The Long Sad Goodbye.

My Battle of the Fandoms entry. Based on the idea of alternate timelines from the Comic: Torchwood – Shrouded. ***
It’s a rainy Thursday when Ianto Jones dies.
He isn’t shot down in the line of duty or clawed by a weevil. He isn’t deleted by a cyberman or poisoned by his beloved coffee.
It is just him – well, him and Jack – in the Hub, watching the seconds slip by.

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1. The Long Sad Goodbye.

***

Now.

It’s a rainy Thursday when Ianto Jones dies.

He isn’t shot down in the line of duty or clawed by a weevil. He isn’t deleted by a cyberman or poisoned by his beloved coffee.

It is just him – well, him and Jack – in the Hub, watching the seconds slip by.

Because when he goes out, he wants to do it in the place that he loves.

Anyway. That isn’t the point.

The point is that, in less than an hour, he is gone – lost to the darkness and in the one place that Jack cannot follow. Arms refuse to untangle themselves from his waist as for the first time, Jack openly sobs – tears spilling down from his eyes like the rain outside.

It is all over.

But in truth, it has been over for a while.

***

Five months ago.

“Take the afternoon off.” Owen orders, resting a hand on Ianto’s shoulder, snapping him from the mountain of paperwork which is slowly gathering on his desk. Twenty hour days were not healthy but the team had lost its leader and Ianto is the one suffering the most.

Ianto agrees, muttering his goodbye to Toshiko before leaving the Hub. He misses the worried glance which passes between his colleges and makes his way outside, into the rain. Jack is gone and Ianto is barely coping; he hasn’t eaten in days and hasn’t slept in even longer.

Coffee doesn’t count.

So is it really any surprise when he collapses on the way to the car park? No, the surprise is what happens next.

***

They want to start him on all sorts of treatment.

And it’s not like Ianto’s against that, it’s just that he doesn’t want to die. Then again, who does? Lisa always used to say that Torchwood is a death sentence and she was right.

She was always right.

And now she was gone.

At the end of the day, it isn’t aliens that kill him, but humans. Human genetics.

“Tumour.” They say. “Inoperable.” They insist. “Terminal.” They whisper.

Do you want to call anyone?

No.

Because the only person that he wanted had run off with The Doctor months ago.

***

He declines the medication; he’s dead anyway, so what’s the point?

After dismissing himself from the hospital, he walks home.

He won’t say a word, he won’t show weakness or he’ll lose his job at Torchwood. Is it not enough that he had lost Lisa? Is it not enough that Jack had abandoned him? He needs Torchwood: Toshiko, Owen – Gwen, even. He can’t lose them too, not now and not after all they had been through.

He won’t say it and he won’t think it because for the first time since Lisa died, he can’t fix it.

Damn…

There is so much to do in the short time that he’d been given. Five months. Five months is nothing. Jack had left five months ago and it felt like forever and an instant, all in one.

Do you want to call anyone?

No.

And so he doesn’t.

***

He doesn’t tell them. Not even Toshiko. He hides in the shadows, making arrangements behind the backs of his teammates. No-one knows how much he is suffering, but worse; no-one seems to care. It Ianto’s fault and he knows it; he’s built his walls so high that now he is drowning. He had become too good at pretending.

Is he alright?

No. How could he be alright?

He is Ianto Jones – the tea-boy of Torchwood Three. And no-one could hear him scream. No-one suspects a thing and he’s not going to give them a reason to.

He is proud, smart and utterly sarcastic but he knows how to keep his priorities straight. He starts making plans, letting hints drop about the things he can do for the team before he goes. It’s this set of people – his friends and his teammates – who are going to take the hit the hardest.

And that’s why he can’t tell them. He doesn’t want them to remember his last days as tears and sadness whilst searching for a cure that doesn’t exist. He’s the Archivist; he knows everything and still, there is no cure.

He wants them to be happy, Damn it.

No matter how much the universe fights back.

