, mercy is the only option."

"You're sure?"

"I'm sure." Jack paused for a moment, watching the play of emotions on Ianto's face. "UNIT uses a bullet between the eyes, but I think that's barbaric, especially when they're awake to see it coming."

"What would you do instead?"

"Lethal dose of morphine," Jack replied instantly. "They say it's like going to sleep."

"Is it?"

"I'm sorry?"

"I know about you, sir. I won't tell anyone, of course." And I never will. Your secret has already gotten you tortured. I refuse to be the cause of more pain. There's already too much of it in this world.

Jack sighed and pulled over a chair so they could talk without the barrier of his height in the way when Ianto was already sitting. He wasn't surprised that Ianto knew his secret, not after spending three weeks in the Archives. "It's kind of like that. The medicine burns going in, but then you feel detached and floaty. At some point, you drift off."

"But it would work on a cyberman, you think? If she wasn't fully converted?"

"I'd double the dose."

"Ah."

"Come up to my office and I'll sign the requisition form. Would you like company?"

"No, um, that's - what?" What are you saying? Do you know -

"You're a brave man, Ianto, to do everything you've done for her, and more so to then consider this option after all that. I'll stand beside you as you do it, if you'd like that support."

"You know?" Ianto asked in an almost silent voice. Shit. Now we're both going to die. Oh, Lisa, I'm so sorry!

"I followed you after your first day working here when your entire attitude towards me changed. You weren't flirting anymore, and it got me thinking. I saw how you looked at her, how you care for her and love her. I'm not a monster, Ianto. I wanted to see if you'd come to me or get to this conclusion on your own."

"You know," Ianto said again, stunned.

"Will you take care of things tonight, or do need a few more days?"

"A few more days, please." Oh god, oh god, oh god...

Jack nodded and reached over to pat Ianto's hand. "If you haven't sorted it on your own by then, we have a date Friday at six, got it?"

"Yes, sir," Ianto replied. He closed his eyes. They sat in silence for a few minutes, Jack's hand warm on Ianto's. "How much of a grace period did I have left?" he finally asked, ever the realist. Jack removed his hand.

"It would've been Friday, either way. A month is long enough for her to suffer, don't you think?"

Ianto broke down, tears trickling down his cheeks. Jack stood and pulled him up into an embrace.

"I love her so much!" Ianto sobbed, clinging to Jack.

"I know, but that's why you have to let her go," Jack whispered, stroking Ianto's back to soothe him. "She's suffering, and you don't want that, do you?" Ianto shook his head. "Come on, I'll help you, all right?"

Slowly, they made their way back to the main Hub.

"Thank you, sir," Ianto said softly, disengaging himself from Jack.

"It's Jack, Ianto. For something like this, it's Jack."

"Jack," Ianto repeated.

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On Friday at 5:59pm Ianto walked into Jack's office with a filled out requisition form for enough morphine to kill three grown men. Jack glanced at it.

"You're not thinking of -"

"It's all for her, sir," Ianto interrupted. "Jack," he amended.

Jack signed the form with a flourish and dropped in into his outbox. "I have a key to Owen's cabinet," he said, standing. "Have you decided-"

"I'd like your company," Ianto blurted, interrupting him for a second time. "If the offer's still open, that is."

Jack smiled grimly. "Of course it is. Let's go." Ianto followed Jack to the autopsy bay where Jack unlocked Owen's medicine cabinet and selected the proper amount of medication. "She's still on an IV?" he asked over his shoulder as he gathered some more implements.

"Yes," Ianto said quietly, taking the tray from Jack. "She's this way." He gestured towards the basement levels with one hand.

"I know. I watched you bring her in."

"You-"

"Don't underestimate me, Ianto. I might seem like I'm lazy and don't pay attention to anything, but I'm a lot older and more observant than even the best of you."

"I didn't mean -"

"I know. Besides, there's more important things on our agenda tonight than either of us."

Ianto nodded and they continued walking in silence.