hope: Art of a woman writing from tour poster (ianto/lisa happy snap)
puddingsmith ([personal profile] hope) wrote2010-05-14 09:09 pm

Unfinished WIP: The Cyberwoman AU (Ianto/Lisa, Lisa/Jack, Jack/Ianto, NC-17, ~10,000 words)

I began writing this story in April 2009. Since the beginning, the synopsis has been:

The AU where Ianto still brings Lisa to Torchwood Three, but manages to save her - get her out of the conversion unit and rehabilitated - but of course, that’s not the end of it. Lisa is damaged, physically and emotionally, and considering they’ve gone AWOL from Torchwood, they have to run. But of course, Jack tracks them down, and offers them jobs at TW3. They accept.

I've now decided to give up on completing it - but have around 10,000 words of material for it. Waste not, want not! I shall share it here.

My original plan had been for a threesome to ultimately occur, but I think this goal is one of the things that prevented the story from being written. 13 months ago there were no Lisa stories - Lisa was not even considered a *human* character by a large portion of fandom (even when writing pre-series stories. I know, right?), I wanted to kind of shove their faces in it by making her real and alive (and her story not retconned, in the original sense of the word) and just as worthy of that intense loyalty and love that people constantly play on in the Jack/Ianto relationship.

But, like I said, it didn’t turn out like that. Because as soon as I started writing, Lisa became real, and the significance of what had happened to her overshadowed every trick I might try and come up with to get them all into bed. It became a story about her. And her story was about this horrible thing that had happened to her, and the politics of the show that had made those horrible things just another plot device.

So the theme of the story instead became about violation. About how Lisa’s body had been literally invaded and violated by this horrible thing, and that that had gone on for months. So of course she’s going to continue to be affected by that, and not want anything in her body. Which would make all the sexing difficult. Or just unorthodox.

So anyway. I had plans. The story was going to be in three parts: the first, Jack’s, where he hunts them down and we get the first impression of rehabilitated!Lisa and with-Lisa!Ianto. Then the second part, them arriving back at Torchwood Three to work, from Lisa’s POV. This part was to be tens of thousands of words long, spanning months. Then the third, from Ianto’s POV; jumping back in time to write him getting Lisa out of Torchwood Three.

So I wrote the first part, and, as with most first-parts, it was a rambly, floppy mess. I wrote a lot of the second part, and it got better, I hit my stride. I started to have ideas for future bits of the story, and so I wrote some of those, too, and got a better idea of the plot elements that would go into the story. Then I left it, for months and months. Over a year, actually. In the past couple of months I’ve gone back to it and decided to discard the whole first part and a whole lot of the start of the second, but now, as I’m never going to finish it, I’ll post all of it nonetheless.

So, what follows is a the mildly annotated, very drafty material I’ve written for this story. I think it reflects about 20% of what the whole story might have been, in terms of volume. I hope there are still enjoyable bits in there!

My commentary is in red.

First bit. Much of this is left here exactly as it came out - it’s pretty clear that there’s a lot of me figuring out how the characters (figuratively) rub up against each other in this part. Which is usually the purpose served by the first chunk of stuff I write in any story, and thus why it can should be removed later :D


The door opens. Jack would be proven seriously wrong in his assessment of Ianto's character if it hadn't. There's a beat-up jeep flanking the cottage, two determined monoliths hunched in the otherwise desolate landscape. He knows they're there, there'd be no point to them pretending otherwise, or to try and escape out the back door. There's a sheer drop down a cliff face behind them.

He can't help the wry recoil of his internal logic at that. Takes that reasoning two steps back, reflects on the paths discovered and traversed, adds a potential one that leads down the cliff. Away from the detangled map that's lead him here.

Ianto doesn't speak, just looks at him through the gap, the blank mask of his face dissected by the security chain, incongruous on the apparently ramshackle structure.

"I was in the neighbourhood," Jack says, mouth running on autopilot for the first few words, spilling out the line he'd had prepared for months, now. "Just thought I'd drop by."

"I suppose I'm to ask why you're here," Ianto says, voice devoid of the resignation or defensiveness Jack had anticipated from him. Though the unfriendliness is certainly there.

"Isn't it obvious? No one leaves Torchwood without at least first submitting their two weeks' notice."

Ianto's eyebrow twitches, the gesture absolutely uninviting. "Or in a body bag."

"Which you're clearly not in, nor," Jack continues. "Are you in a suit. I'm disappointed, Mr Jones. I'd hoped the [espionage] would extend at least this far." He glances around, faux-nonchalant. The tiny, terracotta awning doesn't shield him at all from the icy bluster of the wind leaping up the cliff face, and the rugged tufts of turf and heather surrounding the cottage focus on the more immediate evidence in their lack of cultivation: they're the only humans for miles. "Though you are still on British soil."

"Why are you here, Jack?"

Jack rocks on his heels. Ianto hasn't shaved for a couple of days, but he doesn't look unkempt. The whitish pallor of his face is the only indication of the affect Jack's appearance is having on him, though the dark rings under his eyes speak of a more matured tiredness.

The question is, Jack's itching to answer, why are you here? "You didn't seriously think I'd just let you go?" he says instead, not yet ready to award Ianto that insight into just how much his disappearance had eaten at Jack. And how the compulsion to find answers had only increased the more of Ianto's intricately woven ruse he'd unravelled.

"Get to the point, Jack. Have you come to retcon me? Execute me? Take me back?" He doesn't just pick one, denying Jack the gleaning of any further information that might hint at the extent of Ianto's deception, his own sense of guilt. Jack feels fairly confident in assuming there is some.

"I suppose that's what you want," Jack says, forcing his body to feign nonchalance, though his shoulders ache with tension and his jaw feels stiff from the cold, jutting far out of the reach of his collar.

Ianto scoffs at that, but Jack refuses to be interrupted.

"You want me to be the villain, here to give you the exposition speech, confess my master plan; how I got here, what I'm going to do with you." He glances up and down Ianto's body; Ianto's stance holds not open defensiveness but a tightly held aggression, barely visible in the loose curl of one hand by his thigh, the other holding the door open. His body's turned slightly away, not facing Jack front-on. "Before your dashing escape."

Jack's voice is more vicious than he anticipated, startling himself. "I'm not the villain in this situation, Ianto."

"Torchwood was never in danger," Ianto nearly spits it out.

Finally, a reaction; it warms like a seed in the pit of Jack's belly, germinating in the bile. "You may think I'm a fool," Jack says; it's his turned to be unmoved by Ianto's animosity. "But I do know what a cyber conversion unit looks like. Even in pieces. That was quite a jigsaw you left us. It was Tosh who thought to look in the incinerator once we realised these weren't just pieces of flotsam and jetsam that had always been in the Archives. Really, it would put off my little visit at least another two months if you'd stuck around to check the job was complete. I almost thought that ineptitude was a clue in itself, everything else was so well taken care of."