***

Toshiko.

‘Her gift is the easiest.’ Ianto thinks. No, he isn’t going to give her some old piece of tech or a fancy piece of jewellery, but something that matters. He’s going to do something meaningful, thank you very much. He’s observed his friend for long enough to know what they truly want and he’s going to do all that he can to give it to them.

He’s giving Tosh his Archives.

He finishes the new cataloguing system a week later and gives Toshiko the access codes to his Lair, the key to his mind and the realm of unexplored potential.

Because there’s no-one that he trusts more.

“You’re giving me access to the Archives?” Tosh asks, her voice suddenly very quiet. She understands the measure of his gift. The Archives were Ianto’s domain and now he is giving her the key.

He shrugs.

“Someone else needs access to the Archives and I trust you the most.” He’s not lying but he’s just missing out parts of the truth.

“No going anywhere, are you?” she teases, but her words strike a nerve. Ianto laughs, because it is a joke and because he is supposed to, but inside he is falling apart.

Because, yes. Yes he is but instead of calling out that he is not okay, a smile forms on his lips.

“I wouldn’t dream of it.”

He didn’t have to.

“Do you want me to take you on a tour?”

“Now?”

“No time like the present. We don’t have forever.”

He certainly didn’t but in Ianto’s eyes, Tosh had the rest of his life.

And that is, in a way, a long time for them both.

***

Owen.

For Owen, the gift is something a little more personal. Ianto Jones teaches the medic how to make coffee. One day, he moves down to the autopsy bay and on Owen’s yell for coffee, tells him to make it himself.

Silence.

Owen stares blankly as Ianto rolls his eyes.

“Come on. I’ll show you how.”

Owen trails behind in disbelief. The white lab coat has seven childish badges pinned to it; Ianto will miss them when he is gone. After a few thinly veiled threats about breaking the coffee machine, Ianto shows him how to change the filters and brew the finest coffee in all of Cardiff. Owen quickly picks up the techniques and stares at Ianto as he samples the brew of the gods. His lips curl into a smile.

“Passable, Harper.”

“That’s Doctor Harper, thank you.” The two laugh at their familiar dialogue and boy, it feels good for Ianto to laugh. Then, all of a sudden, Owen becomes serious.

“Seriously mate. Why?” Owen’s cockney accent breaks through the haze in Ianto’s mind. Touching his beloved coffee machine usually meant death by angry Welshman but now, here he is, teaching Owen how to brew coffee.

Why?

Because someone would have to when he is gone.

“I’m sick of you shouting for it. Now you can make it your bloody self.”

Owen accept his answer with a slight grin before gazing over the Hub that is now under his command. His eyes linger on Toshiko.

Ianto notices.

“Y’know. You should tell her how you feel.” Whilst you still can.

Because that is the best gift he could give either one of them: each other.

“How-“

“I told you: I know everything.”

“You always-” But he’s cut off by the blaring of the rift alarm. Weevils in Splott; business as usual.

 

That night, Ianto goes back to his flat.

And breaks a glass door.

Because this is the last thing that he wants to leave behind.

***

Two weeks later, he starts throwing up. His vision blurs as he passes through the hub although that may have been the tears. Six months. Jack had been gone for six months and Ianto knows the odds of him ever returning are slim. He has all of time and space at his finger tips; why would he come home?

Ianto ignored the voice at the back of his head, saying ‘For me’.

He keeps telling himself that he’s glad.

But he doesn’t believe it.

Because Jack had forever and Ianto’s time is at an end. That is the curse of immortality; Jack had no choice but to move on. Maybe it is kinder this way. Or maybe it is only crueler.

Do you want to call anyone?

…No…

***

Gwen.

He takes three weeks to plan Gwen’s gift.

She’s different than the others; she has everything that she could possibly want and yet treats it as if she has nothing at all. She is… unappreciative – for lack of a better word. She has friends, a family and a boyfriend in a job where most operatives didn’t make it to the age of thirty.

