CONTINUITY: This takes place several weeks after the episode "End of Days", which occurs a few months after my fic "Guilty of Dust and Sin." (Yes, I've lengthened the TW timeline.)
NOTES: The title is from the W.B. Yeats poem "What Was Lost." Thanks to Aki for the beta and helping me to catch Ianto's voice better. All remaining emo is my fault ;) Also, this site has made me strip out some text. The full text is available on my site.
I know you'll never read this, but I need to write it anyway.
It's almost funny, but the therapist Torchwood brought in after Canary Wharf wanted me to write a letter to Lisa after she died. At the time, I thought it was a ridiculous idea. However, I might need to re-evaluate that opinion.
We've tested everything we can test and we still don't know where you are. Torchwood One has officially put Gwen in charge, which Owen took as well as you'd expect. I've nearly managed to fill the dent in his desk.
You've been declared missing in action.
Why did you leave, Jack? Whatever Gwen says, I know you left willingly. If you were fighting to stay, you'd have caused a bigger mess than a few papers on the floor.
I don't know where you've gone. After everything that's happened, I believe you've finally given up on us. After all, Tosh told me about what happened in 1941.
I'm sorry we hurt you, but if you'd ever told us anything, maybe we'd have trusted you more.
But you didn't and we didn't.
I can't stop thinking about those last days.
I could have stopped Owen, you know. If I'd really wanted to, I could have prevented him from opening the rift without the entire equation. I could have shot him, fought harder, drugged his coffee...
But I didn't want to. I dithered until it was too late.
I didn't want to stop him, because I needed you here, you bastard. Needed you with your bloody secrets and your bloody smirk. And you came back and I figured everything could go back to normal.
And then you fucking well died. Sacrificed yourself to the superstition you scorned.
I watched Gwen spend days hovering over your corpse, knowing it was the end-
this time you'd stretched your incredible luck too far. You'd never kiss me, harass me, or fuck me again.
But you came back to life. I thought that was the end, but I was wrong.
You're gone and we're adrift without you.
Did you even think about us before you left so blithely? Or have we been dismissed like the faulty tools we proved ourselves to be?
We poor lost soldiers will continue to beat on the same small stone. I will do my duty even if I've lost my king.
With a tap of the keyboard, Ianto consigned the letter to the ether, knowing that in moments he'd receive his non-delivery message. He rubbed his face, too drained and too resigned to move just yet. When the system beeped, he didn't bother to look, sitting in the chair and staring aimlessly into space, wondering if the letter had made him feel any better.
Then the computer beeped again.
Ianto looked at the screen, which had cleared itself, except for the following words:
I'm so sorry. I hope someday you can forgive me.
Have you ever seen "The Terminator"?
Ianto frowned. "The Terminator?" he said aloud.
Owen looked up from his own computer. "What's that?"
"Have you ever seen 'The Terminator'?"
"The movie? 'Course I have. It's a classic." Owen snorted, and then went on in an accent not identifiable as anything from Earth. "'I'll be back!'"
"Excuse me?" Ianto stared at him.
"It's a quote from the movie." Shaking his head, Owen pointed an admonishing finger. "You need to get out more, that's your problem."
"That's a famous quote from the movie? 'I'll be back'?"
"It's the first thing someone who'd seen the movie would think of?"
Owen was starting to look worried. "Probably. What's going on, Ianto?"
Ianto closed his eyes, trying to keep his breathing even. "I'd better tell Gwen not to get too comfy in the top office, then."
"Tosh! Gwen!" Owen hollered, leaning back. "Ianto's gone off his trolley again. What do I do with 'im?"
"No," Ianto said, the smile coming slowly. "I think I'm going to be fine now."