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27 May 2010 @ 08:04 pm
A Loaded Smile (1/1)  
Title: A Loaded Smile
Rating: PG-13
Fandom: Torchwood
Characters/Pairings: Ianto/Lisa
Setting: Pre-Canary Wharf
Spoilers: Nothing major, Ianto's history maybe
Words: 2,947
Warnings: Angsting ahead
Thrace Warning Level: 5

Summary
: There's many ways to leave your lover, but Ianto's reason is nothing more complex than to be alone.

Disclaimer:  I don't own them, property of RTD and the BBC - but I'd like Ianto now they're bored of him... and a dragon =]

** This was written for skidmo_fic 's challenge '50 Ways To Leave Your Lover' and I chose prompt 27: to be alone - it's still open and there are still a whole load of prompts, so go give it a try!!.

I already kinda have designs on a continuation of this fic into an AU compiled of various oneshots or multiparts - let me know what you think at the end!

---

A LOADED SMILE

As he sucked in another breath of cigarette smoke, Ianto Jones knew that something had to give. He hated smoking and he hated the fact that he’s taken it up again. It reminded him of two years of his life that he’d rather not re-live.

That bitterness only added to the brewing storm of tension and anxiety inside him. He felt trapped inside himself when he didn’t need to. He had a job that was pretty interesting, a good flat, nice possessions and he was, on the whole, a happy person. He had demons in his past, of course he did, but they didn’t own him or define him.

But the smoking was making them ever more present, and it the smoking wasn’t really helping his current situation much.

“God, Ianto, I wish you’d quit that.” The voice grated on him and his skin crawled a little as an arm linked through his. Lisa’s slender fingers plucked the cigarette from his hand and dropped it on the ground, crushing it beneath a patent leather heel.

“I know, sorry.” He muttered, not meeting her eyes. He no longer promised he’d do it soon, no longer said ‘that was the last one’, no longer gave her any amount of remorse. His apologies were empty and he couldn’t care less. “It’s getting late.”

He knew he was upsetting her, but it would hurt her more if he did something about it. It wasn’t that he didn’t love her, he still did in some ways, but he didn’t want to be with her. There wasn’t anyone else, he just wanted to be on his own. He knew he wasn’t going to spend the rest of his life with the woman, but she had different designs on their relationship.

They hadn’t slept together properly for months, and the last couple of times had been short and empty of all emotion for Ianto. He’d felt so guilty afterwards that he couldn’t look her in the eyes for days. She deserved someone better than him, someone who’d love her the way she wanted.

The longer this went on, the more she thought there was a chance for them and the more she’d hurt when it was over… but Ianto couldn’t find the right time. She was always organising dates and social events that he couldn’t turn down because other people would be there. That was enough for Ianto to know she was beginning to panic.

Lisa liked her privacy as much as he did when it came to their relationship, so suddenly needing to have other people around them was a bad omen indeed.

As he drove her back to her flat, she chattered through the tension, trying to fill the awkward, uncomfortable silence between them that would, had it stretched for long enough, precipitated the dreaded conversation.

The tension itself was precisely why Ianto had started smoking. It had given him a reason to leave the room or get away from the dinner table when the conversation became too thin and brittle. It hadn’t started until after Lisa had started making all their time together social occasions with at least one other couple in her group of friends.

Ianto would sit there and make polite conversation for as long as possible, but his patience started to drain more and more quickly as time went on. He started to work out how to get away from the table or the groups and initially, he made the excuse of going to the bar or the kitchen to get drinks, but that stopped working when Lisa joined him. If he went to the toilet, he could only feasibly be gone for a few minutes – any longer and he’d become the centre of jokes and later suspicion when all he was doing was taking a break.

He’d even claimed to have a call from his mum or his sister on a couple of occasions and left the room to just catch his breath and calm the frustration. That soon became too much of an effort as well, Lisa asking whether everything was okay, could she help, when they’d visit again – and Ianto hadn’t been able to take it anymore.

The next day, he’d stopped off at the corner shop on the way into work and bought a packet of his old favourite brand and a cheap bic lighter. When Lisa had caught him going for a smoke at his lunch break, she’d been furious with him. He’d got two weeks of blissful solitude for that faux pas.

That had been almost two months ago though, and she’d since decided to accept his new habit. She wouldn’t be happy when he left the room for a cigarette, but she wouldn’t follow. She’d pester and pester and continually niggle away at him, but she didn’t follow him. She also didn’t want to kiss him afterwards.