"There was no time," Ianto says, the blankness of his voice not emotionless, this time.

Jack revels in the speed of this progress after painstaking months, pushing at the weakness but refusing to reveal his own; it'd been weeks before he'd uncovered enough to know that Ianto had left Cardiff willingly. "Of course, it probably wasn't the only thing in pieces by then, was it? I'm amazed you managed to transport her as far as Edinburgh. Then again, I still don't know how much of her is even left."

Ianto's breathing is speeding up; his nostrils flare almost imperceptibly.

"Certainly none of her in that fake casket you buried for her family. And none in the DNA samples taken from the body parts we found at ground zero."

Ianto's thumbnail goes white against the door.   

"Which, frankly, I'm amazed by. I mean, if she was stuck in the unit--and why the hell else would you keep that thing around, in the Hub no less, unless she was sewn into it?--then surely she's got to be missing some crucial parts, there." Jack pauses briefly, as if in thought; as if he hasn't thought all this out, countless times leading up to this. "Or did the parts you cut off end up in the incinerator as well? How else did you get her out of it? That's pretty advanced technology."

"She has a name."

The unexpected female voice startles Jack into silence. Ianto's intensifying focus seems to be broken too, he looks away from Jack and to his right, into the house, where the almost-closed door shields the interior from Jack's view. Ianto turns back, fiddles with the chain briefly, then pushes the door open further.

The woman standing next to him stops its movement with her foot, planting it firmly without looking away from Jack's face, both hands still on the pistol pointing directly at him. He'd not heard her approach during their conversation; she must have been there the whole time.

"And she has a doctorate in cyber-mechanic engineering, you self-righteous fucking twat."

The woman standing in front of him is scarred. Her face, twisted in fury, is otherwise smooth but wrung out of any kind of healthy vibrancy. Her skin is knotted around her throat and up to beneath her jaw and chin, exposed by the drooping collar of her over-sized turtleneck. It's covered by an even baggier fleecy jacket, clearly a man's cut on her slight frame. Her fingers are flawless, but her too-long sleeves don't quite cover the bandages loosely wrapped around the width of her palms. The shape of her skull beneath the woollen hat isn't quite right; there's something wrong with her ears.

Her stance is threatening, but suggesting pain as well; the broad plant of her feet speaking not only of determination but of a need to brace herself; she's weak. And she's undeniably in possession of all her limbs.

"Lisa, isn't it?"

She nods once, unmoved and unwavering.

"That won't stop me for long," Jack says mildly, refusing to talk to the weapon, looking her in the eye.

"Long enough to get you out of the picture," she says, unfazed. "Long enough to get away."

Jack snorts, as if in amusement. "Where would you go?" he asks rhetorically.

"As if we'd tell you," she sneers an answer anyway.

"I'd find you," Jack assures her.

"But why?" Ianto cries, volume of his voice overriding them and the abrupt anguish in his tone not even giving Jack's attention the choice of being drawn to him.

There's the despair Jack expected to be received with; strangely enough it makes him feel more nauseous than triumphant.

Ianto's face is twisted with something akin to grief, mirroring the intensity of Lisa's anger. "You shouldn't care, Jack! I worked for you for six months and that was enough to know that you don't give a shit about protocol when it suits you. You're not here because you need to enforce Torchwood's staff exit procedures."

Ianto's chest heaves. It's as if with Lisa's gun in Jack's face his emotions are free to do as they please. Anger creeps into his tone again. "We didn't hurt anyone. Are you that fucking proud that you couldn't stand the thought of me getting one up on you?"

He's close, but he's missing the bigger picture. That was Ianto's problem all along, really, and Jack's not so in denial that he won't admit to himself that it does appease his pride to come here and rub Ianto's nose in it.

But really, the benefits extend far beyond that simple pleasure of knowing he's come out on top.

"Let me in, Ianto," he says without antagonism.

Ianto looks to Lisa and she darts her gaze away from Jack to meet his; it's just a brief moment but afterwards Lisa's lowering her gun and Ianto's stepping back away from the door.

They have the upper hand here. If he's honest with himself, Jack hadn't expected that. Certainly hadn't expected the girl to be up and walking, maybe not ever again; because if Ianto hadn't been keeping a cyber conversion unit in the basement for surreptitious conversions (and really, 'surreptitious' combined with 'cyber conversion' is a oxymoron if Jack has ever heard one), so he must have been keeping someone in it.

And Jack knew--or, he'd known, he'd thought he'd known--that once someone was in a cyber-conversion unit, nothing human was ever coming out.

The small cottage, so rustic on the outside, is overflowing with gadgetry on the inside, overwhelming the sparse furniture: a double bed, unmade, under the window of the far wall, and a kitchen table with two straight-backed chairs strains under a load of papers, mugs and medicine bottles just beyond the kitchenette.

There are two of them and one of him. Ianto tugs both chairs out before turning his back on them; Jack and Lisa both watch as he deliberates for a moment before pulling a plastic crate over. They sit. The wall nearest Jack has what appears to be a respiration unit standing against it, next to it is a suitcase with a blood pressure sleeve resting atop it. He recognises a slightly older, more clunky model of a portable Rift monitor on the kitchenette's bench.

Closer; stout pill bottles with the names of strangers printed on them rise like buoys from the still waves of printed papers and hand-written notes, islands of burn bandages and gauze in sterilised packaging occasionally humping out of the detritus. The mug in front of Jack has a pen in it.

Lisa reaches across the table and plucks the pen from the mug, tearing open a paper sugar packet with her teeth before emptying it into the cup in front of her. The pen tinkles against the ceramic as she stirs with it, then abandons it on a sliver of bare table and cradles the mug in both hands. It's steaming, just slightly. Jack had interrupted them.

"How did you find us?" Ianto asks, subdued.

Jack's feels himself trying to dial up the blitheness of his smile rather than tone down its self-satisfaction. "Plastic surgeon in Edinburgh," he explains. At Ianto's look of distaste, he says, "You really shouldn't expect people you bribe to not sell you out for a bigger bribe."

"And how are you putting that on the expense report?"

"Human resources," Jack quips, and finds his gaze turning to Lisa again. She's perched right on the edge of her seat, knees pointed to the side instead of drawn under the table. From side on and this close, Jack realises she doesn't have any breasts. The unexpectedness of it makes it peculiar; a rapid but brief creep over his skin. "Staff retention."

