Mantras for a Lost Archetype
Set between Greeks Bearing Gifts and They Keep Killing Suzie

Ianto radiated such an air of repressed emotion that Gwen wondered why he didn't parade around in scarlet socks like an elderly choirmaster. There was, she thought, an absurd beauty to neglected things. A love lost, defeated. You could see it in his eyes as he followed Jack around, a sad-eyed labrador, collecting clip boards and fetching his master endless mugs of tea and coffee. Wanting love but never quite willing to surrender his self control to obtain it.

Well, apart from the metal woman he'd kept in the basement. That was hardly the sign of a normal sexuality, was it? She'd come across many a strange scene in the police force: autoasphyxia, rape, cross dressing. Even one bloke who'd managed to superglue his todger to a Zimmer. Yes, she'd been warned beforehand what to expect in those cases, and yes, she'd been shocked too. Appalled and horrified even. She'd seen the violence that one human could lay upon an other. But to love the cyberwoman had been inconceivable to her. Hell, the thing hadn't even had sexual organs any more. The only real skin left was a face and hands. The rest of it had been metal frame as cold and inviolable as Ianto himself. It had taken all their efforts to finally subdue its murderous rampage. When the thing died it had been the first time she had ever seen him show any normal emotion.

Owen had said all Ianto needed to thaw him out was a good rogering. At the time they had roared with laughter at the thought of Jack and his lad thumping away on the desk. She knew otherwise now. The Captain was the kind of person you walked over lava for just to make him notice you. A cad, certainly. But an honest one. You knew he'd shag the living daylights out of anything pretty – man, woman or dog – though he never pretended otherwise. She wasn't at all convinced Ianto knew that.

Part of her was worried he was heading for an almighty heartbreak. In her experience the more a person bottled things up the bloodier the release was. Literally. Tosh had noticed it too however she wasn't one to stir up things so she'd gone back to burying her head in her laptop after her remark: "To dream the impossible dream." Gwen had had to look the quotation up. Don Quixote the musical. That was Ianto all right. Tilting after windmills.

Owen wasn't helping matters either. He'd taken to sneering at Ianto at every opportunity; "Is that a coffee for Sir?" "Is that Sir's report?" She wasn't sure why he'd started doing that but she hoped it wasn't in some misplaced jealousy for their boss's affection. Ianto had taken it calmly to begin with however Gwen had noticed his hands shaking the last time. She'd tried to calm the situation down by explaining how childish they were being and ended up with both of them calling her an interfering bitch. She could have sworn at that point she heard Toshiko snicker. Damn the lot of them.

"To love is to admit defeat" Owen said once in bed. It sounded profound coming from him but he'd probably picked it up from one of his wank mag stories. Today's post-coital truism was yesterday's trash tagline. That was Owen – hedonism made human. The gratification of the flesh. Ianto was the opposite. Cerebral. Brooding. Too cold for her but you couldn't help feeling something for the poor mite.

 He was standing in the hallway, as she turned to leave, clutching a stopwatch of all things as if it were a teddy and looking decidedly schoolboyish.

"Whatever lights your candle" she said jokingly. And to cap it all didn't the iceman blush.