Ianto Jones woke up and swung his legs out of the bed. He walked into the kitchen to brew a cup of coffee and begin his morning routine.
It was dark outside, mainly because of how early it still was, but also because of Cardiff's terrible weather. When Ianto tried to look outside the window, his eyes met his own reflection instead, and in himself he could see the shadow of a quiet little girl, with long dark brown hair and an oversized pink dress. A little girl who played games with her big sister and borrowed her classmates' Action Men. A little girl who went to the cinema every Saturday morning with her dad to watch children's movies — fairy tales and stories about colorful animals. A little girl whose mom braided her hair before driving her and her sister to her Nan's house in the countryside. A little girl who was happy, and never had to worry about anything. A little girl whose life felt so far away, hazy and dreamlike.
As soon as the coffee was ready, Ianto drank it and made his way to the small bathroom of his flat.
When he looked into the mirror as he was brushing his teeth, he could make out the silhouette of a teenager. A teenager who'd clumsily cut his hair in his friend's bathroom. A teenager with shakey eyeliner and chipped black nail polish, not feminine enough to most people's taste. A teenager with bruises and cuts and scars all over his body, from his father and from himself and from all the stupid things he did with his friends. A teenager who shoplifted CDs and jewelry and accessories, both to impress his friends and because he couldn't afford them. A teenager who'd picked up smoking because it was what everyone else was doing. A teenager who only ever lied and hid and pretended, whose life was spinning out of control.
Ianto spat into the sink and undressed to take a shower.
When he stepped under the stream and let the warm water run over his body, he saw his reflection on the tiled teal walls and thought about a young man. A young man wearing a suit, neat and elegant. A young man who'd only been working in the company for a few months when he became the director's personal assistant. A young man who went on dates with his girlfriend every Thursday night, and occasionally watched movies with his flatmate. A young man who took pride in his work and always executed it flawlessly. A young man who was appreciated by all of his co-workers. A young man who rarely ever called his sister and mother anymore. A young man who'd turned his back on his home city and never looked back, and thought it was for the better.
Ianto turned the water off and dried himself with a towel before returning to his room.
As he was picking up the clothes that he'd prepared the night before, he saw his reflection into the tall mirror on the door of his wardrobe and remembered a man. A broken, beaten man with empty eyes and deep, dark circles under them. A man who'd dragged himself back to his home city after having lost everything. A man forced to live at the caravan site because he had to save up for his girlfriend's treatments and he couldn't afford anything else. A man who was so desperate for a job, for a chance to save the one he loved, that he was ready to do anything. A man who hated himself for surviving, for making it out when no one else did. A man whose life had been utterly destroyed with no hopes of repair.
Ianto got dressed quickly and efficiently. Boxers, packer, binder, socks, shirt, trousers, belt, tie, waistcoat, suit jacket and shoes in that order.
As he left his flat and locked the door behind him, he reflected on himself. Those fragments of the past were still him, as different as they could seem. Each experience he'd lived had defined him, shaped him into the Ianto Jones he was today, the Ianto Jones who worked for Torchwood Cardiff and made the best coffee in the Bay. He was still broken, still in pain, but was slowly getting better.
He hurried to his car. He couldn't wait to see his friends again; Toshiko and Owen would probably argue playfully over a new alien they'd found, Gwen would laugh as she helped them work, and Jack would jump in with an innuendo or a wild story of his supposed past.
Ianto Jones wasn't always sure about who he was or what was his purpose, but if nothing else, he had a place he belonged in.