Ianto looks at him blankly; not like he's hiding something this time (not that you ever knew what that looked like, a small, unforgiving voice in Jack's head provides) but like he's honestly stumped for a reaction.

"Go on, then," Jack says, sensing that giving that concept time to sink in will encourage his desired outcome in the long-term more than forcing the issue to a head now will. "I know you're just dying to tell me. How did you do it?"

Jack's still pretending to know more of the story than he does; caught in a somewhat titillating conflict between having discovered of the skill and extent to Ianto's deception, and knowing yet that there's still so much Ianto's managed to keep hidden from him. He knows that Ianto kept Lisa in the Hub--an educated guess, up until several minutes ago--and that as soon as he was able to detach her from it, he'd left Cardiff. The sometimes patchy trail of high-level medical professionals (and the occasional plastic surgeon) had told him what had happened next, but the crucial parts of the process--the deliberation and motivation--still taunt him in their unknown quantities.

How Ianto answers that question is to a form of his own choosing; a dorsal fin suggesting a menacing mass invisible below the surface. He shrugs. "No one was paying attention, after Suzie. Gwen was so green--she kept you all out in the field much more. Didn't require much embellishment on monitoring reports from me at all." He watches for Jack's reaction before continuing. "And after hours, well, she was a new toy for you to play with. Ideal, really."

There's more of the ongoing legacy of Suzie in there, and Jack suppresses a grimace, mentally acknowledging the reminder of just how lax he'd been in the monitoring of his own staff but easily refusing to be moved by the slight against Gwen. Or against himself. Ianto is good he reminds himself, and lets the wry smile manifest at the moral insinuations of that reiteration of Ianto's skill.

Lisa's skill as well, though. Some more pieces fall into place. "Cyber-mechanic engineering?" he queries. At her concise nod, he continues. "That's almost too much of a coincidence to be innocent."

She sets her mug down again, near where Ianto's hand rests in a loose fist on the tabletop. "It's not a coincidence," she says. "I survived because of what I know." She shrugs, as if it's nothing. "I wasn't the only partial, at the end of it. At the start of the end," she amends.

Movement just below Jack's field of vision catches his eye; where their hands brush Ianto has moved his fingers, stroking the backs of them against Lisa's in one slow, deliberate movement. It's understated but undeniably intimate and yet again Jack finds himself looking at the collar of scar tissue twisted around up under Lisa's jaw, finds himself wondering just how much of her body is left like her fingers and her face, untouched and touchable.

"But you didn't do it alone," Jack clarifies, and Lisa frowns a little in confusion, glancing at Ianto. "Tanazaki," Jack prompts.

"His expertise lies more in synthetic biology," Lisa says. "We corresponded."

"He came to Cardiff," Ianto says. "Once we were able to detach from the cyber unit, Dr Tanazaki helped repair more of the biological functions the cyber technology had infiltrated."

He speaks as if they were both trapped in the unit. He speaks as if he's writing it in a mission report for Jack to sign off on. His tone is as impersonal as ink on paper, unnaturally so.

"Why are you here, Captain?" Lisa diverts.

"I want you to come back with me," he says after a fortifying pause.

Ianto looks up at him, his mouth a firm, unhappy line. "You say that like you're giving us a choice."

"I am." Jack spreads his hands out in a universal gesture of easygoing submission. "Come work for me."

"You're not serious."

"Oh, I am so serious. And we're in the market for a new engineer, too," he throws at Lisa, then turns back to Ianto. "And all permanent contracts come with a healthcare plan." He looks around the cluttered, single room again, pointedly. "I'm guessing you guys came out here because it's got the cheapest rent?"

They don't laugh, but Jack doesn't expect them to.

"I conned you," Ianto says, as if he's making sure that Jack knows this.

Jack nods. "And what a con. Know that saying--keep your friends close?"

"But enemies closer," Ianto completes, not looking happy about it.

Jack leers. "Well, as great as that sounds, it doesn't apply here. You conned me, Ianto Jones. Thoroughly. You had me--and the rest of the team, which is nothing to be sneered at--completely stumped, for months. After carrying it out under our noses for months." He pauses, and for all its seriousness, he can't repress the suggestive smirk that accompanies his next words. "Now that's the kind of weapon I want in my arsenal."

It's the truth, but it's not the whole truth; he wants Ianto and Lisa now like he wanted Toshiko, her expertise and raw talent enough for him to prise her out of UNIT's jaws rather than settle for someone easier to get hold of, someone second-best. The impressiveness of the con aside, Jack wants him for the loyalty inherent in it, he wants that on his side, dammit. And if he can make Lisa synonymous with Torchwood too, muddying Ianto's loyalties sufficiently enough and getting a TW1 trained engineer out of it too, all the more benefit for Jack.

Lisa's gripping Ianto's hand in her own, now, though she's got her gaze fixed firmly on Jack's again, like she still not put down her weapon.

"We're in," she says.

This was ultimately discarded as well - again, it’s clear here that I’m using the writing to just figure out how Lisa fits in with everything else; the team introduction is clunky and not entirely necessary. But I do rather like these first interactions between Jack and Ianto the first time Ianto is back on Jack’s turf. This is an Ianto that doesn’t exist in canon, but I am fascinated by this scenario nonetheless.


She tells herself she doesn't really remember much of the last time she was in the Hub, not that she saw that much of it anyway; Ianto sedated her for the transportation both in and out. Though she still holds a bit of resentment for the latter; she'd wanted to stand on her own, walk out. There was a certain symbolism in that gesture that she'd needed, but Ianto's pragmatism had overruled as it so often did over those hellish six months. Petty regrets aside, she's grateful for that.

There's something in the smell of the wet stone and cold water that triggers something in her hindbrain, though, and it's both taking her back and turning the vague recollections on their head simultaneously. She remembers the despair, the entrapment and interminable pain of this place; she just doesn't remember experiencing them with the same animal distress that's triggered this time. Those reactions must have been suppressed by the cyber technology, another wire or circuit painstakingly removed by Tanazaki, unblocking and uninhibiting the natural paths of her very human body and its nervous system. Everything suddenly hurt more when she was conscious again of every millimetre of the surface of her skin, every nerve that had been ignored, severed or cauterised. She could smell properly again; not just the mineral damp that her surroundings had been steeped in but her own blood, her own sweat. Ianto's sweat. Her own waste, from her ruined internal organs. Tanazaki had been able to repair most of that as well, thank god. Ianto had said he hadn't minded, but she had.

Ianto doesn't look as out of place as she feels, standing next to her on one of the balconies and looking around the yawning space with what appears to be a nonchalant eye. His hands are pale on the metal railing in front of him, though, the tightness of his grip betraying his tension.

"You let yourself in, I see." It's the Captain, standing up on a gangway above and opposite them, the first human she's seen down here other than themselves.