But he could also feel the tugging of addiction firmly in his chest, and that reminded him of being nineteen again and trying to fill up the void his father’s death had left. Every drag he took now, he remembered those hollow months after the tears had stopped.

Things, he knew, had to change. If he stayed in London, he would never work up the courage to actually talk to Lisa and the smoking would carry on. He didn’t want to waste any more of her time and he was sick of his mouth tasting like it was made of ash.

He just carried through the motions for the rest of the night – dropping Lisa home, diverting a kiss on the lips to the cheek and getting the hell out of there without looking her in the eye.

It was cold and harsh and he couldn’t stand his behaviour... yet somehow, he knew he was going to do something about it all very soon. As he dropped onto his bed, still fully clothed, he closed his eyes and formulated his plan, lying awake for the majority of the night.

*

“Jones, I’ve just been handed a resignation notification with your name on it.” Ianto looked up to see Marshall Harris, his boss and mentor at Torchwood Tower standing by the door to his cubicle. The older man looked worried and not a little confused.

“Yes, sir.” He saw Marshall visibly deflate and move fully into his work space, perching on the edge of his desk.

“You’ve been thinking about this for a while, yes? And you know that you have to give at least two weeks’ notice?” He asked, Ianto nodding silently. He sighed and looked the young man dead in the eye, trying to gauge the truth. “I know it’s not necessary for the process, but do you mind me asking why?”

“It’s… not complicated, but a little petty.” Ianto rubbed his eyes and turned away from the ordering form he was filling out. “I need to go back home. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and I like living in London, but it doesn’t feel right anymore.”

“Does this have anything to do with your young woman?” Marshall asked curiously. The way Ianto suddenly diverted his eyes was all the answer he needed. “Are you sure you’re not just running away?”

“Things haven’t been good for a while now, and the longer I stay in London, the longer I’m wasting her time. I love her, just not the way she wants me to and I don’t think I can watch whatever we might have left turn to hate.” Ianto smiled weakly and rubbed his hand through his hair. “I just want to be back home, sir.”

He nodded slowly. Ianto had become like a son to him in the last few years and it was going to be hard to see him go. He placed a hand on Ianto’s shoulder and gripped it for a long moment, before patting him hard and leaving him with his thoughts.

*

Ianto didn’t want it to be cliché. He didn’t want to come out with the ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ bollocks, but the fact that it was the truth wasn’t the most comforting of thoughts.

He ran through all the possible situations, made about a hundred mental drafts of what he might say, and nearly all of them started with ‘We need to talk’. He refused to start the situation that way – hence the amount of mental drafts he’d compiled.

At the end of his last day at Torchwood, he didn’t wait for Lisa – he hadn’t done so for several weeks now, since he’d submitted his resignation. Instead, he went home and finished packing up his flat. He’d put it on the market the night after handing the notification in and had sold it only a few days later. Absolute perfect timing.

The couple who’d bought it had said they wouldn’t be looking to move in for another month, which suited Ianto perfectly. It had been three weeks since he’d put it on the market and he knew that tonight was the night he’d talk to Lisa, as he’d been planning.

He taped up the last of the boxes and pushed it towards the small pile in the centre of the living room. There were only about ten boxes, fully packed, and a small selection of furniture he was taking with him. The flat wasn’t particularly big and he barely filled the rooms as it was. It helped that he’d thrown alot of stuff away as he packed up, only taking the most important things with him. The bin men had had a field day when they seen the amount he’d put out a few days earlier.

He’d organised it so that everything would fit into one van and he could drop it directly to a storage unit near where his mam lived. He had a list of flats to check out as soon as everything was sorted out and he was settled back in Cardiff. Minimum fuss, minimum stress. He’d learnt the tactic off his father before he’d passed away.

A lump rose in his throat and Ianto swallowed it away, standing up sharply and turning his back on the pile of the boxes in his living room. Instead, he focussed himself back on the conversation he was about to have and pulled his jacket on, snagging his keys from the coffee table as he passed.

He’d parked his car round the corner from his building and the short walk through the chill air did a world of good to his concentration. He let himself into his car and pulled out his mobile, opening the screen and contemplating it for a long moment.

He attempted to type it several times, but finally settled on: I’m heading over for a few minutes, don’t bother with coffee. I

With a deep breath, he flipped the phone shut and dropped it on the passenger seat and he buckled himself in and set off. It was only a few seconds later when he heard the phone buzzing as it received a text. He tightened his grip on the steering wheel and ignored it, focussing on the road.

