Title: Remember Me
Pairing: Jack/Ianto, Ianto/OMC
Summary: You'll find better love, strong as it ever was. Deep as the river runs, warm as the morning sun. Please remember me...
Warning: Character deaths. Probable tissue warning.
Spoilers: Slight for 2x06- Reset.
Author's note: Inspired by 'Please remember me' from John's album, 'Another Side'.
The waves crashed up on the pavement as he walked, his hands thrust into his pockets. His steps were sure and confident. He knew where he was going and what he was planning on doing.
It was only when he was stood opposite the ocean front property that he paused, uncertain of himself and his motives. He had been away for so long it felt almost inappropriate for him to simply stroll up the garden path and ring the doorbell.
The dark blue door opened and he quickly ducked around the corner. He didn't know why he was hiding from the person exiting the house, but something inside of him didn't seem to be ready for the confrontation that had coming for years.
Ianto tugged his coat tighter around his body as he turned left at the gate and made his way down the street. He looked a lot older than he had the last time Jack had seen him and the Captain wondered exactly how many years he had been away. It felt like he had left mere seconds ago, yet here Ianto was, looking more world-weary and older than he ever had before.
Jack hesitated for a moment before he followed him, making sure to keep out of Ianto's peripheral vision and keep his footsteps as silent as possible on the paving stones beneath him.
Rain was beginning to fall from the dark clouds hanging over head and Ianto quickened his pace, trying to get to his destination as quickly as possible.
They passed the Millennium Stadium and the large water tower, without so much as glancing at them. Jack's heart leapt when he noticed Ianto heading in the direction of the Tourist Office. Even though so much time had passed, he was glad to see that some things apparently never changed.
His hopes died when he saw that the Office was no longer standing. In it's place was a large office building, with glistening silver doors and blinking lights shining out of the ground, illuminating a path to it's entrance.
The large sign over the building said something in Welsh and though Jack couldn't understand what it said, he instinctively knew it had nothing to do with Torchwood. There was no way his team would be so reckless as to make their presence known in the city like this – not after what happened last time. What exactly had happened while he had been away?
Ianto ran his fingers tip over one of the bricks in the wall. He was too far away to see, but it seemed to Jack as though there was something written there. He had to quickly jump back into the shadows to avoid being seen as Ianto abruptly turned and began walking back in the direction they had just come from.
Part of him wanted to step closer and read the text, but the controlling part of him wanted to follow the Welshman further and he had no choice but to continue walking after Ianto.
As they made their way back to the detached house Ianto had left a short while earlier, Jack could see the tension lift from Ianto's broad shoulders as he headed into the backyard where he could hear soft music playing.
Making sure to stay out of sight, Jack looked over the fence into the beautiful garden. The flowers in the beds framing the immaculate lawn were almost completely closed, ready for the long night ahead. It wasn't raining any more but there was a slight smell of damp dew coming from the green stems underneath Ianto's feet as Jack watched him cross the lawn.
A dim light illuminated the conservatory and Ianto stepped through the open door and kicked his shoes to the side. The door closed behind him and the music ceased, leaving the garden and Jack in silence.
The Captain's brow furrowed when he saw someone step up to Ianto, running two hands around his waist and up his back, to burrow in his slightly damp hair. The new comer said something that made Ianto laugh but Jack would tell what the words were, lip reading had never been a skill he was particularly good at.
A small band of silver flashed in the moonlight and the tiny bit of jealousy he was already feeling intensified when Jack realised that the man was wearing a wedding band. Ianto's left hand had remained in his pocket the entire time he had been walking, but Jack knew then that there would be a matching band on his former lover's ring finger.
He watched as Ianto took the man's hand in his and led him out of the conservatory into the main house, flicking the light out as they went. Leaving the garden and Jack to be illuminated by nothing but the first slivers of moonlight falling from the large celestial body in the sky.