"My security clearance codes still worked," Ianto says, almost accusingly.

Jack shrugs, jogs down a broad set of steps towards them. "Reinstated them once I knew you were coming back," he says.

"And there was no one in the tourist office."

Jack grins. "Sent them all out to lunch."

Ianto's eyes narrow. "They do know I'm coming back, don't they?"

Ianto had told her a little about his co-workers--soon to be hers as well--both while he was still working with them and more recently, when they were preparing to return. His unconcerned reporting on their character and behaviour hadn't fooled her; she knows he cares what they think, though they'd probably never know it.

"Of course!" Jack says. "Not about to pull that surprise on them. Although," he amends. "I didn't tell them the exact date and time of your return. Thought you could do without the welcome home party."

Ianto looks sceptical, and Lisa doesn't blame him. Even if she'd only ever worked for Torchwood One, she's still familiar enough with the organisation's foundations of secrecy and trust; even with no casualties, Ianto had violated protocol on an epic level by hiding her--and the hostile alien tech she was housed in--within Three's own base.

"So what's the plan, then?" Lisa asks, bluntly changing the subject, not wanting to get into the viciousness Ianto and Jack always seem to be skating perilously close to the edge of whenever they converse. "Shall we be sat at our desks and just behave as if we've been here all along when they come back?"

Jack gives a burst of laughter that sounds almost startled, looking at her almost admiringly. It's uncomfortable; the almost-joke certainly hadn't merited such a response. "Great minds," he says, making no sense whatsoever, and, "I knew this was a good idea."

"Have you prepared the contracts, then?" Ianto asks shortly. "I'd prefer to get the paperwork squared away before anyone starts working at any desks again."

"Ah yes, paperwork," Jack says. "I should have known that would have been your first concern. Though, what happened to 'I'll do anything; I'll be your butler'?"

"I'm not your butler," Ianto says, all humour snap-frozen out of his tone.

"Yes, that's rather the heart of the matter, isn't it," Jack says. "Though I will miss the suits."

The addendum is clearly meant to lighten the tone, or at least that's how Lisa initially reads it; Ianto's stony reaction leaves her second-guessing.

"Well, I certainly won't," she interjects, determined to take hold of the rudder again and steer the course of the conversation back into less treacherous waters. Pun bitterly unintended. She strolls down a few steps of her own to the main sunken area of the Hub and looks back up at Ianto, and then to Jack, only a few paces away. "Made him look like an accountant," she confesses.

"Nothing wrong with that," Jack says, and she can't tell if his appraising look is more combative or salacious.

"Never had a head for numbers," she replies, feigning regret.

"But Ianto's always been good at keeping figures."

Lisa wonders if he's testing her, and if so, what the purpose of the test is. If he's trying to shock her he's far too late for that; Torchwood One had elaborate initiation rituals of its own that weren't documented in any of the Employee Handbooks. Perhaps he's deliberately trying to rile her, ferret out any antagonism she has for him.

If the latter, then he's going about it the wrong way; Ianto's hardly a damsel in distress and she's not about to leap to the defence of his honour.

Not that he has none. It's just that that's just not the way they do things. He's perfectly capable of fending for himself, if he feels the need; which he appears to right now, she realises with mild surprise; he's strutting down the short staircase to join them, brow stormy, near-glaring at the Captain.

Perhaps the test wasn't for her, then.

"Sir," Ianto begins, inherent respect of the address subverted by the tone of Ianto's voice.

Lisa finds she's never more wanted to hear the rest of what he has to say, but Ianto never finishes. Lisa hears laughter coming from above them, the sound almost startlingly out of place in the Hub's oppressive ambience.

Ianto and the Captain look up; she follows their gaze and the accompanying sound of stone grating against machinery and sees a granite slab platform slowly descend from the distant ceiling. There are people standing on it, and she recognises them from Ianto's descriptions, her first real glimpse of them colliding her conception of Ianto's life before—a world that had seemed almost fictitious to her in the way Ianto had told the tales—and her very present reality.

The fact that the three are so preoccupied with each other allows her scrutiny to go unnoticed until they alight from the stone; more of a precarious stumble as they knock into each other, the stone barely pausing at the lowest point before rising again.

“Boozy lunch?” the Captain calls out to them good-naturedly, and their chatter peters out as they catch sight of Lisa and Ianto. Lisa gets the impression that they are at least slightly tipsy, and their sudden halt is not because they've been caught out at it.

“Ianto!” One of the women is half-running across the concrete towards them, heels clicking rapidly; she doesn't even look at Lisa or the Captain before embracing Ianto, looking tiny as she squeezes her arms around Ianto's broad chest. Ianto looks strangely pained, though returns the embrace genuinely, albeit briefly.

The woman—Tosh, Lisa recognises her from Ianto's descriptions—draws back after only a moment, meeting Ianto's gaze quickly and smiling, smoothing her hands down the sides of her pencil skirt in an unconscious gesture, obviously fighting through mild embarrassment.

“I almost didn't recognise you out of the suit,” she says.

“That's what I said,” the Captain drawls.

Tosh makes a fist and knocks it against the Captain's chest, lips pressed together in exaggerated effort. He oofs, rocking back a little, but Tosh is already turning to face Lisa.

She holds out her hand. “You must be Lisa,” she says, smile sweet and a little hesitant. Her eyes don't leave Lisa's. “Toshiko Sato.”

“Nice to finally meet you,” Lisa says, returning the firm grip, and she must have said the right thing because Toshiko's smile broadens.

“Jack said you were an engineer...?”

“All right, all right,” says the man Lisa has no doubt is Owen. He shuffles Tosh aside, gaze travelling over Lisa's body in a way she's not sure is appraising or clinical. He holds out his hand “So long as you're not a doctor; there's only room for one in this base and I'm it.”

“Doctor Harper, I presume,” Lisa says, making a point of return the painful firmness of his grip.

Toshiko snorts. “Ignore him,” she advises Lisa, and turns a condescending look on Owen. “Seeing as there's already more than one doctor in attendance.” Tosh folds her arms across her chest.

Lisa laughs shortly. “No challenges there, I'm afraid,” she says. “I was only halfway through my doctorate when Torchwood headhunted me.” It's a challenge in itself, accompanied with the briefest of raised eyebrows as she returns Owen's scrutiny.

He huffs in acknowledgement of the point won and steps aside; Lisa doesn't fail to notice the way Owen's body's positioned in their small crowd, back almost entirely turned on Ianto; Lisa doesn't even think Owen's acknowledged Ianto's presence at all since they arrived. The last one to introduce herself—Gwen Cooper, in a lilting Welsh accent and a distinctly softer handshake—casts Ianto hesitant, measuring glances with some regularity.

