Rating: All ages
Word Count: 6,679
Author's Summary: Lisa is human. Mostly.
Characters/Pairings: Ianto Jones, Jack Harkness, Lisa Hallett, Suzie Costello, Ianto/Lisa, Ianto/Jack
Recced because: When I realized that this has not, as far as I can tell, been recommended, despite the author's well-deserved Calufrax ubiquity, I couldn’t help a little chortle of glee, because it falls to me to tell you how remarkable a story nancybrown has written in Digita1 Gir1. As does much of her fiction, this centers around Torchwood, and as much of the best Torchwood fiction does, it extracts the sublime from the ridiculous, and posits a world in which the plots of too much Torchwood, generally an unholy blend of insane and inane, are abandoned in favor of what Torchwood could actually be on rare but glorious occasions; sublime, terrifying, and heartbreaking (with a tiny flame of hope somewhere, almost guttering out, but not quite.) This is an AU which does that for one of the Torchwood episodes that most horrifyingly blends insane and inane: Cyberwoman. It finds Lisa Hallet alive, in love, battling the last ghosts of her cyber-programming, and dealing with an unexpected danger to Ianto and others she may possibly care for. nancybrown’s technical prowess shines through in the tiniest scenes — Lisa walking through a meadow, Lisa feeling the pull of electronic machinery and what it could mean for her, the descriptions of the antagonist’s laughter. The author’s emotionally mature vision of Lisa’s mind, and her description of Lisa’s distant, but still very human, view into the minds of others, have made this a story I return to again and again.
The man who does stop gives her a wide, pleasant smile, and Lisa knows that if he tries to hurt her in any way, she has the strength to break his neck without difficulty. She also knows that will put paid to her chances at parole and rehabilitation, that at best she will find herself in a cell, and more likely, Jack will make good on his promise to shoot her himself.
"Hello, pet," he says, opening the door. "Need a ride?"
Lisa runs through calculations in her mind: percentages, statistics, human nature. This is the angled beauty of the human mind, this is the pressure to snap a human spine.
She smiles back. "Thanks, yes." The oil lamp will be impossible to explain. She extinguishes it and leaves the lamp at the edge of the road.
"Where're you headed?"
"Into town." A lie slots neatly into place inside her head. "I was visiting my sister, but her bastard of a boyfriend took off with her car and my mobile's dead."
His name is Jim, he doesn't try to hurt her. Despite her best efforts, he sees the shine of the metal on her legs as she steps into the car. "Got a brace, eh? My cousin has one." He launches into a tale of childhood escapades, and a girl who reached a bit too far. As he talks, Lisa eases into his style of speech. It's been weeks since she's heard any other voice but Ianto's, and before her transformation, it was months.
She misses other people. Back in London, she always had mates, always knew where the party was, or who to phone for a chat. But his car has a satnav which makes her hands itch for a look, and the same technology that makes the modern world run means she cannot be part of the human race ever again. Outside her window, she watches the lights glow alive in darkness, and she rejoices, and she weeps inside as well.
Jim drops her off at a cash point. He offers to wait, but Lisa waves him off. He insists she take down his mobile number, when she "discovers" she left her phone with her "sister."
"Are you sure you don't need anything?" he asks, aiming to be a knight in shining armour. The thing that she used to be notes fifteen different ways to kill him.
"No. Thank you." She smiles.
When he is out of sight and she is unobserved, she takes stock of the cash point, and within thirty seconds, she convinces it to give her two hundred pounds. She can do nothing about the CCTV watching her face, but she needs money. Even if she stole a car, she isn't sure she could convince her legs to operate the pedals.
She pays the taxi driver in advance, and sits back, listening to the woman chat about local politics all the way to Cardiff.
The night at the cottage was always dark regardless of how many candles and lamps she lit, but Cardiff is a glittering jewel of buildings and cars. Her pulse quickened at the machines in Tredegar, but now Lisa thrums with electrical grids, power stations, intricate interlocks and thought-quick wireless signals. Her senses must have dulled out in the dark; this is overwhelming, intense, and pleasurable.