A couple of minutes later, it buzzed again and he flinched at the sound, his teeth gritted. It was only a few more minutes to Lisa’s flat.

He managed to pull up outside the building without getting another message on his phone. He unclipped the seat belt and pulled the phone to him, opening the two messages, the first a simple: ‘y? is evrythng ok? L xxx’ and the next a slightly more urgent: ‘yan wots rong? has sumthng hppnd??? L xxxxx’. Ianto snapped the handset shut a little dispassionately and pocketed it as he left his car and locked it, heading into the building.

He climbed up to the second floor and he’d barely put his knuckles to the door before it was ripped open and he was met with Lisa’s worry. She tried to fling her arms around him, but he caught them just in time. She stared at him in shock and Ianto saw the panic in her eyes. He shook his head slightly and she stiffened, pulling back from him and gestured silently for him to come into the flat.

He closed the door behind him and moved down the corridor and a few steps into the front room. Lisa was perching on the edge of her sofa, fidgeting with her fingers and staring hard at them. He was just about to say something when she looked up, an expression of complete denial on her face.

“I was just thinking, Lucy and Neil are free at the weekend.” She stood up and headed through to the kitchen that joined onto the living room. He heard the kettle flick on and groaned inwardly. “I said we could go see that new Bond film coming out and maybe go to that nice Italian again.”

She’d called the last bit from the kitchen and he heard her clanging around, giving her hands something to be busy over. Ianto would’ve felt a stab of pity or guilt if he didn’t feel so dead inside. He waited for her to bustle out of the kitchen, carrying to mugs of coffee into the room and offering him one. When he pointedly didn’t take it from her, she brushed it off and moved back to the sofa, putting them on the side table and patting the seat next to her.

“You really liked that little place the last time we all went, remember? George had all that Guiness and you had to carry him back...” She trailed off but avoided his eyes. He didn’t try to catch her attention. A long, heavy silence screamed between them, deafening them and driving itself into every possible gap in the room until it could move no further.

“Lisa, it’s over.” Three simple words. Two would’ve been just as effective, but the third was a luxury he felt Lisa deserved.

She went completely still, only to start shaking a long moment later. She seemed to curl in on herself, head bowed as he shoulders shook with silent tears that gradually became louder.

“How can you do this?” She flung her head up, staring at him in accusation. He saw her flinch as she saw how impassive he was and he managed to feel the vaguest twinge of guilt – it wasn’t her fault, after all. “We’ve been together for two years and you’re just going to end it? Just like that?”

She jumped to her feet, angry, her fists balled. Ianto just watched her, sliding his hands into his pockets. The anger fell away from her and tears began to well up in her eyes again.

“Please don’t go, Ianto... Please don’t leave me.” She didn’t look up, just buried her face in her hands. He didn’t say a word, but he couldn’t stand to see her so upset. He shifted his eyes to look out of the window, but it didn’t last long. He couldn’t help looking at her. “Is there someone...?”

“No, of course not.” He forced some emotion into his voice and Lisa looked up incredulously.

“Then... why are you doing this?” Fresh tears tumbled across the skin Ianto had once adored above all else, but with a final, crushing realisation, he didn’t feel anything more than a platonic affection for her.

“I’m going home.” He said by way of an explanation. It wasn’t what she wanted to know, but how could he tell her that the way she clung to him was beginning to make his skin crawl? How could he tell her that he wanted to be on his own? How could he tell her that he just didn’t love her in the same way anymore? “This is better for both of us.”

“You’re running away! That doesn’t solve anything.” She cried.

“This isn’t a solution, Lisa... There’s nothing left to solve, just a fact. I’m sorry.” He turned and headed back into the corridor. He was almost at the door when he felt her clutching at his arm desperately.

“Please, Ianto, think about this properly. Think about it! You’ve got your job and-” He firmly peeled his arm from her grip and stepped backwards.

“I handed my notice in and sold my flat. I’m leaving for Cardiff first thing tomorrow.” For the first time that evening, he looked her dead in the eye and before she could think of anything else to say, he let himself out of the flat and headed down the stairs.

He made his way calmly back to his car and didn’t let himself dwell on the image of Lisa’s face, shocked and hurt, tears cascading over her cheeks, confusion shining in her warm brown eyes and her hands tangled together and clutching at her heart. I was almost enough to make him go back and say he was joking, that he’d work harder this time, that he’d never really leave her.

Almost.

