Captain John Hart was the sort of man that left an impact on the world wherever he went—and even more of an impact upon the people he met. And until the day she died, Gwen would never forget the impact he had had upon Torchwood Cardiff.
She would never lose the image of Toshiko, smiling and blushing lightly when they first met, or the way Ianto's cheeks would flame up in anger whenever John mockingly called him "Eye Candy." And she would never forget her astonishment when Jack let him go after all he had done, after almost killing them all, after almost killing her. She had felt wounded, hadn't understood how Jack could make her feel so worthless, so disposable by letting her would-be murderer escape.
It wasn't until John left the second time that she understood that it wasn't that she or the others meant were worthless at all, it was just that John meant… too much.
She understood now that she and the others were not disposable to Jack, and that was what hurt him most of all. She could see it in his tears as he packed Owen's things for the last time and the broken way he had cradled Tosh's corpse—she could feel his soul calling, this is what it truly means to live forever.
All of the people on Earth would die, either through old age or other means. And Jack would never die from either. And his pain at losing the people he grew close to would never lessen in time, never end.
So Jack needed John out there, needed to know John was hovering out there somewhere beyond space and time. And that John had looked for Jack's brother on his travels, even years later, and had come back to rescue Jack, cleverly leaving a tracer on him to find him thousands of years in the future… it all showed her that John needed to know Jack was out there too.
It wasn't until he left the second time that she realized her most volatile memory of him had been replaced. It had been John, pulling her violently close, giving her the kiss of death, and leaving her, paralyzed and terrified, to die. And now it was the image of him, the sound of him as he tore free his wristband, which had been molecularly welded to his skin, laughing maniacally through his pain as his burned and charred skin was revealed and tore and bled, laughing as insanely as she had only ever seen Jack do on the occasions he was horribly injured, yet not to the point of death. Left living and feeling, for the pain to ease, to heal over, laughing all the way.
Long after he had gone, she would recall the image of John's insane laughter and realize that Jack would never ever belong to her, nor to anybody else, because John and he were the same. They were the same and that was why Jack let him go, and would again and again. Because to kill John would make Jack alone, leave him without anybody else in the world to understand him, and that thought was terrifying.
And as she watched John leave Torchwood Cardiff once more, she knew he would be back. Back to Torchwood, back to Jack, because in all of history there would never be another person who could understand Jack the way that John did, and no one who would ever understand John that same way.
They were bound together, bound tighter than the wristband had been bonded to John's unwelcoming arm. Theirs was a crazy love, an illogical love that transcended time and reason, and the only thing not sure about his eventual return for that love was if she would still be around to see it.
Just saw the episode 'Exit Wounds' and felt like crying my eyes out over Tosh and Owen, so I think my mind tried to redeem it for with plotbunnies spun from the fact one of my favorite actors, James Marsters, was in Torchwood and in love with Jack. Hope you enjoyed, even just a little :)