The introductions devolve into small talk and Lisa has the opportunity to meet Ianto's gaze again; his jaw is tight and eyes blank, she recognises determination overlaying the self-doubt and -recrimination there that she's fairly certain none of the others are even vaguely aware of.

It's with a faint sense of guilt that Lisa acknowledges Ianto's ability to shut himself off from others is one of the main reasons she's out of the conversion unit and alive. It's fairly obvious that otherwise, its rewards have been few.

“All right, back to work, you lot,” the Captain says with finality, and Gwen, Toshiko and Owen obey with amiability symptomatic of the relief one feels at being excused from a mildly awkward social situation. “And you two,” the Captain turns back to Lisa and Ianto. “I believe someone said something about contracts and desks?”

“Lead the way, Captain,” Lisa says before Ianto can say anything, both of them falling into step behind him.

The Captain grins at her over his shoulder. “Really, call me Jack.”

This part was written to be positioned immediately after the previous part, but in my recent assessment, I had decided to discard everything that came before this and just begin the story from here:

Their house is big. Well, big in comparison to the place they'd shared in London, even if the mortgage repayments are slightly lower than the rent on their flat in Shoreditch had been. This is Cardiff after all. They could have gone lower; it had been almost an argument—Ianto pushing that there was no point in spending so much when they had such a debt to pay off; Lisa immovable in her determination to live somewhere that didn't feel like the walls were closing in on her. She'd live out in a field under bare sky for the rest of her life if not for the bloody Welsh weather.

There was no arguing about it once they'd moved in and started at Torchwood Three, though; signed into their contract was an advance on their pay to account for the house deposit, interest-free repayments automatically deducted from their salary fortnightly. The Captain—Jack—had agreed to that surprisingly easily.

He's certainly not Yvonne. Lisa thinks that if he was, she might not be alive right now. It feels like a mild betrayal of Ianto's hard work to attribute her survival to Jack's somewhat lackadaisical style of leadership. Then again, he did track them down and hire them. There's some unknown motivator there that puts Lisa on edge, because it's anything but uninspired of him, and Ianto's constant background noise of tension around Jack does little to put her unfocused suspicion to rest.

The house was a deceased estate sale, so it came partially furnished, but the first thing they did was get rid of the stale, dark-wood narrow bed and replace it with a huge one. Cheap; futon mattress and birch veneer slatted headboard from Ikea, another £100 of debt on a brand new credit card. It was another expense she'd insisted on and Ianto had yielded, another struggle of wills that had been carried out with very little verbal exchange, but now the bed's there and set up she can barely look at it.

It was different, when they were in Scotland. Sharing the cramped double bed in the single-roomed cottage, clinging to each other, her body feeling so tender and strangely wrong where the grafts had been removed. It had been like they were the only people left in the world, and that had been a relief, in a way. No privacy but no judgement; she felt like a person again (she hurt like a person again), and somehow that was the most important thing. Ianto was with her, had saved her. Nothing else mattered.

That space had been exposed as merely liminal the moment they agreed to come back to Cardiff, though. No longer in a perpetual limbo where her body was still covered in bandages but not knowing, not thinking about what was beneath them.

This is different. This is the rest of her life, now.

Their spare room is stacked with boxes, and she sits on the floor amongst them, puzzling over the tangled combinations of their possessions each new carton provides. It's easy to lose time in here, uncovering the artefacts of their life when it was dominated by the mundane, sinking into recollection. She's sure that they've not got half of what had cluttered the spaces of their flat, despite Ianto's frequent attempts to 'cull'. Perhaps, she thinks with a wry grin, this time he's finally succeeded.

Really, their flat hadn't been big enough for two people. Ironic, then, that this huge place should be housing less than two.

She opens box after box, going through slowly at first but after the first five or so, she begins the feel a faint whisper of impatience. Less time then spent on the next three; it all seems like unnecessary junk, getting frustratingly in her way while she digs through it the the bottom of another box.  

Eventually she gives in and stands amidst the chaos she's wrought in the room, overwhelmed with frustration.

“What is it?” Ianto's leaning against the door frame, observing the mess around her with more amusement than dismay, and she feels a bit silly for getting so worked up about it.

“I can't find it.”

Ianto looks thoughtful, tapping his pursed lips with his index finger while his thumb curls under his chin, the pose so studied she's not even sure it's deliberate. Lisa smirks, tries to pick her way toward him through the debris.

“Ah,” Ianto says. “I know, come on.” He holds out his hand and she lunges for it; he hauls her over the last couple of scattered boxes and out the door.

This close he smells familiar, of faint, old damp, mouth wet and surprisingly cool when Lisa lays a hand on the back of his neck and brings him in for a quick kiss. He smiles in that way that never fails to amuse her; an expression that looks like it's escaped from Ianto's inept attempt to hide just how pleased he is with himself.

“Come on, then,” he says again, squeezing her hand in his clammy grip.

She follows him, down the hall and past the closed door of their bedroom, the bathroom, Ianto not letting go of her hand even as he leads her down the stairs, their feet thudding rhythmically on the carpeted wood.

Through the kitchen, curtains closed tight and not letting in even the barest hint of sunlight; she must have been in the spare room for longer than she'd thought. The fridge dominates, a humming, monolithic block of bovine circuitry, and next to it is another door, flimsier than the others in the house, almost certainly a closet.

Ianto draws her close again. “It's in here,” he murmurs, breath dank on her face. The scent gets stronger when he opens the door, but his grip tightens before she can pull away, and she's stepping into the dark corridor next to him.

There's wires all through the walls, a complex circulatory system buzzing with energy just out of the range of her hearing. The sound of their synchronised footsteps echo in the enclosed space, too loud for the constrictively low ceiling and close walls.

“Ianto,” she says. “I don't think--Ianto--”

His grip on her hand is painful, now, she can't stop following him even when she tries, feet stumbling onward against her will.

Ianto doesn't stop, doesn't even turn to face her when she says his name, and his voice sounds very far away. “It's all right. I've got you. I found you.”

The corridor opens out like a cul de sac, a conversion unit crouching in the open space like a predator preparing to pounce, lithe metal limbs bent up and poised in readiness.

Ianto stops right in front of it and turns to her at last. All around them is the smell of wet stone, wet metal. He takes her other hand as well, smiling indulgently when she starts to beg, words of desperation flowing out of her mouth with sickening familiarity. She can't break out of his grip, though, and her sobbing turns to  screaming when he forces her into the unit, holding her down until the mechanisms engage and trap her. The metal limbs of it whir into life, dancing unnecessarily above her before slicing down and she's still screaming because her face is wet, her body's wet, hot liquid that she can't move to wipe away--


The dream slips away but not enough; she's still restrained though not as irrevocably, and she thrashes and lashes out, surging up where she couldn't in the conversion unit, using her knees and skull as weapons where her arms are still held down.