Instead, he buckled his seat belt and turned the key in the ignition, pulling away from the curb and out of the road. With each second that passed he felt some of the weight and darkness that had been shrouding his heart and mind over the past few months ebb away, like a tide being dragged out by the moon.

He sighed heavily and adjusted his hands on the wheel, a small, bitter grimace tugging at his lips. When he caught a look at himself in the rear-view mirror, it just looked like a smile, a smoking gun with its bullet lodged in the last three years of his life.

---

Fin x. - continuation of the storyline? y/n/m? - I promise Jack meddling!
 
 
Current Mood: determineddetermined
Current Music: Adam Lambert - Whataya What From Me?
 
 
 
Mermaidstarfish: pic#100731763mermaidstarfish on May 27th, 2010 07:24 pm (UTC)
I really like this and I'd love to see more.
Jennibutterflycell on May 27th, 2010 07:33 pm (UTC)
awesome!! thnakyou for reading, I'm really glad you enjoyed it =]
(Deleted comment)
Jennibutterflycell on May 27th, 2010 07:42 pm (UTC)
aww, thankyou!!

WRITE WRITE WRITE! And just write whatever you like... if I could read German, I'd read it =]
albeckettalbeckett on May 27th, 2010 08:34 pm (UTC)
Great job, you had me worried with the summary saying Ianto was leaving but since it was Lisa...hope you continue love when Jack meddles especially the way you write it.
Jennibutterflycell on May 27th, 2010 10:10 pm (UTC)
I think the moment I decided I was going to write one of the prompts, I knew it would have to be a Ianto/Lisa fic... or a Jack/Doctor fic, with designs that it would set up the eventual meeting of the boys =]

And I'm kinda wanting it to be dorky, 'i think i'm a spy but I'm terrible at it' Jack =] meddling Jack is fun!

thanks for reading =]
Jen: TW - jones Ianto jonesluvinthe88and20 on May 27th, 2010 08:57 pm (UTC)
I like it, and would like to see where you take it next.
Jennibutterflycell on May 27th, 2010 10:13 pm (UTC)
thankyou =D
remuslives23: give me a reasonremuslives23 on May 27th, 2010 09:58 pm (UTC)
More, please! :) Love this harder Ianto.
Jennibutterflycell on May 27th, 2010 10:14 pm (UTC)
I'm really glad you liked it! I wanted to play around with having a Ianto who's not really as 'wet blanket' and naive as he is in Cyberwoman =]
Erinetmuse on May 27th, 2010 10:14 pm (UTC)
It says something about how utterly this has taken over my life when the thought I have after reading a great bit of fic like that is 'I wish I could move house in just three weeks'

(It's been 3 weeks today since my offer was accepted on the flat I'm buying. Still mountains of paperwork left!)
Jennibutterflycell on May 27th, 2010 10:18 pm (UTC)
I think my ignorance as an eighteen year old still living at home might have shonw through a little here =[ And that really sucks! I hope you get through it soon though - I bet it'll be a massive relief =]

thanks for reading =]
Erinetmuse on May 27th, 2010 10:21 pm (UTC)
Oh, it can happen (at least, in theory... from everything I've read and been told while going through this process) but it does usually take longer.

And I have to admit I AM actually through a lot of it already. And it's likely I'll be able to move in July.
Jennibutterflycell on May 27th, 2010 10:49 pm (UTC)
I hope it all goes well for you =D
Sarahsrah_scottydog on May 27th, 2010 10:48 pm (UTC)
Ouch :(

Fabby, but... ouch.

Would love to see it developed though :)
Jennibutterflycell on May 27th, 2010 10:51 pm (UTC)
yeah... he tried to do it as gently as he could... I think? =P

my muses are nodding their heads vigorously at getting some sequels =]

thanks for reading!
alba: Ianto S1 red tiealba17 on May 27th, 2010 11:52 pm (UTC)
I really liked this and I'd love to see more. What is it with Ianto and smoking? I made him a smoker in my last fic too (post-Cyberwoman).
Jennibutterflycell on May 28th, 2010 09:25 am (UTC)
I made him a bit of a smoker in my 'Masqerade' fic... but I don't want him to full on be a smoker in this one =]

and thankyou for reading!!
thrace_adams: Ianto King of Badasserythrace_adams on May 28th, 2010 01:27 am (UTC)
OH damn...I could definitely see Ianto's POV but it just felt really harsh...poor Lisa...nothing is worse than getting no explanation...but yeah I'd like to see more of this.
Jennibutterflycell on May 28th, 2010 09:53 am (UTC)
I didn't realise it was so harsh... but maybe I deal with that later on...