Case and point: Ianto Jones.

After hours of deliberation he decides that the one thing that he can give Gwen is a reality check.

He sits her down in the conference room and pulls up the folder of ‘Flat Holm Island’. Gwen is silent as he explains everything. He explains the negative rift spike and how people are taken by the rift as well as returned. He tells her of the lost souls that the rift spits out into Cardiff. He can see her eyes water as he clicks through the images of the damned and explains why the victims can’t go back home.

At the end of his speech, Gwen stands and pulls him into a tight embrace. After a few awkward moments, he lets his head drop onto her shoulder and gives in to the tears.

And goodness, it feels good for Ianto to cry.

Gwen is nowhere near as damaged as the others; she hasn’t lost lovers and herself to the aliens that Torchwood fights against. She hadn’t been at Canary Wharf, she hadn’t been locked up by UNIT and she hadn’t lost everything that she loved. She is lucky and Ianto is simply showing her how.

“Thank you, sweetheart. I think I understand now.” The Welsh tint in her voice is far more prominent that usual as she finally lets go of Ianto.

“You have a man who loves you; don’t throw it all away.”

 

And she doesn’t.

 

Later that night, he gets a phone call telling him that Gwen and Rhys are engaged.

Isn’t that nice?

Then it hits him.

He won’t live long enough to see the wedding.

And for some reason, that bothers him more than it should.

***

Ianto starts to forget things.

The name of this alien in Radyr. The layout of the Archives. What Myfawny eats.

It comes to the point that he’s sat at his desk, folders in his hands that he can’t name and for a moment, it’s terrifying. His heart rate is through the roof.

“Owen.” He calls out. “What am I doing, again?”

“I think you should be getting some rest, mate.”

Right. Rest.

He could rest when he is dead.

Which is quite soon actually so Owen could stuff it.

***

With two months left, he is almost ready.

He sits in front of his laptop, staring down the camera with tear welling in his eyes. Taking a moment to compose himself, this is how he wants to be remembered and he wants this video to say the things that he can’t, when he can’t.

He presses record.

“So. I guess it’s all over then. I’m sorry for what I’ve put you through and I’m sorry for not telling you when I had the chance. Torchwood is my life and I couldn’t bear to lose it. I couldn’t bear to lose you.”

He pauses, considering his next words.

“Toshiko, you’re the best friend that I could ever have asked for. Don’t blame yourself for what had happened. You saved me so many times – after Lisa, after the cannibals- and I am forever in your debt. Toshi, I’ll miss you but you have to stay strong. Just remember that I saw you, I saw how special you are. I love you, Tosh. Never forget that.”

He can imagine her face, crumpling as tears drip down from her eyelids.

“Owen, you’re like a brother to me. Yes, we argue a lot but I know that you care. Do something for me; don’t let Tosh slip away. Look after her when I can’t. You’re a great man and a great medic. Never forget that. You couldn’t save me but you can still save others. Do me proud, Owen. Do me proud.”

He can see Owen pretending to stay strong but inside crumbling to pieces. He knows how cruel he’s being but in the long run, the finality will help his friends to heal.

 “Gwen, look after your life. Look after Rhys and your future. Ground yourself to reality and live life to the fullest. You never know when it’s going to end. I’m lucky to have been able to call you my friends.”

His mouse hovers over the stop button but he decides to continue.

“You made me better, all of you. You saved me so many times and for that, I’m grateful. So, yeah. Thank you.”

He wipes away a falling tear before knowing what to say next.

“And Jack.” His voice breaks. “If you’re there, know that this wasn’t your fault. I’ll always love you, Cariad. Don’t forget me.”

And then the message ended.

Closing the tab, he connected the file to the deactivation of his Torchwood account.

Then, he buried his head in his hands and let himself break down. Finally, he had found a life worth living and now he is losing it.

Do you want to call anyone?

…Not yet…

***

Archie.