Ianto swears and falls back, breaking his grip on her, and Lisa pants rapidly, staring at him with wide eyes. The darkness of the room no impairment; everything is revealed to her. Ianto's expression is pained.

“What the fuck are you doing?” Lisa demands, hating the thready note of terror still in her voice, the betrayal of her dream still so immediate.

“I didn't want you to hurt yourself,” Ianto says.

“Fuck off! Just fuck off, all right?”

He lies, still and unthreatening, on the other side of the bed. Lisa sits jerkily, draws her knees up, presses her chest against them. She can move. She can bend her body, fold it inward, protect it. Touch it, feel it, feel it being terrified, feel it breathe without assistance. She can't stop shaking.

Ianto touches her hand, the same touch he'd give her when it was one of the few remaining places on her body she could feel it, maybe even return the gesture. Even when she'd scream and swear at him, or beg him to just let her go already.

It can't have been easy for him, either. Stubborn bastard.

“I'm sorry,” Ianto says miserably. “I didn't-- I just want to take care of you.”

“I know,” she says, not sure if the immediacy of her response is due to wanting to comfort him or just shut him up.

“I want to--” he starts again, and her heart aches with just how unsure he sounds. “You can just tell me, now,” he says, faking determination. “Tell me how to help you.”

“Just shut up, Ianto,” she clarifies, but rolls over to comfort him anyway. It's not until she's touching him that she realises just how much she needs it herself. She's still shaking, but the buzzing that the adrenaline's injected under her skin is diffused by the warmth of Ianto's touch, so different from the clammy horror of it in her dream.

The feel of his breath against the side of her throat should be claustrophobic, too humid and close, but she can barely feel it through the scar tissue. The fluffy crests of his hair tickle against her cheek, though, so she pushes her face down into it, forcing the sensation into something more tangible. His hands are hardly any weight at all, just faint warm pressure through her tee-shirt, resting limply over the taut plane of tension her belly's knotted into, muscles tight and aching.

Her fist gathers sweat, held by her side. When Ianto takes his hands away again the tightness of her trembling unravels, last of it escaping her as she exhales heavily, feeling like she'll not take another breath. Like it's more comfortable, empty and airless like this. Ianto's own respiration lengthens, deepens, his body going soft alongside hers, head getting heavier against her shoulder. It's somehow easier to take comfort in his closeness when he's asleep, and Lisa feels the irrational urge to force herself to stay awake to make the most of it; it rises in her throat like tears, like everything feels this late and awake and lonely.

She shifts a little, slides her hand into her knickers, swipes fingers perfunctorily through the moistness between her legs. Withdrawing again; but it's too dark to see any contrast, so she rubs her fingers against the edge of their white sheet. It makes no difference, no dark smear to indicate in grainy grayscale what would be crimson if she flicked on the lamp.

The dream had been so visceral, hot liquid coating her, leaking from her, from all over, she'd thought that maybe-- Well, it was stupid, really. She'd already known that part of her was ruined as well.

After the above, there’s not more plot progression written, but I had vaguely planned to work it thus:

Plotted action arc: This all occurs in the season 2 timeline. Jack has run off and come back and sought out Ianto & Lisa after that. The plot of “Sleeper” was something I’d planned to re-write - with the fate of *that* week’s victim coming out differently; engineer!Lisa suggesting an amputation of the sleeper limb, and the ongoing background disquiet within the team with regards to Lisa’s cyber-infected past.

Plotted emotional arc: Lisa has issues with letting other people near her body, this, of course, complicates things with Ianto (who is also used to doing everything for the invalid). Also complicating things is the tension between Ianto and Jack, because of course they’ve shagged while Lisa’s in the unit, but Lisa doesn’t know yet (when she finds out, it’s a turning point in the story, because she’s not upset by it).

Plotted sexual arc: Lisa doesn’t like putting things in her body. The idea of mechanised things in her body is even more repulsive. I had a scene plotted where Lisa, Tosh and Gwen go pre-wedding shopping with and end up in a sex shop - Lisa has the opportunity to feel kind of horrified at the idea of vibrators before decided that she wants to strap something on on the outside as well.

Of course, there is pegging Ianto after that - which turns more into a “see, how do YOU like it?” exercise for her; the encounter fraught with power plays - of course she gets off on being the one in control, being the violator for a change. But of course, Ianto has a whole different read on the situation, and after that is the point where he tearfully admits to sleeping with Jack.

There's also a lot of ongoing building of Lisa's character, too - her body is mutilated from the partial conversion, so she's constantly having to deal with not only adjusting to it herself, but having others react to it. I even had a scene at Gwen's wedding where Lisa was wearing a suit that she and Ianto had gone to get especially tailored for her... *happy sigh*

And of course, throughout this slow development of Stuff, a relationship is forming between Jack and Lisa as well, quite possibly because they *don’t* have baggage. Here, have a scene:

Lisa stretches her legs out and the same trick works on Jack just as well as it works on Ianto; digging her toes into the side of his thigh viciously makes him slide right off the edge of the sofa in order to avoid it, ending up sitting on the floor. She beams in victory, wriggling a little to stretch more fully, length of her body occupying the length of the sofa. It's not the most comfortable sofa she's ever lain on, but if the expression on Jack's face is anything to go by, it's much more comfortable than the floor.

Lisa raises her arms above her head, flopping them back so her elbows rest on the sofa arm above her. The pose inverts the curve of her spine, pushing her chest up and hips down. She tilts her head down a little to watch as Jack shuffles around, resting his arm on the sofa alongside her body, and his chin on his forearm. He looks about as drunk as she feels, blinking ponderously as he drags his gaze along her body.

“Ever contemplate getting falsies?” he asks at length, and grins guilelessly at the burst of surprised laughter that huffs out of her.

Jack's the only one who ever acknowledges that her body is disfigured, even if it's through asking ridiculous and sometimes-bordering-on-offensive questions.

The only one except for Ianto, of course. But that's a whole different type of asking; just thinking about it lodges a shard of something like grief in her throat, stopping her breath for a moment.

She swallows around it, then flops her arms down again, hands landing on her chest, cupping emptiness there.  “There wasn't enough skin left, to be honest,” she says, not looking at Jack, making light of it. “Besides, I'm not sure what kind of affect the Rift might have on silicone.”

Jack hums as if in serious consideration. “What about inflatable ones? You know you can put in, like--” He makes an uninterpretable gesture “--Inflatable pillows in there, in this century.”

