TITLE: Seasons of Life
AUTHOR: Erin Giles
DISCLAIMER: Torchwood and it's characters are property of the BBC.
WORDS: 525
SUMMARY: Post Exit-Wounds. How does a timeless man measure life?
CHALLENGE: And summer isn't a time. It's a place as well. Summer is a moving creature and likes to go south for the winter. - Terry Pratchett, Feet of Clay

Nothing lasts. Jack knew that as well as the next immortal man.

525600 minutes. 365 days. 12 months. Was that how he measured the passage of time? Or did he measure it in seasons? If so felt like he was suddenly the goose left behind while everyone else had flown south for the winter.

Did he measure it in the dawning of each day, savouring every moment? Did he measure it in the end of one more day, another day survived? Did he measure it in every midnight past while he was still awake, fighting the good fight?

He felt like he could measure the last couple of years in cups of coffee. Every day tasted different, and every sip was wonderful. Every cup was unique in it's own way. Some tasted of grief, each sip leaving a bitter taste in the back of his throat. Some tasted of love, every gulp more wonderful than the last and he couldn't get enough of that burning desire in the pit of his stomach.

Was that how he measured his life? In loves lost? Was his immortal life really that depressing that he seemed to hopscotch from one person to the next without a backward glance?

He watched his summer setting in the sun across the bay, trying to wrap himself in the last vestiges of the warmth, trying desperately to cling onto it. He felt the sharp chill of winter curling round him, pulling him into it's frozen clutches. He felt like his heart was encased in a block of ice now, too thick to ever be cracked again.

"Jack?" He felt the familiar Welsh vowels next to his ear rather than heard them and when he turned a tentative smile and bloodshot eyes met his gaze.

"Come on, come home with me."

A hand slipped into his, tugging slightly. It was warm and comforting and heavy and felt right holding his. He tried not to think about the day he would lose that warmth, the day it would slip away forever in the wake of summer months.

He let himself be led away from the railings, trudging up through the deserted Plass in the direction of a flat he new was warm and welcoming. He noted it still smelled of summer as they stepped over the threshold. He could smell summer rain and freshly mown grass lingering in the folds of the sofa as he sat down, sinking back into the cushions without thought. He smelt the summer breeze in the cotton of the shirt he now pressed his face into, sobbing profusely.

Even though outside leaves fell from trees and birds disappeared from the skies, heralding the start of a long winter, he knew that here in the cushions of Ianto's couch, his head nestled in the crook of Ianto's shoulder was his summer. It didn't matter that grief weighed heavy in his heart at recent loss, he could feel the ice round his heart melting as he let himself go. And although summer was flying south for the winter, Jack had this moment. Just like every other moment that made up his life.