Jack had spent the entire night standing across the street, his blue eyes trained on the house in front of him. Even if he had needed to sleep, he knew he wouldn't have been able to. His mind was running through the thousand and one questions he had for Ianto.
How long had he been gone? When had Ianto got married? Was he good enough for the Welshman? What had happened to the rest of his team?
The sun was just beginning to rise over the horizon when the blue door opened and the stranger stepped out of the house. Ianto was just behind him, carrying a briefcase in his hand. Jack didn't move from where he was leaning on the railing, his back to the water behind him. He wanted to be seen by Ianto, it would make their reintroduction easier.
The blond man grinned and Ianto kissed him softly on the lips as he handed him the brief case. When he tried to deepen the kiss, Ianto pulled away shaking his head and laughing. Jack could hear Ianto's voice saying something, but the words weren't audible from such a distance. He could only hear the rich tones of the accent that belonged to the man he'd fallen in love with so many years ago.
It wasn't long before the happy couple parted ways, the blond getting into a shiny silver car and driving away, while Ianto zipped his coat up and headed in the opposite direction.
Jack immediately pushed himself away from the railing behind him and followed Ianto. The younger man seemed to enjoy walking great distances, Jack thought to himself as he trailed him up winding roads to a set of large iron gates.
It was only when he had slipped past these gates that Ianto acknowledged Jack's presence. "You didn't have to follow me, you know?" he whispered. His voice was so quiet that Jack barely noticed he had said something. "I would have seen you eventually."
Jack didn't speak as he took a few steps around Ianto, turning his body so he was stood between Ianto and object in front of him. "I'm sorry it took so long for me to come back."
Ianto choked on a laugh and Jack noticed there were tears glistening in the corner of his eyes. "Ten years," he whispered, looking up at the bright sky above him; so different from the previous day.
Below them waves crashed against the cliff's face and Jack had the awful fear that one of them would get high enough to knock them into the ocean below. "It's been ten years, Jack."
He lowered his head, tears filling his own blue eyes as he felt his heartbreak from the emotion in Ianto's voice. "I'm sorry," he repeated, wanting to reach out and touch Ianto. Instead he put his hands in his pockets, he didn't want to push the boundaries between them now. "You look like you've done well for yourself."
He had only meant the large house, fancy car and even fancier suits, but it came out more bitterly than he intended.
Ianto half-laughed, half-sobbed and shook his head. "After you left there wasn't a Torchwood anymore. They rebuilt Torchwood One, you know? Even offered me another job with them. But I couldn't do that… not after what happened the first time." He roughly brushed away some tears.
"What happened to the rest of the team?"
"Gwen finally got married to Rhys." He smiled fondly at the memory of interrupting the happy couple's dance and the uncomfortable look on Rhys' face when he thought Ianto was going to dance with him. Followed by the immediate look of relief when he swept Gwen into his arms. That dance had been worth the bruised toes just for that one look.
"They had a kid a few years ago… She'll be five this autumn. She's definitely got her mother's temper; she's so stubborn."
As a large gust of wind swirled around them, Jack smiled at the thought of a miniature Gwen Cooper running around. He shook his head and mentally corrected himself; after all, it was Gwen Williams now, wasn't it?
Ianto was talking again and Jack had to force himself to focus on the words. "Tosh moved away from Cardiff after that. Not that I blame her, losing someone you love is never an easy thing to deal with. All of us unanimously agreed that he should be buried properly. None of the whole Torchwood secrecy bullshit that happened when one of the team died."
"It wasn't a big ceremony, just the three of us really. It's not like his parents would have come, even if we had known where to contact them. I think Owen would have wanted us to tell them actually, if for no other reason than to tell them he would be waiting for them in hell."
Jack's hand immediately flew up to cover his mouth when he realised what Ianto was talking about. Owen was dead? He had died while Jack had been away? That thought alone almost Jack to his knees with pain, but Ianto was talking once more and he forced himself to focus again.