“No skin, remember?” Lisa reiterates.

“I know, but... You could just... put them in your bra.”

She hasn't worn a bra since last year. April 27 to be precise; an understated push-up in black satin that had matched her knickers, cut off by the blades on the articulated arms of the conversion unit.

“They'd make great flotation devices, if nothing else,” Jack continues into her silence. “In fact--I might just get the whole team to wear them. For safety's sake, of course.”

Lisa laughs again, if a little more hoarsely than last time. “Well you won't catch me near the bay, anyway,” she says. “Even if the Rift sends through a bloody kraken.”

“Still come in handy. What about drowning in the bath?”

She smirks. “Tosh and Gwen wouldn't need them, then. Have you never seen a woman taking a bath?”

“Oh,” Jack says. “I've seen plenty of women taking baths.”

“They have their own natural...” She waves her hands in the air above her chest expressively. “Buoyancy.”

God, it's been so fucking long since she's had a proper bath.  After she got out of the unit it was sponge baths for a while; not only could she barely stand on her own but there was the whole associated problem of needing to keep the multitude of bandages and dressings dry. The first time she'd been able to stand in the shower on her own, truly naked for the first time in a long time, she'd hardly been able to look at herself.

She used to try and make sure she had one at least once bath a week, not just for the requisite leg shaving but because it felt fantastic to just lie back and soak, letting a week's worth of Torchwood-related tension just melt out of her bones. Their bathtub in London hadn't been the most luxurious of fittings, but still long enough to make it worthwhile; she could either sit upright with her legs fully submerged or lie with her head and shoulders in it and knees bent up.

Lying horizontal on the sofa, the effects of the scotch dissipate throughout Lisa's body, making her head feel hot and strangely muffled, like her ears are underwater. The couch is soft, her body relaxed and warm. With her eyes closed and alcohol tricking her sense of balance her body feels like it's held, rocked with gentle movement. She's lying in their bathtub again, the smell of her body wash and Ianto's aftershave heavy, infusing the steam.

Ianto. Most of the time he'd be pottering in the bedroom, or coming in and out, letting unwelcome gusts of cold air in whenever he opened the door, often taking even longer to get ready for wherever they were going out to than she did.

Sometimes her self-indulgence would capture his attention more than his own vanity would.

“What are you thinking about?” Jack's voice doesn't halt the meandering of her thoughts so much as help them along, the scotch-roughened edge of his baritone insinuating itself into them pleasantly.

“Mmm,” she hums. “Ianto used to...”

Jack's boots scrape against the concrete as he shifts again, apparently trying to find a more comfortable position. His arms shift and re-settle on the couch and a puff of his breath against her bare forearm makes the hairs there stand up to attention. The warmth of his arms are a little closer to her side; what might be merely a twitch of a pinky finger curls in brief contact with her waist. “Used to what?”

Used to be fascinated by that natural buoyancy whenever she had a bath—or, at least whenever she was having a bath and they didn't have anywhere to be; obsessive punctuality being another of his character traits that mostly benefited but occasionally frustrated her.

She'd had a lifetime to play with her own breasts; Ianto had only had a couple of years. As much as cupping her hands over the smooth, wet skin and feeling them swell unfamiliarly upward into her palms was delightful on a selfish, sensual level; Ianto undeniably found it even more arousing.

“He'd kneel, like you are. By the bath.” Lisa doesn't open her eyes, but moves her hand, gesturing towards Jack to elaborate her description. Her fingers brush the rumpled cotton of his shirtsleeve and she hears him breathe in, then feels the rough, warm touch of his fingers against the pads of hers. Light, so light.

“What would he do?”

It'd feel too much like a counselling session, like the way some of the doctors at the surgeries Ianto spent their savings on bribing them into had spoken to her, but Jack's tone is far from pitying or conciliatory, his voice rough and intimate, an edge of eagerness as if he's right there with her, in the humid, tiny room she's conjuring up from memory.

“He'd touch me,” Lisa murmurs. In her mind's eye, Ianto's  not getting ready for a night out, but in one of his tee-shirts with the old, ragged necks and impossibly soft, over-washed weave. His face is flushed from the heat of the bathroom, the steam plastering locks of hair against his temples and the nape of his neck. He's looking at her, eyes intent on her face and then her breasts, water growing hotter around her, reaching everywhere. His arms are bare, no shirtsleeves to roll up before he reaches in to curve his hand around the shape of her breast as held by the water, the texture of his skin not yet softened by steeping in the bath water as hers is.

“He'd start by leaning one hand on the edge of the bath—as if he was afraid he was going to fall in. He'd take hold of my breast...” Take hold seems like the wrong phrase; he didn't grasp her like he would a clipboard, or a hand. Her fingers twitch as if trying to enact the muscle memory that doesn't belong to her in the first place, but there's nothing there for the hand resting against her chest to hold. Jack's touch on her fingers increases slightly, the ghost of a grip.

“Then what?” Jack prompts.

She'd watch Ianto, indulgently, sometimes the intent expression on his face but mostly the way he touched her.  The roundness of her breast in the water was perfect for the cup of his hand, and he'd rub the springy swell of it with his palm before tightening the curl of his fingers, squeezing and sliding his grip upwards and out of the water. The hairs on his forearm, clinging wetly to his skin, would spring upright again as they rapidly dried or were shaken free by the flex of muscle.

“He'd feel the weight of it. Press against it. And...” She struggles to articulate. Her nipple would be a round, dark cap at the tip of her breast, soft with the heat and calm of her immersion, more yielding and tender than the flesh around it. Ianto's grip would tighten as he reached it,  enclosing the soft vulnerability of the areola in the curl of his index finger, rubbing against the tip of the nipple with the pad of his thumb, not gently. The water level would be too low to cover it, and the wet traces of his touch and intensity of the pressure would goad it into a tight peak.

Jack holds her hand in his, his grasp more suggestion than restriction, and he guides it until she feels the starched cotton of his shirt against her fingertips, then Jack's holding her hand in both of his, sliding it beneath the fabric. His skin is smooth, hairless, the muscle of his pectoral firmer than the yield of her breasts had been, but his nipple's a hard point against her palm. His chest rises and falls like bellows under her hand, and she can feel the pounding of his heart beneath it.

“What did he do?” Jack whispers, prompting her again.

Lisa's face feels hot, though not from embarrassment; from alcohol and from arousal, matching the rapid speed of her heartbeat to his.

She feels the muscle flex beneath her hand and presses harder, rocking the heel of her palm against the flesh where there's nothing to grab hold of, and then rubbing her fingers against the nipple. One of Jack's hands strokes the tender, untouched underside of her forearm while the other braces again on the sofa next to her, arm a hot line along her side.

