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A Cyborg Manifesto

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They must have dissected her.

Jack would've wanted a closer look at her variant upgrading. Lisa wasn't a brain in a box, but flesh and metal interwoven like lace, like wires on a silicone chip. Owen would have unpicked her, his scalpel re-dividing human and alien. Her metal bits--is it right to call them hers?--are probably in Jack's safe now. The rest of her . . .

Would have been scraps and rubbish. Wrenched bones, torn nerves, everything displaced. People don't break down into pieces the way machines do. People are humpty-dumpty, never fitting together again.

The rest of her probably went into a bin bag, and then the incinerator. Lisa is the dust on Ianto's shoes, the rain falling on his face.

He wonders if they put her brain back with her body first, or left it in the pizza girl.

He almost wishes he had seen what they did. Seen her one last time.

***

It all started because Alan and Davy made Ianto go clubbing. They wriggled off into the crowd, dancing, while Ianto stood by the wall and watched the transmutation. Alchemy: colored lights and computerized music turning pasty Welsh boys into gods of muscle and cock, gods of fucking.

"Shy?" said a handsome American. "I like that." His white shirt reflected the light, changed the dance floor into a film playing on his body. His smile was toothy and not shy, the smile of someone who stands watching for other reasons.

They fucked in Ianto's tiny bedroom, and Ianto forgot to be quiet for the flatmates' sake. Jack made him talk, made him say whether he liked this kiss, this gentle bite or this harder one, this licking all around the head of his cock, this tug of his hair, this folding of Jack's body against his, this thrust, this and this and this and this.

Afterwards Ianto just kept talking, a gush of words, an orgasm of confidences. Jack listened, asking for details now and then. The whole time, he slowly stroked a thumb along Ianto's cheek, back and forth like some wonderful pendulum.

Ianto had never felt so known.

The bed was narrow and lumpy, but somehow there was no question of Jack going home. Ianto fell happily asleep in his arms and woke to find Jack looking at him. "I have a story to tell you," Jack said, "and a place to take you, and then something to ask you."

And that was how Ianto abandoned his astrobiology Ph.D. and became the tea boy at Torchwood.

***

Ianto sometimes thinks of Torchwood as a single body. Owen's the hands, and, if his stories can be trusted, the genitals; Toshiko's the senses; Gwen . . . he hasn't decided yet. But Jack is the cerebral cortex, directing and organizing.

Ianto himself is the kidneys. Dull-colored and mostly unnoticed, but quietly vital. Without kidneys, the body poisons itself.

Now, though, he's damaged. Diseased. Now he's got stones, hard pellets of pain that won't dissolve. He's filled up with them, blocked, calcified. A proper body would feel it, would be laid up screaming. A body suffers with its lowliest organ.

No one at Torchwood is screaming with Ianto.

Which makes him wonder if Torchwood is a machine, not holistic but modular. A damaged part may slow the machine, stop it even, but it can be pulled out and replaced. The other parts won't even notice.

***

Later, Ianto realized that he should have waffled about the job, said he needed time to think. Jack would've taken him to bed again. The second time might have been even better. Jack had intelligence now, a dossier of Ianto's pleasures.

But Ianto said yes, and Jack smiled and hugged him fondly and said, "See you Monday." Became his boss.

It's possible that Jack fucks everyone he brings into Torchwood. But Ianto doubts it. Jack's a good strategist; he knows to suit the tactics to the target. Only Gwen was never targeted at all, which is probably why Jack talks to her so much. What a puzzle she must be.

Ianto spent his first few weeks at Torchwood wishing he were bold enough to corner Jack in the toilets or down in the vaults. A quick unzip, his mouth on Jack's cock before Jack could say no, and it would all be okay. The body's a simple thing, mostly nerves and hormones, and it will have its way whatever the brain says.

Maybe Jack likes shy boys because they can't do that. Ianto did his job instead. Work can be like fucking. Like Jack's style of systematic fucking, discovering every need and meeting it with perfection. Ianto kept impeccable files, wore suits in a cut that made Jack's eyes linger, ordered wildly expensive coffee direct from Jamaica. When he ground the beans, Ianto thought, "He'll taste this, fill his mouth with it, swallow it down."

By the time he met Lisa on a training course, he knew he was going mad.

She saved him.

***

It's not that they're unkind.

Toshiko still brings him coffee sometimes, Starbucks cappuccinos with cocoa sprinkled on top. She only ever brings the one, just for him, which she hands to him without a word. The coffee's vile compared to what Ianto himself makes, but he drinks it anyway. He wonders how she knows he likes cocoa sprinkles. Maybe it's in the database somewhere.

