Title: Fear is a Gift
Summary: From the comment_fic prompt: Any, any, laudanol junkie (Laudanol is a fictional drug from Chuck that suppresses fear)
Disclaimer: I do not own, or make any money from the use of, these characters.
He’d discovered it in the archives of Torchwood One. Really, it was the only reason they had survived the battle. It gave him the courage to run towards the danger and find Lisa in the chaos when everyone else was running away in fear. Just a quick injection to overcome his fear and he was (at least in her eyes) the hero of the day.
He tried to stop then, knowing that the constant fear of being caught, the fear of making a wrong move would keep him focused. The fight or flight response would make him more careful. It was only once Lisa was disconnected that he realized freezing was also a perfectly normal response to fear (although Jack had long since taught him that fucking was another option). Still, even as his world crumbled around him, he managed to function without the drug.
At least until the cannibals. He never wanted to feel that helpless again, never wanted to be at the mercy of his own vulnerability, not compared to the rest of the team. If they functioned best high on adrenaline, he could function high on something else. If he occasionally went on missions with a little bit of false courage, it hurt no one and no one needed to know. No one noticed and no one cared.
No one cared until Jack left and someone had to pick up the slack. No one noticed until an occasional hit before the once-in-awhile mission became a daily, twice a day, (three times on a bad day) habit. It was the bravado and jitters that finally gave him away. And once Owen was paying attention there was no way to hide it. Still, it wasn’t until after one too many close calls, when his inability to see the danger put the entire team at risk, that anyone bothered to intervene.
Balancing the need to get the drug out of his system with the danger causing him to become overwhelmed with fear and crippled by phobias as it was removed was only one of the issues. Learning to recognize fear as a valid survival instinct again was another challenge. But with Owen working on the first and the recently returned Jack working on the latter, it was manageable.
Until Owen died and Jack withdrew, while the pressures of life within Torchwood just increased.
Later, Jack would think that if Ianto had been able to feel the fear that day, if he had been scared enough to think rationally, things just might have turned out differently.