Ianto's just as intense in her head, he lifts his other hand from its grip on the bath edge and strokes the backs of his knuckles over her other breast, lightly kneading the nipple and dragging around the eager swell of the flesh below, his fingers warming in the water.

“He'd squeeze,” Lisa says, squeezing the flesh under her hand. “And pull-- Twist. Twist my nipple.” She tightens the grip of her knuckles around the harder flesh, tugs against the resistance as much as she can before losing the grip then dragging her fingers in out of their splay to press in against the hot nub, twisting it.

Jack gasps and she feels the movement of his hand against her side again; an accidental touch as his fingers curl reflexively.

“Both hands,” Lisa remembers, and the phantom sensation—Ianto's hands tugging a pointed, pleasurable ache from her nipples—seems more generous than cruel, now. She finds she's smiling, and then can't help but laugh, remembering-- “He'd get overambitious. Use his mouth.”

Jack chuckles too, as if he's privy to Lisa's recollection of water dripping from the tip of Ianto's nose, gravity confused by the snub of it, Ianto's mouth occupied with her nipple.

Jack's pinky finger brushes the curve of her waist again and she shudders all over, feeling increasingly less inclined to open her eyes and leave behind the part-recollection, part-fantasy, and the way it seems to bodily rock her, stimulating and soothing both. She reaches her free hand down to grasp Jack's wrist, pulls his hand onto her belly. It pushes up the fabric of her tee-shirt and she's trembling constantly, now, his hand splayed hot and motionless against her skin.

She kneads his chest like she's holding his heartbeat in her grip, the sound of his breathing cradled oddly in the ragged folds of her ears.

“And what were you doing?”

Ianto's hands on her breasts, her own hand between her legs. Looking over his head—one of her hands scratching against his scalp, urging his mouth on while she pushed her chest up so he didn't drown—and seeing her thighs rising sleekly out of the water. Feeling the folds of her sex stiff in the hot water, a shock of sensation that makes her move and the water lap against the sides of the tub when she presses her index finger up against the hood of her clitoris. The heat of her cunt pushing out to meet her touch when she slides her finger lower, inside slicker than the bath water, yielding and clinging at the same time.

She gives a moan that's more breath than voice, flood of sensation between her legs like she's touching herself now; she squeezes her thighs together. Jack's hand moves in tiny increments back and forth against the skin of her belly. A remote part of her tenses in dread of his touch moving lower, but it stays where she placed it, palm cupping sweat and calluses on his fingers tugging at the fine hairs.

“Lisa,” Jack says earnestly, and Lisa's eyes open, the dim colours of the Hub surprisingly blue around her. Jack's shirt is blue too, and his irises, a narrow band of colour encircling the black discs of his pupils.

“I'd touch myself,” she says, watching the flush rise in Jack's cheeks, watching her own hand move beneath his shirt, his collar pulled askew desultorily. “While Ianto, Ianto...” The water would be too thin; she'd draw her knees up further, planting her feet closer to her thighs and bracing legs against the side of the tub, tilting and lifting her hips up out of the water, her cunt producing its own slickness that she'd dip into, stroke over the flesh around it. The water level would drop and Ianto's mouth would suck and tongue at her breast avidly. Maybe she'd pull his hand lower, and he'd rub her clit while she fingered herself.

Maybe Jack could be there too, sucking her other breast. Licking her nipple where it peeked out between Ianto's knuckles.

She heaves in a breath, moving her own hand lower, the back of Jack's hand hot against the inside of her forearm. She makes her fingers tense and stiff and presses the flat of them between her legs, forcing the blocky seam of her jeans against the root of her clit. The sensation makes her gasp, the intensity of it almost pain; for all the slow, spreading warmth it's not until she's touching, now, that the immediacy of her arousal makes itself known, nerves of her sex leaping to life, terrifying her.

She doesn't stop, though, forcing her hand between the fierce clamp of her thighs. She cups herself, gentling the pressure, the heat of her hand coupled with a slow rock of the heel of her palm enough to have her hips pushing up unconsciously.

— Here endeth the writing, but not the scene. Sorry!

And here is the last written snippet - Caroline Chikezie was in Supernatural as well (as a hunter who was, amazingly, not killed off!), and I wanted to slyly make it a crossover… I loved the idea that Lisa and Tamara’s past lead them to both ending up in the same position, though having taken different pasts - something alien/supernatural destroyed their family; Tamara ran away and became a hunter, Lisa joined Torchwood.

“Must have been difficult for you, her moving to the other side of the world.”

Lisa shrugs, feeling the old, resigned disappointment thread the timbre of her voice. “Not really. We never really got along that well, despite what everyone says about twins.” She rolls her eyes. “The opposite, really. We were too alike. Like... like magnets.” She pokes her index fingers at each other in the air, their tips avoiding each other at the last minute. “We could barely stand each other.”

Jack nods as if her demonstration makes perfect sense. “I know exactly what you mean.”

Lisa raises an eyebrow in question.

“Bumped into myself once,” Jack says casually, as if such thing is commonplace. Well, perhaps it is at Torchwood. Torchwood Three. “Well, future me.” He shakes his head and smirks, presumably at the internal recollection. “What?” He says at Lisa's half-sceptical, half-questioning look.

“You bumped into a future version of yourself once? That's all you're giving me of that explanation?”

Jack looks mildly disgruntled, but also faintly startled. As if he's used to getting away with mumbling all sorts of maybe-bullshit around without being questioned. “What else is there? Aside from the obvious.”

She rolls her eyes. What else is there, honestly. A future version of herself? God, she'd have questions. “What did he say to you?”

Jack's smirk becomes more pronounced. “'Top or bottom?'”

She groans, long-suffering, and Jack beams in pride at her response. Lisa shakes her head. “Why bother even asking? If he—you--were from the future, surely he knew already?”

“Yeah, but he also remembered being asked.”

Temporal mechanics. As if sexual politics weren't bad enough. As if Jack's sexual politics weren't bad enough. “So? Which was it, then?”

Jack grins. “Sixty-nine.”

Of course, what ostensibly follows (once sufficient build-up has been written) is the climax that draws all the plot lines together. The remnants of TW1 - or UNIT - or whoever takes authority in London after Canary Wharf - find out that Lisa is alive, and Ianto has committed treason to get her out. Knowing that they’re both securely out of reach at TW3, the Authority manage to lure Ianto to London on “official business” and subsequently incarcerate him.

Jack and Lisa run off to London to bust him out (kick arse/take names/etc etc); I.e. Ultimately things are turned on their head because Ianto is the one who needs rescuing, and Lisa is the one who does it.

*insert neater tidying up of story etc etc*


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