Jack poured a double measure of whisky and passed it across to David who had sunk onto the sofa in his office and buried his face in his hands. They were back at the hub now, the team were finishing up: filing the reports, putting the weapons back in the archives, finishing the notes from Lucy's autopsy. He sank to the sofa next to the other man and rested his hand on his shoulder. David looked up at him, then downed the whisky in one go and returned to staring at the now empty tumbler in his hand, "I'm sorry." Jack whispered, unable to find the right words to comfort him at a time like this.
"Not your fault." David sighed. His voice was as deadened and dull as his eyes had been when they met Jack's but his hands on the glass were still and his voice was steady. He leaned forwards and put the tumbler on the desk, then leaned back against the back of the sofa and let his head fall back against the wall, "Have you ever lost someone like that, Jack?" he asked quietly.
"Yeah." He saw their faces, men and women he'd met over the last nearly two hundred years who were now gone, some of them not even born yet, some remembered by others, some remembered only by him, some taken naturally, some not; tears threatened to choke him again but he fought them back, "Yeah, I've lost a lot over the years."
"Is that how you managed to walk away from her?" David was looking at him earnestly, needing to talk about anything but always returning to Lucy.
"No. That was just sheer determination and the fact that my brain was numbed from…" He trailed off and shook himself mentally before starting again, "It never gets any easier, and I hope it never does in the future, because our emotions make us who we are. Pain and grief, they're just as important as the good emotions, as long as you don't let them control you."
"So what do I do now?"
"Go home to Bella and Sarah." David looked surprised that he knew their names but Jack wasn't going to dwell, "Retire from UNIT, or at least from active duty. It's hard, once you've known this life it's almost impossible to let it go, but it's too dangerous when you've got two children depending on you."
"We should have retired years ago, as soon as Bella was born. We knew the dangers but…" He smiled grimly, "Like you say, it gets its hooks into you and never lets go. I think it's let go now though, I don't want to see another alien ever again."
Jack squeezed his arm, "Whatever happens, we'll always be here for you, you're part of the family now. And we really don't let go."
The atmosphere in the hub was subdued; they hadn't known Lucy long, but she'd fitted and then she was gone. It was always hard to lose someone, especially one of their own. The fact that they'd known her for such a short space of time, the people she'd left behind and the fact that, in the end, she was the only victim, made it all worse. Gwen had left to be with Rhys as soon as she could but the others had stayed; this was home, this was their family, so at a time like this they had nowhere else to go.
Ianto passed out the drinks from his tray, knowing without having to ask exactly how they took their coffees. The technician and the doctor accepted them with muted thanks and looked at each other gloomily as Ianto moved on to the captain's office where the next two mugs were accepted silently but with a tired smile from Jack. Ianto made his escape hurriedly and went to drink his own coffee perched on the edge of Gwen's desk.
Owen stared into his mug, "We have to remember." The other two just nodded in silent agreement, "We keep them down in the vaults, because we have to, but we need to remember them in some way. I don't even know who's down there in some cases, it shouldn't be like that."
"I know every name, every cause of death, every age…" Ianto sighed, "And Jack knows all their personalities I expect. He remembers, we can't let him remember alone any more."
"Torchwood's family," Tosh agreed, "From now on, we carry the burdens together."
"All of them."
David seemed to have come to some sort of conclusion or decision, because he nodded almost imperceptibly and then stood up to look down at Jack. "At UNIT HQ there's a graveyard. Someone will come to collect her in the morning, but now I've got two daughters who need me. Responsibility Jack, sometimes we take on too many."
The immortal also stood and saluted him, then pulled him into a hug, "Whatever happens, you have a home here. Remember that."
We're there, it's the end. Thankyou so much for all your reviews, they've been brilliant and always cheer me up and on to the next chapter. Sorry for the slow finish, I knew what I wanted to happen, whih is always hard to write lol.
I've just added a one shot and a full blown fic to my list so I've got enough to keep me going for a while
And a disclaimer, because I never do them: All characters and locations apart from Lucy and David are the property of the BBC and will be returned in their original condition now I have finished with them.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you THE END