spock: logic is sexy

Torchwood Fic: A Monster of So Frightful Mien (Jack/Ianto)

Title: A Monster of So Frightful Mien
Pairing: Jack/Ianto
Rating: R
Warnings: Vivid descriptions of non-sexual violence against women (though nothing more than what appeared in the episode "Adam.")
Summary: Ianto's a monster. Always has been, always will be. From the episode "Adam."
Notes: A slightly creative interpretation of the prompt "multiple personalities (always there)" on my hc_bingo card.
Word Count: 941



Ianto wraps his fingers around the girl's throat; her pulse pounds and then slows beneath his thumb, and when it finally stops, he feels at peace. Then the world shifts and fractures around him and he thinks it's the rift, come to claim him at last, but no, he's here in the Hub, slumped on the floor, soaked with sweat.

"I didn't do that," he says. He meant it to come out strong, but really it's a plea. Tell me I didn't do that.

But he did. Killed two more just like her. Adam says so. Adam doesn't lie, and anyway, how can he argue against his own memory? His black-gloved fingers caress the cheek of a crying woman. He leans in, pressing his face against hers, the better to hear her final, gasping breaths. He scrabbles frantically against the memories as if he could tear them from his mind by willpower alone, but he already half-believes them anyway. Loyal Ianto, always underestimated, always overlooked. Not smart enough to hide Lisa in the basement and keep her alive. Not strong enough to kill her. But they're wrong. He's worth looking at. He knows it every time he listens to the girls pleading for their lives.

But then, there was something else, wasn't there? Some other piece of evidence, something even more solid and irrefutable than the memory of Ianto Jones, the man who knows everything. There it is lying on the floor, brown leather cover askew, a few of the pages crinkled.

"My diary."

His voice rasps like the final breaths of the women he's killed. But no, he mustn't think that. He didn't do it. He has to remember that so he can tell the others what Adam is. Tell Jack, tell Jack, tell Jack, he chants, but the words don't even sound like real words anymore. He can't fool himself any longer. All human record is lies. He didn't write down Adam because Adam helps him clean up the bodies. Can't risk letting those two worlds collide. Good by day, evil by night. It's the only life he's ever known.

He scuttles backward until the his head collides with a hard metal wall. He sits there with his knees hugged to his chest until his body stops shaking. Tell Jack. Yes, that's the solution. Confess so Jack can do what he's good at and keep the others safe. He'll lock him up or put him down; either way, it will be over. He pulls himself into the desk chair and waits, calm and still, until the door rattles open and Jack steps inside.

He waits, muscles tensed, for Jack to acknowledge him. But Jack doesn't see him at all and he almost loses the nerve.

"Jack," he hisses at the last second before the hem of his coat flutters off into the darkness.

He listens to Jack's footsteps approach and then stop further away than he would have liked. He can see the blurred outline of Jack's shape in the distance, but he keeps looking up into the tangled mass of pipes in the ceiling.

"You have to put me in the vaults. Lock me up."

The words come out more easily than he had expected. He speaks slowly, weighing each syllable as it flows over his tongue.

"I killed three girls, Jack. Strangled them."

"Stop kidding around."

Jack's voice is low and dark. Threatening. He wraps the sound of it around himself, comforted by the promise of punishment inside it.

"I'm serious."

He looks at Jack for the first time but doesn't hold his eyes for more than a split second. The certainty of his memories fades if he looks at Jack for too long, and he can't allow that.

"I murdered them in cold blood. I took their bodies and..."

He leaps up then and watches Jack flinch at his sudden movement. Even Jack is afraid of him then. Jack who fights aliens and can't die is afraid of him.

"You have to lock me away. Before I turn on you. None of you are safe."

He starts moving then, charging past Jack toward the vault. He can be himself there. Safely locked away, he can give himself over to the monster inside him.

"Hey! Hey!"

Jack's voice is sharp behind him, ordering him to stop, but he doesn't do it, not even when he feels Jack's hand close hard around his arm.

"Ianto, come here."

Jack spins him around roughly, hands gripping his upper arms hard enough to bruise. He fights it. He has to. People like him don't deserve to look people like Jack in the eye. Hate me, he wants to say, but he can't do it. He's not strong enough.

"What's happened to you?" Jack asks, like Ianto hasn't always been this way. Like he's someone good, someone worth believing in. He wants to keep telling the truth, that he's a killer and always has been, but he can't look at Jack and say it, not with Jack's hands warm on his shoulders and his eyes alight and concerned the way they always are when there's a problem to solve. When Jack wraps his arms around him, pulling him close, Ianto doesn't fight, just falls into the familiar solidness of his body.

"I'm a monster," he says against Jack's shoulder, elongating the word, tasting it on his tongue. It's wonderful. It's awful. It's wrong. He is wrong. He's known that for as long as he can remember. The words sap the last of his strength, and he slumps against Jack and closes his eyes. Jack will make it right. Jack makes everything right.
Thank you! My next goal for Torchwood fic, other than my Big Bang of course, is going to have to be writing something that's actually new as opposed to just reviewing the events of the series...
What a brilliant idea. I'd totally forgotten about this episode, but I love the way you wove the prompt into it. Poor Ianto. He breaks my heart here.
Thank you! I'm glad you could see the prompt in there because I wasn't totally sure it made sense. I mean, from Jack's perspective this is definitely the sudden onset of multiple personalities, but Ianto is convinced that they've always been there. In any case, I batted around the idea of a fic about actual multiple personality disorder and decided I wasn't really comfortable with it, so... Anyway, I'm glad you liked it! One of these days, I'm going to have to write Torchwood fic that I actually made up instead of just reviewing the events of the series.
oooh, I've wanted this story since I saw that episode, and this is beautifully done. Ianto is so shattered here.
this is really interesting. like how you kind of show ianto's confusion and that even if he 'knows' that he killed three girls, there's still an uncertainty there hence why he doenst look at Jack and so on. this is a really unique twist on that scene from ianto's pov and you show that really well:P
Wonderful! "Adam" is my favorite ep, and I love this look inside what was going on!
I love how Ianto is instinctively certain that Jack will make everything all right, despite what Ianto believes about himself. Thanks for this!