"We sealed the Hub and closed the tourist office. I know you were there last night, that building was built to cover the entrance. It's an energy company now. The man you saw yesterday – Brad – he owns the place and makes sure no one figures out what it's being used to hide."
Jack bit his lip and asked what had happened to all the aliens and devices they had confiscated over the years.
"After that creature – that thing, we never did find out what it was – devoured your immortality, it realised it couldn't cope with having that much life inside it. The explosion all but destroyed the Hub. We were watching from the tourist office like you told us – ordered us to and when the CCTV powered back up everything living thing inside the Hub was dead. The creature, weevils, plants and…" Jack took a deep breath in, knowing deep inside what was coming next, "you."
The back of his legs hit something as he stood a step back and Jack span around, reading the words engraved on the stone protruding from the ground. There were flecks of moss covering most of the surrounding stones but the headstone bearing his name was immaculate and maintained.
"Brad helped me through the pain of losing you," Ianto's voice cracked and Jack hated himself for causing the other man so much pain. "He used to work for Torchwood One, you know? He transferred to Glasgow after the battle. When word got around that the Hub had been destroyed, they sent him down here to investigate."
The corners of Ianto's mouth turned up in a sad and dreamy smile. "He was here for about a year and by the time either of us realised he hadn't left after the initial clean up finished, we were both too in love to care." He laughed and raked a hand through his hair. "Oh god, that sounds like a bad line from a cheesy love ballad but it's true. He's… well not perfect, but he's as close as any real person can get."
Over his shoulder Jack saw the gates to the cemetery open. Whether Ianto heard the creaking of the rusty gates or saw Jack's gaze shift, he didn't know. All he did know was that when Ianto saw the man – Brad, Jack mentally corrected himself. His husband – enter the cemetery, the smile almost spilt his face in two.
"I'm not sorry I met someone else, Jack," Ianto whispered as Brad slowly made his way down the path towards them. "He's good for me and I know he needs me too. But I am sorry you can't be here to see how much we miss you. Gwen's said that Rhys is insisting their next child has Jack as middle name. I just hope they have a boy because that would be embarrassing. You've probably seen her already, she said she was going to come up here something. It's ten years this week," he whispered, looking up when he felt Brad's hands on his shoulders.
"I know," the other man whispered, pressing his lips against Ianto's dark hair. Jack frowned, trying to place his accent. It wasn't Welsh and it definitely wasn't a London accent, which he had been expecting. It sounded somewhat like a Yorkshire accent, he thought. Either way it sounded strange to hear for someone who had been so used to Welsh voices for most of his long life.
Jack watched as a small child pushed their way between the two lovers and glared up at Ianto, his hands on his hips and his lips pursed in a pout. "What are we doing here, daddy?" he demanded.
Ianto quickly wiped away any remaining tears and bent down to pick the child up. He couldn't have been any more than five years old and the resemblance to Ianto was so obvious as he leant his head on his father's shoulder.
"Just visiting a friend," Ianto whispered, placing a kiss on the child's forehead.
Brad pointed at the stone and the boy lifted his head, trying to sound out the words on the stone. "Ca-pt-ain Jack Har-ken-ess." As he listened to the boy struggling with his last name, Jack couldn't help laugh affectionately at the cute scene in front him. "Who's that?"
The trio turned away from the stone and began to head up the path. "That's a very, very brave man. Did I ever tell you the story of who you're named after?" The small boy shook his head and waited eagerly for his father to continue.
At the gate Ianto paused and looked back at the gravestone behind them. He had been seeing Jack's ghost for the past few days, but as they left the cemetery he could see the transparent image of his Captain beginning to slowly disappear. Although, if he focused really closely on the image he thought he could see Owen's own ghost berating Jack for taking so long to return.
"Well," Ianto began, following Brad to the car. "Captain Jack Harkness was man who could live forever and forever. You see something happened to him, a long time ago…"