Disclaimer: Don't own it. I'm broke and in debt, so please save yourself the pain of bleeeding a dry stone...
AN: Thanks kateg123 for her wonderful beta work!
Just to make things Right,
"Do you want to talk about what's had you in such a foul mood for the past few months, Jack?" Ianto asked as he walked through the door, whisky in hand.
Jack sighed, shifting his feet off the desk, "What's there to talk about? I mean, sure we could talk about monsters from other worlds, or the fact that there's now a civilian out there who's walked through our front door and now is out there with nothing more than the last remnants of a gun wound?"
Ianto took his seat and quietly filled the two glasses awaiting him on the table, "I don't know why you didn't retcon him."
"She threatened to walk out on us."
Ianto snorted, "She threatened to walk out on you."
Jack glanced at him, "Yes, and she's part of this team."
"So?" Ianto retorted, "We've lost people before. Su-"
"Don't you dare finish saying her name!" Jack growled harshly.
Hands up in surrender, Ianto continued, "We've survived, Jack. Through people getting killed and maimed, Torchwood's carried on, just as strong as before."
Jack sighed, "That was before we got a conscience, wasn't it?"
"We'd find a way."
"I'm not sure I would." Jack stated, slowly swirling the contents of the glass, "She's a good reminder of what we'd lost for a while back there, and you and I both know that Torchwood would've fallen apart without her when I was..."
"AWOL?" Ianto suggested. "What'll you do, Jack? The wedding's just over a week away."
"Give her my regards." He stated flatly.
"And what? Not turn up to the wedding?" Ianto snorted in disdain.
"If that's what it takes."
"Rhys is already suspicious of your relationship with her." He pointed out.
"Yeah, and it's just my bad luck that every time we've kissed it's been life and death or some twisted form of CPR. Not exactly a relationship, is it?"
"From what we've seen of Rhys, he'll probably go off at you just for one kiss even if it was life and death."
"Exactly why I shouldn't go." Jack declared.
"And here we are right back where we started." Ianto grumbled in frustration, "Now let's say, hypothetically, that you don't turn up. Tosh wouldn't talk to you again, Owen would never drop it."
"Owen I can handle."
"Yeah, but what about Gwen? She's going to expect you to be there, even if only as moral support."
Jack shrugged, "So I tell her I can't make it."
"And you honestly believe that she'll just accept you…fobbing off on the day when she's going to solidify a relationship that if you hadn't kept her going with, would have been over a long time ago?" Ianto challenged.
"She won't have any choice but to accept it!" Jack snapped, "And it'll be easier on everyone if I just don't turn up. Hell, I might just send something to the gift registry."
"She will have a choice on whether or not to accept your decision, Jack."
"And how, oh wise one, will she?" he sarcastically retorted.
"She can walk out of here, Jack, and you know she could and would do it."
"What?" Jack said flatly
Ianto exhaled, "She'd resign, I'd be the one…obliged to retcon her, and then where would we all be? Tosh'd become a social recluse again. Owen would revert into Cardiff's number one bastard."
"Back in the basement, mourning over someone who I really lost three years ago. You, on the other hand would be back at the beginning of this. You'd still be here, but you wouldn't really. You'd be back to searching for something that isn't what you really want or need now, and if you'll forgive my frankness, is best off in the past where you've left it. I don't think any of us want to lose you to a fate like that."
"Do I have the right to want anything right now? After everything I've done, am I really entitled to wanting a little bit of the peace we work so hard to maintain for the rest of the planet? To, for some strange reason even I'm having trouble comprehending, try the entire semi-domestic thing with someone?"
"You mean Gwen, and you dare try and deny it."
Jack sighed resignedly, "And so we get to the crux of the matter…"
Ianto grumbled, "At least you have the sense not to deny it."
"I think I owe you at least that much."
"You owe yourself that much as well, Jack." Ianto corrected, "Stop denying it. Now back to Gwen-"
"You do know that she'd string us both out if she knew we were talking about her behind her…" Jack deflected.
"Giver her a bit of credit!"
"Right then, next time she's got PMS, I'm feeding you to her."
"At least I know where the pain killers are."
Jack chuckled mirthlessly, "And if you haven't forgotten, I'm dating you right now."
Ianto countered, undeterred, "I think we both know it's not quite that any more, Jack. We both needed the thing between us. Maybe it was inevitable, and I sure did enjoy it whist it lasted. However, we both have other people we'd rather be with. The difference is that you can be with yours! I know that you think you're too dark, tainted, whatever euphemism you want to use today. But you've said it yourself. What matter is right here, right now, and right now, you're one who'll make her happy."
"Rhys makes her happy."
"As if either of us believes that. As if any of us caught up in this, even Rhys, believes that. Come on, Jack."
"She may only be content, but at least Rhys keeps her normal. Keeps her alive."
"She was never normal, Jack!"
"You're right there." Slowly he swirled the amber liquid around his glass, "But maybe her having the illusion of being normal was- is enough, and Rhys can still give her that."
Ianto snorted, "Do you honestly think she'd be happy to live in a glass castle like that?"
"No, but it's so hard not to want that for her. To see her safe and with those happily ever afters that seem to get lost here."
"Fairytale ending? I think you fulfilled that when you died for her-"
"-And the other six billion people on the planet-" Jack half-heartedly corrected.
"-And then when you came back for her. Both times." Ianto continued.
"I came back for all of you." Jack protested.
"Perhaps, but we were out here, and she was in there. With you. Whilst the man she is about to marry was waiting at home having just been resurrected, and you were dead, and the rest of us were ready to commit you to the freezer." Ianto stated.
"Good thing you didn't…." Jack joked half-heartedly.
"Maybe. But she only gave him a phone call, Jack. He died in her arms, and still it was only a phone call."
"It feels ironic to admit it, but Rhys wasn't the only one who died in her arms and came back that day."
"She wouldn't leave me. And once that thing finished, I just…" he shrugged, at a loss to explain.
"Yeah." He agreed, "Literally. It's never been that hard to find my way back, 'Yan. Never."
"But you made it. Back to us."
"And it was a fine way I paid you all back."
For a moment, they sat in silence, half-heartedly sipping their drinks. Neither could really bring themselves to make eye contact with the other, as the weight of Jack's last statement settled over the room like a heavy eiderdown.
Just as the silence was becoming unbearable, Ianto blurted, "When you were gone, how long was it for you?"
"Less than a day off the planet. A year here. A year that never was."
"That's one thing I'm not… I don't think…I'm really ready to tell yet. Maybe one day. One day I'll tell you. All of you. But through it all…everything I can remember…I just wanted to get home."
A distant look flickered across his face, "An invisible lift. A Pterodactyl in the roof. The click of Tosh's keyboard, Owen's whining, your strange nitpicking-not that I'm complaining-, and…"
"Gwen…Don't ask me just what it was, just what it is, but…Seeing her when I got back… It was like returning to a place that I thought I'd lost a long time ago…"
"I think I understand." Ianto finally said softly.
Jack chuckled, "You're doing better than I am."
Placing his glass on the desk, Ianto stood, and walked slowly to the door. He paused, asking softly, "So where do we go from here?"
Jack slowly leaned back in his chair, "I have no clue. Absolutely no clue."
"Cause I need more time, yes I need more time just to make things right…"-Oasis, Don't Go Away.