He comes to him in dreams of darkness, a leering brightness to burn his eyes; clenched closed and weeping as his grin swims before Ianto’s unseeing vision- like dancing polka-dots of black and white, which make him squeeze his eyes closed and press digging fingers against the softness of his lids- his nerves set on edge- as the darkness, it closes in, and his grin- his grin is toothless and tight, a meaningful twinkle in his eye as he stands and stares (all knowing and all seeing), the bringer of his salvation and executioner of his guilt.
“Ianto Jones.” Bilis calls, laughter on his lips as he stands, swathed in darkness.
Ianto lies awake most nights, sheets pulled up to his chin as his gaze dances around the shadows of the room, forced insomnia taunting him and teasing him and daring him to close the aching itch of his eyes; red-rimmed and heavy, hurting as they blink away sleep, awake, to sleep- no dreams to claim him, please, to cradle him in their embrace. Wishful thinking, a bitter taste upon his tongue- soured and scorned and plagued with guilt.
“Oh what have you done, dear boy?” Bilis asks him. Such a naughty boy…
“Please?” Ianto pleads, and hates himself for the weakness he shows. Shadows are frightful figures that move across his walls and Bilis stands there, cloaked in the darkest corner of his room beside her.
His long-dead lover sits in silence and watches him from Bilis’ side, she hears his moans and beggared pleas and she smiles, dissolutely, as Bilis presses a comforting hand to her shoulder, standing proud and tall at her side; immaculately dressed and groomed for destruction. Always watching, his eyes all seeing and aged, the twinkle in his gaze offering Ianto no deliverance but damning him instead.
“Ianto…” And that’s her voice, all softly sinful and it breaks his heart to hear her call to him like this. “Close your eyes, Ianto.” She whispers.
And sleep, it always takes its toll, always reaches out and pulls him under; heavy arms dragging him down to the torturous depths of slumber where, with hands curled into claws, the old man reaches out and Ianto is forced to succumb to the scrape of an unwanted embrace.
The feel of parchment skin is a chafing wrinkle beneath his fisted hands as he is pulled against clothing centauries old- the coarse rub of material stifling against his cheek before dry lips move to touch at his mouth, pressing and forcing, a tongue slick with slimed saliva slipping past frozen lips and into the dry heat of his mouth (all parched and acrid, his tongue thick with fear and gagging on emptiness and the taste of ashes).
There is no escaping this horror of the night, this phantom of a man as he does his will upon him, takes from him his revenge and Ianto can only pray in desperate choking please for Bilis to deliver unto him his salvation; yellowed fingernails ripping the clothing from his body in one foul swoop.
When he awakens, Ianto wishes it were all a dream. Knows it isn’t when the acidity in his mouth is just as potent as it was the moment he’d been forced to yield. There are scratches raked across his pallid body, he sees them every morning, each day more vivid than the last, as he stands before the bathroom mirror; blood-red gashes slashed across his body, bruises scattered across his flesh in a kaleidoscope of colour, his skin too-thin and stretched to disguise the hurt and ribs and juts of bone that stand out in a slash of shadow.
There is nervous hope that one day, one day soon someone will notice and question the black circles heavy around his eyes- eyes that recall and understand, they see the old man, see his face and they feel, feel his skin on fire and the chafe of dirty old hands along his body, touching where they shouldn’t and pulling the gag of sickness to his lips and out into the sink.
Please one day let them question the shake in his hands as he never-quite but always wants to spill the coffee he delivers so efficiently before recoiling to the shadows he loathes so vehemently, his eyes flickering opened-closed as he tries not to sleep for the fear of the dreams it will bring him.
Ianto tries not to think of Bilis, sitting, waiting for him- trapped just within the pull of the rift- but it is almost impossible for him to do. For the old man is as death to him, and he dances with that every day, with every waking-sleeping moment, with every breath he forces himself to take, and then exhale. He cannot close his eyes for fear of sleep, but every waking moment is just as torturous to him.
Oh please let it end!
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