In the end, he talks to the head of Torchwood House over a video call. The others are out on a routine rift retrieval and Ianto has the Hub to himself.

“Sir.”

“Ianto Jones, how can I help you?” They address each other formally but yet have met in person several times. Not that it matters anymore…

“I would like to hand in my resignation.” Archie stares at Ianto, creasing his forehead in confusion as he gazes at the young Welshman. Ianto Jones had survived the fall of Torchwood one and yet here he is, three years later, throwing it all away.

“Can I do anything to change your mind?” If the boy was one thing, Archie knew that it was stubborn. Jack had broken his heart and now Ianto can take it no longer.

“With all respect, sir. There’s nothing you can do.”

The young man has made his choice and now, what happen next is in Archie’s hands.  He sighs before falling back on standard Torchwood policy.

“I’m afraid it’s either death or retcon then.”

To die or to forget.

“I don’t think that will be a problem.” Ianto lifts an eyebrow and waits. Archie’s eyes narrow in confusion, a moment later, widening in shock. Ianto taps his temple.

“Two months. Maximum.”

And then it all clicks.

“So we’re keeping this under wraps, I take it?”

Ianto nods. “Please, give a dying man his final wish.”

“Only in this job can you make jokes in the face of death…”

“Someone has to laugh in the end.”

Pause.

“Sir, if Captain Harkness is to return in my absence, would you please – please tell him. Tell him that I’m- I’m so sorry.”

He then hangs up on the call – straightens his tie and returns to his teammates.

Blowfish driving a sports car? What could possibly go wrong?

He grab his gun before slipping into the SUV. He smiles at his teammate and they smile back.

 

They think he’s fine.

But they’re wrong.

***

Jack is back.

And everything goes to hell.

 

“Did you miss me?”

‘Oh, god yes.’ Ianto wants to say but instead watches on from the background. Jack smiles but Ianto can see how haunted he looks. He needs to fix Jack before he goes.

“I came back for you.”

Ianto’s heart breaks with the implications of what he means. Because in the end, he is going to love Jack for as long as he has left. Nothing else matters.

Just: Jack.

Things finally start looking up and then Jacks vortex manipulator beep and they’re back to square one. Jack runs off again and Ianto feels his heart quicken inside of his chest. He wants to lie down so much but yet continues to fight.

Then, in the office, Jack asks him out on a date. And Ianto Jones is selfish, selfishly in love; he had forced Lisa to endure months of suffering just because he couldn’t bear to lose her. Now it is the same with Jack.

“By the way, was that a yes?
“ Yes... Yes.”

John Hart holds a gun at his head. Ianto is more worried by the fact that he doesn’t care. It would all have been so much easier to die like this and the team would never have to watch as he withered away. He’s willing to give up and give into the darkness clawing at his soul. He can't imagine a time when this isn't everything. Pain so constant, like a stomach's full of rats. It feels like this is all his is now; there isn't an inch of him that doesn't hurt.

He is ready to go.

“Your friends are bleeding, and dying, and you barely have enough time to save them.”

Damn you, Hart. Damn you.

He steps into the lift, staring down the barrel of a gun and wishing, not for the first time, that he had never joined Torchwood.

The doors slam closed as he slumps against the metal wall.

How much longer can he go on?

Just over a month and then it would all be over.

 

Do you want to call anyone?

Damn it.

…Yes…

***

Ianto.

“Why did you need me to pick you up?” Jack asks as he drives them back to the hub. Innuendo layers his tone but yet Ianto can’t find the courage to respond. Just a few words and everything that he had built would come crumbling down around him. Beneath the blue lights of the SUV, Jack looks younger and almost untouched by The Master’s cruelty.

Ianto remains quiet. Jack remains worried.

“Ianto, talk to me. What happened?” his voice gets lower, softer. His American accent filters through the vehicle as he turns to look at Ianto. He notices the bags under his passengers eyes and the strain which had recently become a permanent feature on his face.

 The worry only increases.

