Jack awoke slowly the next morning, his head heavy and his eyes fuzzy as he attempted not to wake Ianto as he got up. He pulled on his clothes, as quietly as he could, rubbing his eyes, and taking the time to take in the sight of Ianto for what could be the last time. He pressed a kiss to his forehead, before sneaking out of the room and heading for the sitting room.
There he found a piece of parchment and a quill, and quickly wrote Ianto a note.
I'm so sorry. Words cannot describe how much I hate myself for doing this to you. To us, but I have to. I will never forget you, everything I see will somehow remind me of you, no matter where I am.
You have shown me so much, how to live, how to love, how to be truly happy, and I will be forever in debt to you for that. You are truly beautiful, inside and out, and I will never stop loving you.
Perhaps our paths will cross some day, perhaps not, but whatever happens I wish you a lifetime of happiness Ianto Jones, because you deserve it.
A small salty tear landed on the paper, leaving a circular blotch and wrinkling the off white material.
And then he was gone.
Jack strolled the streets, dressed in his best suit, his briefcase in hand. The sky above was dull and heavy with clouds as he headed to the pub after a hard day at work in his shop. It was crowded and clammy as usual, as he ordered his pint and took a seat on one of the limited barstools. He took a moment to browse the bars customers this overcast April evening. All he could see was the usual, exhausted businessmen, already half way along the path to being drunk. He wouldn't want to be the wife when they tumbled in past midnight.
He took a moment to think as he sipped his pint, reminiscing over his time in London. He had surprised even himself at how successful he had been, of course it had taken years, and had caused many a grey hair to form in his formerly perfect mop of dark brown hair. It had taken long hours and his fair share of stress, but now as a man in his late fifties, Jack could finally say he was happy with his life. Well, almost.
Ever since he had moved here, spending his nights in a stuffy, pathetic excuse for a flat, perched right above his shop, selling sweets to an endless stream of children and cigarettes to the fathers of those children, something had been missing, and he knew exactly what - or rather who - it was. But he never could bring himself to think about it too much.
It was strange, he thought, almost thirsty years ago he had left Ianto, and he chose tonight to reflect. He pushed the confused, rambling thoughts to the back of his head, drinking in the sound of chatter and merriment, along with his pint.
Soon, he was finished, and found the noise was suddenly more irritating than soothing, as it had originally been, so he got to his feet, pushing the squeaky oak door open and bracing the brutal wind, the extreme weather biting at his cheeks, as he continued on his path back to the shop, and subsequently his flat, retracing his earlier steps. He was aware of the shady characters looming in the dark corners of the street, but he was also aware of the fact that he could protect himself if a situation should ever arise, so continued on his way.
He pulled his jacket tight around him, hanging his head, guarding his face from the cold.
It didn't take long until he bumped into someone.
"Oh! I'm so sorry, sir."
"No, no problem. It was my fault as well." He looked up, and had to blink for a few seconds to assure himself he wasn't actually dreaming.
"Ianto?! Is that you?"
The flash of recognition immediately flashed through Ianto's eyes, and he grabbed Jack, pulling him into a tight hug, overwhelmed by emotion as he was reunited with his lover after three long decades.
Jack pulled back, and seeing as they were in an alleyway, he took a risk. Glancing about one last time, he pressed his lips to Ianto's, meeting no resistance as he slipped his tongue into Ianto's welcoming mouth.
They eventually pulled apart, and Ianto chuckled, so overwhelmed by the situation that his gut instinct told him to laugh, and bury his head in Jack's shoulder.
"God, I missed you."
Jack had led Ianto back to his tiny flat, and on his even tinier bed they had made love for hours, unable to tear themselves away from the other. It was now the small hours of the morning, and they lay packed tightly under Jack's thin duvet, causing the mattress to creak every time they moved. Ianto had been used to luxury his entire life, and he certainly wasn't used to this, but he realised that none of that mattered, now he had Jack's arms wound protectively around him, and they were indulging in numerous loving kisses.
"So, what brings you to London?"
Ianto didn't so much as shift from his position as he answered.
"Well, as far as family are concerned, I'm visiting old school friends. But, truthfully, I've been here for days, searching for you. You mentioned London a few times, but it was always such a daunting task actually coming to look for you, that's why it took me thirty years to actually work up the courage. I figured it was too big a place. But, lo and behold I actually found you. Oh, and I realised that one of the other reasons that was always holding me back, didn't matter anymore."
"Yeah? And what would that be?"
"Elizabeth. I had never loved her, but now she's decided she no longer loves me, and her affection is now being focused on another gentleman."
Ianto brought Jack's hand up to his lips, kissing every knuckle and fingertip, smiling against the skin.
"Yes, so now, whether I'm still technically married or not, I'm free. Free to be with who I love."
"Not in this country Ianto. We'll never be free to love each other here."
Ianto nuzzled into Jack's chest further, making a small moaning sound. "We're not thinking like that Jack."
"No, let me finish my point. Not in this country. But I have heard tell from one of my customers - a young gentlemen, who I am certain is having relations with a man, but that is far from the point - that in some countries, homosexuals are free to love each other. He told me of one country in particular. It had a strange name - Denmark. Ever since that day, I have been saving up a large sum of money in the hope that one day we would be reunited, and we could live in this mysterious country freely."
Ianto had so many doubts, which he voiced openly - they didn't speak the language, they knew no one there, and it would be difficult to find work, not to mention what he would tell his family, among a long list of over concerns. But Jack silenced him, kissing him one last time, and telling him that all of his worries would pale in significance when he experienced the joy of being able to love each other openly.
Ianto agreed, for the time being, kissing Jack goodnight, leaving all of his problems for the morning and drifting into a peaceful sleep, aided by the sound of the faint pitter-patter of rain on the window and the wind howling in the tatty curtains.
AN: Hope you enjoyed! Not sure if I'm entirely happy with this final chapter, but fingers crossed you liked it. Xx