I'm so glad you liked it though =]
thrace_adams: Buffy Cryingthrace_adams on May 28th, 2010 01:55 pm (UTC)
Could just be me, I mean I'm totally on Ianto's side all the time, but I really felt badly for Lisa here, he just wasn't giving her anything.

I did enjoy it though.
Jennibutterflycell on May 28th, 2010 02:41 pm (UTC)
I think I was coming from the angle that she knows things have been bad for a while, but she's done the opposite of what Ianto did, but it was still acknowledging that things were at breaking point...

but I'm starting to think it might be a good idea to have a run in or something once Ianto's happier, maybe a few months down the line
thrace_adams: Ianto Jack's Favoritethrace_adams on May 28th, 2010 02:42 pm (UTC)
OH I totally get that...she was trying to hard, not wanting to see that things were bad and pushing too hard...smothering him...I see that.

Oh a run in once Ianto's happier that would be cool :)
Jennibutterflycell on May 29th, 2010 10:30 am (UTC)
yep, that's a definite installment somewhere along the line now =D
lone_star_womanlone_star_woman on May 28th, 2010 06:40 am (UTC)
It's gonna take a long time for Lisa to get over this break-up. Wow.

And yes, I'd like to read more, especially if there's Jack meddling.
Jennibutterflycell on May 28th, 2010 09:57 am (UTC)
I think I'll have some sort of revisit on he situation, maybe a few months on when Ianto's settled in Cardiff and feeling happier =]

thankyou! I'm glad you liked it and I hope you like whatever turns up!
missthingsplacemissthingsplace on May 28th, 2010 09:18 am (UTC)
You don't even have to ask, yes, more please, lots more!
Jennibutterflycell on May 28th, 2010 09:58 am (UTC)
yay!! thankyou =D **gets back to working on your fic** It just grew by about 500 words, i think
missthingsplacemissthingsplace on May 28th, 2010 11:44 am (UTC)
Oh yay, can't wait :)

Just been to get a refund on the installation for the dishwasher and the guy gave us the delivery fee back too (poor guy, it's not normally his job and he was so helpful and sympathecic), had reheated lasagne for lunch - why does it always taste even better when reheated?! - the packing is done except for stuff that can't be done till the morning and i'm going to chill out and read until our friends turn up around 3 :)

Oh and hubby's taking his laptop to france to write (he writes for a motorbike mag sometimes) so i'm taking mine, woohoo!
Jenni: Please?butterflycell on May 28th, 2010 11:56 am (UTC)
It's up!! I need to go hoover, then I'm posting to comms, but go read it now if you can!

and it sounds like a very productive morning! also, also, also, YAY FOR LAPTOPS! More 'Suburbia'? *begs*

Edited at 2010-05-28 11:57 am (UTC)
hab318princesshab318princess on May 29th, 2010 09:58 am (UTC)
Oh, I'd certainly love to see more of this... great start
Jennibutterflycell on May 29th, 2010 10:28 am (UTC)
thankyou!
xennie_b: Interesting (Ianto)xennie_b on May 30th, 2010 05:26 pm (UTC)
Oohh, I'd love to see more of this :)
Jennibutterflycell on May 30th, 2010 05:39 pm (UTC)
yay, thankyou! I'm glad you liked it =]
(Deleted comment)
Jennibutterflycell on May 30th, 2010 10:04 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you liked it =D And thankyou for running the challenge!!
aviv_b (aviva barucha)aviv_b on May 31st, 2010 12:40 am (UTC)
More please?
Jennibutterflycell on May 31st, 2010 11:08 am (UTC)
definitly =D thankyou for reading!!
deathproof2010 on May 31st, 2010 10:23 am (UTC)
I think this is really good- despite the "angsty-ness"- but it fits together!
Jennibutterflycell on May 31st, 2010 11:09 am (UTC)
thankyou =] any future installments won't really be as angsty - the angst just sets up the questions to be answered =D
badly_knitted: To Do Listbadly_knitted on October 29th, 2011 09:30 pm (UTC)
This is really good! Did you ever write more?
Jennibutterflycell on November 1st, 2011 06:58 pm (UTC)
thank you =] And sadly, no. I kidna feel out of love witht he fandom before I wrote any more =[
badly_knitted: Oh Captainbadly_knitted on November 1st, 2011 08:38 pm (UTC)
Sad! I'm still clinging to the fandom of the first two seasons while ignoring what came after.