 

“Stop the car.”

Jack obeys.

“Pull over.”

He does.

 

“Ianto, what-”

“Shut up, Jack!” And then he kisses him.

Because Ianto Jones is selfish and knows that his time is fading, but all the same, he wants Jack. He knows that he’s being cruel and he knows that it will never last but it doesn’t matter. In that moment, nothing felt more right. It is going to break them, both of them but Ianto couldn’t bring himself to care.

He’s going to give Jack the rest of his short little life. He’s going to love him until it kills him.

And it will.

“Not that I’m complaining, but-”

“Did you know that I’ve been falling for you ever since that first night in the warehouse?”

“Ianto-”

“Even when Lisa was in the basement. You are the sole reason that I get up every morning, Jack Harkness. Did you know that?”

Jack looks shocked.

“N- No. Ianto. I didn’t.”

“Well now you do.” Ianto murmurs before promptly passing out.

Because it’s the only thing left that he wants. All he’s ever wanted. And that is what he’s going to get.

Captain Jack Harkness.

Captain Harkness.

His beloved Jack.

***

 

Ianto wakes up back at the hub. Jack is in the chair beside the bed and the rest of the team is scattered around the autopsy bay.

Ianto’s first coherent though is ‘Oh, shit.’

“You should have told us.” Jack says suddenly, eyes red and throat horse from crying. Gone is the enigmatic leader, replaced only with the shell of a man. Jack pretends to be strong but he’s failing and his teammates can see it.

Ianto tries to sit up.

“Not how I want to be remembered,”

Silence.

He can feel the eyes gazing down at him, filled with pity and sorrow. This is everything that he’s trying to prevent. Maybe if his team didn’t remember then the issue would be dropped. Retcon is an option…

“Don’t even think about it, Teaboy. We’ve locked away the supplies.” Owen says coolly.

There goes that option. He can’t make them forget. So, now, with less than a month left, he finally has to face up to them.

“How could you do this to me?” Jack says quietly. “You just told me that you loved me. You just promised me a life time with you.”

Ianto opens his eyes to see Jack – minus the infamous coat – with tears dripping from his eyes. This is his fault but yet there was no way to put it right.

“C-Cariad, you’ve got my life time… It was never going to be long enough. Can’t we- Can’t we just treasure what little time we have?”

Jack is silent before finally choosing his next words.

“Yeah, we can do that.”

They both know that it will never be enough. But neither will let it stop them.

 

Jack has eternity. Ianto has a month.

Destiny is a bitch.

***

The last few weeks are what he didn’t want, but now, it’s easier. It’s better.

 Gwen and Tosh cry a lot but by the time he has two weeks left, they’re trying to act as normal as possible. Owen tells him to hurry up and die so he can have his autopsy bay back.

It’s a joke. That’s how he deals with it.

Toshiko talks to him about the archives and about every alien she had ever encountered. She tells him about the time she met The Doctor and how she had come to join Torchwood. Ianto listens, because he’s supposed to; it’s a distraction, but it’s nice. It’s nice to be confided to a bed with people that he loves surrounding him.

Owen phones UNIT and tells them that Torchwood Three are out of duty for the next month. He makes up some story about damage artefacts and rouge aliens before connecting the rift alarm to their system. That’s how he shows he cares, he deals with the things that no-one else is able to.

Gwen likes to sit with him and cleans when he throws up or makes jokes when the depression sets in. She likes to think she’s helping and she is. Ianto likes to think that he aided her in becoming a better Gwen Cooper.

Jack stays with him the entire time, counting the moments away. They held each other when the nightmares came and chatter in the dying light of the morning. They tell each other everything.

Ianto tells him of Canary Wharf and of losing everything that he had ever loved.

Jack tells him of the Bad Wolf, of Rose Tyler who made him immortal. He tells him of the Boeshane peninsular and his travels with the Doctor.

“She had the power of the time vortex in her head. She killed the Daleks and then turned to the doctor. She brought me back to life.”