Gwen tries conversation. She asks about Ianto's family, his friends, the degree he knows he'll never finish. He can hardly answer. She's asking about a country he left long ago, a language whose grammar he's forgotten. Ianto's life was remade, welded into Torchwood and Jack, then Torchwood and Lisa, and now just Torchwood.

Owen, unbelievably, invites him to the pub to watch the match. Gwen's behind it, of course; reluctance is clear in Owen's every syllable. Ianto says he's busy. "Told you so," he hears Owen tell Gwen on their way out.

As for Jack, Jack has started touching him--brief, deliberate clasps of his shoulder or arm. It's like Toshiko's coffee, given in passing and in silence. Jack's hands are so warm that Ianto feels their afterimages for hours. So deceptively warm.

"Cold hands, warm heart," Ianto's mother used to say. Ianto thinks it's the opposite with Jack. But maybe both versions are wrong. Since Torchwood killed Lisa, Ianto has been cold right down to the core.

***

Morphine made Lisa doze away most of her hours, an enchanted princess in a metal coffin. While she slept, Ianto ran the life support cycles--feeding, excretion, muscle stimulation--and then bathed her.

"Your name is Lisa Hallett," he told her, rubbing the soapy sponge along her filigreed belly and thighs. "You grew up in Croydon. You've got a degree in computers and you work for Torchwood. You like Thai food and science fiction novels and horrible German lagers that taste like cat's piss, and you say you only watch Eastenders to laugh at it but I don't believe you. The summer before last we went on holiday in Spain and I got sunburnt and had to stay indoors for two days. You bought me a silly hat. I love you. Don't forget, Lisa. Don't forget."

Every day, different memories. Her mother's birthday party. The day they met. The time she blacked his eye teaching him a Krav Maga move. The first time they made love.

Rinsing her legs and remembering his cock inside her gave Ianto a hard-on, and after that he left out the sex stories.

He could only touch her while she slept. Awake, she was in too much pain. After drying her off, he caressed her lovely body and didn't say anything at all. Sometimes he touched her metal plating. It was slicker than her skin but nearly as warm, pressed to her flesh as it was. If it had been a dress, a costume, it would have been beautiful.

Sometimes he almost forgot that once she had been flesh only.

***

Tick tick tick tick and the sweep of the second hand and the desk under his back and Jack's mouth on his cock. Jack's mouth insistent, giving him orders with every fast downthrust, telling him to come.

Ianto is going to disobey for as long as he can. He thinks of equations, he thinks of Weevils. Not Lisa, dead Lisa with her empty skull, not that, and not thinking of Lisa returns him to Jack.

There are teeth in Jack's pretty mouth. Jack's wide, smiling, knowledgeable mouth, taking him in all the way, and Jack's tongue is melting-soft. Teeth.

Jack's hand, so warm, it should be cold, Jack's hand moves on his thigh, cups his balls, slips behind them and down to his hole where it circles and teases and maybe he'll, maybe he'll -

Jack's hand that held a gun to his head.

Ianto's own hand clenches on the stopwatch as he comes.

"Six minutes and nine seconds," Ianto says. "Do I win?" His voice is shaking. All of him is shaking. When he sits up he overbalances and Jack catches him.

Ianto lets Jack hold him, or maybe Jack lets Ianto cling, face pressed into Jack's shirtfront. He smells of organic things: wool, coffee, sweat. Lisa's scent was metallic, oily, spiked with rubbing alcohol and strong soap. She didn't sweat after she was changed. Ianto only washed her because he wanted to.

"Would you have let her upgrade you?" Jack asks. It's not the first time Ianto has wondered if he can read thoughts. Maybe Jack's got Tosh's pendant, or some other bit of tech he never told them about.

Ianto lifts his head to look at Jack, who for once isn't smiling, and tells the truth. "Yes."

"Christ, Ianto." Jack's warm hand--right hand, gun hand--touches his cheek. It feels no harder than a human's. All Jack's metal is on the inside. "Come on, get dressed."

"Don't you want to - "

"Not here. Let's go to your place." He pulls away and shrugs handsomely into his coat. Kisses Ianto and helps his fumbling fingers with the trouser zip.

Reconstruction, Ianto thinks. He broke the team, betrayed the team, and now Jack's fitting him back in. Repairing him.

Ianto will let himself be changed. He'll keep fucking Jack until he no longer loves him, or Lisa, or anyone. Until he has a steel heart and a circuitry brain. Until he's complete.