“I bring life…”

“You were dead?”

“Shot by a Dalek. Not a great way to go.”

“She loved you enough to bring you back.”

“Immortality is not a gift. It’s a curse. I have to watch you all grow, wither and die whilst not changing myself. I feel disconnected from reality because I don’t change. And yes, it’s great to be invulnerable but it hurts. Dying hurts so much and the only plus is keeping you safe.”

“Oh, Cariad…”

Both men are equally broken and yet together, they somehow make a whole. They are both open with the other and nothing else seems to matter; there is no time for conflict as the moments slip by.

Ianto asks Jack how he will cope when he’s gone. Jack replies by saying he has forever to get over it. At the trademarked eyebrow raise, Jack tells him that he’ll be gone so he won’t have to worry. He’ll be dead. This is the closest that they come to an argument.

Jack hasn’t said that he loves Ianto yet, so when he does, Ianto realises that’s what he’s been waiting for. All of this time, he wanted Jack to say it. And Jack has been holding back because he can’t bear to give his heart to a dead man and condemn himself to years of hurt. He gives in. It’s all too much.

“I love you.” He says quietly. Then he cries for a few hours because he’s just doomed himself to heartbreak.

Ianto doesn’t cry. He smiles. He whispers it back.

 

Two weeks left?

Please.

Ianto’s ready now.

***

Jack.

The one thing that he can give to Jack is himself.

He talks to Toshiko and tells her the plan. With tears glistening in the eyes of her best friend, Tosh drops a kiss on his forehead before agreeing with Ianto’s plan. He is weaker today and knows that the end is nearing.

“Consider it done.”

And he does. Because he trusts Toshiko with everything.

A day later, he is ready.

“Jack?”

“Yeah?”

Ianto takes a deep breath before pulling the stopwatch of the table by his bed. He holds it out to Jack.

“This broke the night I first started to care about you. It will never start again.  I want you to know, even as time passes, my love for you will never end. You’re allowed to move on, I’m okay with that. I know that you’re in an impossible situation Jack; know that I don’t blame you. Find someone new, but please – don’t forget me.”

“Never could.” Jack doesn’t specify what part of Ianto’s speech he is responding to. He is immortal and is bound to the fabric of time. He is a fixed point and would live to see the end of the universe and even beyond. But with Ianto’s blessing, he knows he can live on.

No matter how much it might hurt.

“Hey. It was good, yeah?”

“It was the best.”

Ianto choked out a breath.

“A thousand year's time, you won't remember me.” And there it is: Ianto’s great insecurity – being nothing more than a blip in time for the immortal man.

“Yes, I will. I promise. I will, Ianto.”

He takes the stopwatch from Ianto and holds it to his chest, over his heart. The two lock eyes, deafened by the noise of all that they’re not saying. Jack doesn’t know if he would trade his life with Ianto for anything.

Even if that meant getting his heart broken.

“I guess I’m lucky.” Ianto murmurs.

“How?”

“I get to spend the rest of my life with you.”

Jacks heart shatters at the honesty in Ianto’s tone. He’d never counted on falling so far and now he is in too deep. He’d love Ianto forever; he wouldn’t just be another face in a box of regrets. Ianto leaves his diaries to Jack as well as the rest of his possessions.

Ianto lets a small grin form on his face.

He gave Tosh his mind.

He gave Owen his skills.

He gave Gwen his emotions.

And  gives Jack his heart.

His time is nearly over and for once, that’s okay.

***

It’s simple. He chooses his flat. He decides that it is a nice enough place to die.

The day is here and the team know it.

Ianto’s skin is pale white and his eyes are bloodshot and red. It takes all of his strength to just sit up in the morning.

Today is the day that his friends say goodbye.

It’s a sombre affair but there are things left to be said. In all honesty, Ianto can’t remember most of it. Within a few minutes, the team are there, they’re hugging him for the last time and then they’re gone, leaving him and Jack alone for his final few hours.

As the final few grains of sand drop from the edge of the egg timer, Ianto clutches Jack’s hand with tars brimming in his eyes.

“Jack, I’m scared.”

“I know Ianto. Me too.”

“I love you.” Because if this is his last chance to say it, then he will. He wants Jack to remember him for his love and not for his death.

“And I love you too.” Jack is keeping himself together for both of their sakes. He knows that when he breaks down, he won’t be able to stop crying until it is too late. Ianto is wrapped up in his coat and is curled up in his arms but yet has never felt further away. He’s going to the one place where Jack can never follow.

“Sleep, love. I’ll be here when you wake.”

But he wouldn’t wake and they both knew it.

Ianto finally asks the question that he has been wondering about for the past two years. He knows that it is impossible and he knows there is no chance but at least he can have finality before he is forced to leave.

 “T-That night with L-Lisa. I f-felt my neck snap. I-I died that night, didn’t I?”

“Yes.”

“But you saved m-me? H-How?”

“I don’t know, love. I really don’t. I used my immortality somehow.”

“I-I guess y-your just my im-impossible C-Captain.”

“I’ve been called that before…”

“Suzie was r-right. There was nothing t-there. I-it was simply b-blackness.”

“I know. I really do…” And he does because every time Jack dies he finds himself there – being dragged over broken glass.

Ianto takes a final look at the man he has grown to love before finally seeing what he has to do. He has to set Jack free.

“I-It’s s-sad Jack, d-don’t you think?”

“What is?”

“L-life.”

Jack pauses.

“It’s only sad when it’s over.”

“And y-yours isn’t, Cariad. S-so live. Be happy… Don’t forget m-me.”

“I swear. I won’t.”

 

And with that, Ianto closes his eyes and lets eternal sleep take him. He gives in to the darkness and in to the pull of exhaustion which has been hounding him for months.

Finally, after all this time and planning, after so many goodbyes and new awakenings, Ianto Jones is ready.

***

Now.

It’s a rainy Thursday when Ianto Jones dies and even the sky is mourning.

Jack watches him slip away.

Two hours later, Owen arrives at the scene. Ianto Jones is pronounced dead and so is Jack’s heart. He cries so much that he no longer has any tears left to shed. It does not compute. Ianto is gone. He’s actually gone.

There’s a hand on his shoulder. Owen is shining a light in his eyes. He already knows he’s in shock so what does it matter?

Just… Ianto.

He would give anything for one last cup of coffee. He would give anything for one last kiss. He’d give anything just to die along with Ianto.

Ianto’s words keep repeating and repeating in his mind – over and over until nothing remains.

Ianto was dead.

His Ianto was gone.

His coffee boy. His friend. His saviour. His anchor. His sanity.

All gone within a moment.

Their love is fixed in the halls of Galifrey and fixed in the fabric of space and time.

Ianto couldn’t die. He couldn’t be gone.

But he was.

He really was.

 

And then, all at once, it hits him. What Ianto had meant in his last moments.

Ianto had died before. Back in the days of Lisa. Jack had saved him. Jack had brought him back from the clutches of the darkness.

Shoving Owen out of the way, he leans over the cooling body, forcing the power of the time vortex through his veins.  Praying to every god that he believes in, he crashes their lips together, pouring all of his love and grief into the still body of the man he loved.

“Please.”

Nothing happens.

“Come on, Ianto. Please, don’t leave me. I need you. Don’t leave me.”

Bad Wolf. Bad Wolf. Bad Wolf.

Silence.

“No. No, this has to work. You can’t- You can’t leave me.” His voice breaks.

“You’ll never be a blip in time, Ianto Jones. Not for me. Never for me.”

His immortality is a curse but maybe, just maybe, for once - the universe can be kind. Maybe, Just this once, everyone can live.

 

A golden light fills the room.

Everything glows.

And then, Ianto Jones wakes up.

 

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