Forever and Always
Disclaimer: Torchwood is not mine; I've just borrowed them
Genres: Angst, Tragedy, Hurt/Comfort
Warnings: Character death!! Set post TW Exit Wounds and DW Journey's End . . . therefore SPOILERS!! Also some references to self-harm near the end.
Summary: He shouldn't have been surprised, really; they all died in the end.
A/N I warn you now that I have a sadistic love of killing off characters, especially my favourites. I've done happy Torchwood, now it's time to go back to my roots and have a little angst. :) It's slightly dark and potentially a little out of character, but, well, he is dead, after all.
He shouldn't have been surprised, really; they all died in the end. It was the Torchwood curse, recruited young and killed just as young.
And it was this curse that found him in his office, head buried in his arms, silent and still. He was trying to block out the images of the day, but failed. He just repeated . . . and repeated . . . and repeated them over and over. Every frame, every second, every everything.
"Jack?" Gwen knocked timidly on the door to his office. "Can I come in?" Her voice was soft and her eyes red and puffy.
Jack lifted his head from his desk and looked at Gwen with impassive eyes. "I am sort of busy now," he replied flatly. He gestured to the paperwork on his desk; not that he had been doing any of it.
"I . . ." Gwen faltered, but then said strongly, "Please? You haven't come out of your office in . . ."
"I know how long it's been," Jack snapped, cutting Gwen off. Her face fell.
"Jack, talk to me." She stepped into his office. "It's not good to . . ."
He cut her off again. "I know what's good for me and what's not. You don't. So just leave it, Gwen."
"But . . ."
"No. Don't. Just go," Jack muttered, trying to ignore the tears that welled up in Gwen's eyes.
"Jack . . ."
"I mean it, Gwen!" he yelled, slamming his fist down on his desk. She flinched and actually looked a little scared of him. Tears started to fall down her face as she backed out the door and dashed down the stairs.
Jack sighed and ran a hand through his hair. He hadn't meant to make Gwen even more upset. He stood up and felt guilty for making her cry. This wasn't a time for pushing her away, if anything, it was a time to keep her close. Jack had gotten worse after Owen and Toshiko had died, even more protective of his two remaining operatives.
But it hadn't helped Ianto. He was lying in Martha's morgue, now.
Jack lashed out and slammed his fist against the wall. It hurt, but he didn't care (you could even say he rather liked it). He shook his hand, and repeated the action for good measure. It broke the skin, but again, the physical pain was better than the heartache he felt inside.
He stumbled over to the glass window of his office, intending to apologise to Gwen. But he stopped at the door as he saw Gwen and Martha and Mickey huddled in a little group. Jack could see that Gwen was crying. Martha had her arms around the girl and Mickey was looking absolutely bewildered, as if he didn't know whether he should cry with the girls or remain strong and stoic.
Jack took a step back and turned back to his desk. His three operatives seemed so close at that particular moment, and Jack was feeling like he was a third wheel. Like he didn't belong . . . he had always belonged with Ianto.
"Damn it, Ianto," he whispered to himself, never quite making it back to his desk and instead sliding down the front of it and coming to a rest on the floor. "Bloody hell."
He drew his knees to his chest and rested his head on top. It shouldn't have been Ianto.
It should have been him.
It really, really should have been him.
He was the only one that could survive the Torchwood curse. He was stuck in an endless and vicious cycle of life and death, death and life.
Always jolting back into existence, if it was existence (and after this, he didn't know if he wanted to exist anymore). After all, he shouldn't exist . . . a man that could never die. He knew he was wrong. He had accepted the fact that he was wrong, A fixed point in time that should never exist.
He knew that.
But it was Ianto that had shown him that maybe he was right, and not wrong. Right to live and breathe and love. When he'd been with Ianto, it had been so right, so incredibly right and for one shining the moment, he had forgotten that he was wrong.
Now Ianto was gone and he was back to being wrong. Everything felt so wrong and all Jack wanted was to feel right again, even just for a split second. A brief, tiny second was all that he need to feel right again. A second with Ianto that he knew he could never have again.
It should have been him.
"Jack?" This time, Martha was the one at his door. She didn't bother to ask for permission to enter, she just did.
"Go away, Martha," Jack murmured from his spot on the floor.
"And leave you like this? I think not," Martha replied bossily and joined him on the floor. She paused. "It's not very comfy."
"Then leave," Jack snapped and Martha sighed.
"No, Jack, I am not going anywhere." She put a hand on his shoulder. "You really scared Gwen out there, you know."
"I know and I'm sorry. I didn't mean it."
"We know that, Jack," Martha replied softly. "But you're not the only one who's hurting. Gwen. Mickey. Me. We've been here two years, Jack, in case you've forgotten. Gwen longer. Ianto is-was our friend too."
"He was more than a friend," Jack replied, muffled.
"I know," she sighed. "God, I know." Martha started to trace patterns along Jack's arm.
"You've gotta talk to one of us," Martha tried, running her fingers along the outside of Jack's arm. There was nothing sexual about the action, just close comfort and friendship.
Jack shook his head. "You guys have enough to deal with; you don't need me adding to it."
"But you are adding to it," Martha replied quickly. "Gwen can't stop crying. Every time she looks in your direction she bursts into tears. Mickey . . . Mickey's lost, Jack. He doesn't know what he should be doing or saying. He feels even more out of place than ever."
"What about you?" Jack lifted his head and looked into Martha's worn and tired eyes.
She shrugged and put on an impassive face. "I'm fine."
"Liar." Jack lightly punched her shoulder, causing her fingers to fall away. "I know you, Martha Jones, and you're lying."
"It's not like I haven't seen senseless death before," she said bitterly after a moment, thinking about The Master and the Toclafane.
"Still never gets any easier, does it," Jack noted knowingly and Martha nodded.
"You're not wrong about that."
Jack offered a small smile. "I am never wrong."
Martha gave a weak chuckle. "That's more like the Jack I know and love." She smiled softly.
"How am I going to go on, Martha?" Jack sounded young and childish, and this scared Martha more than she was willing to admit.
He sounded broken and so alone, and Martha wondered whether or not Jack really could go on. Even when faced with a lifetime of death and re-death (as she had managed to coax from Tish and her mum), Jack had never given up.
Jack had always believed that she would walk the earth and save it. Jack had always believed that the Doctor would somehow make everything right again. But now, it sounded as if Jack didn't believe in anything and this broke Martha's heart.
Suddenly, Martha had flash of inspiration and so she said tentatively, "I could, you know, call the Doctor . . ." she trailed off, waiting to see Jack's reaction.
"No, absolutely not," Jack replied immediately with a dark look on his face.
"But . . ."
"I said no, Martha," Jack said angrily and stood up. He stormed over to the door.
"Jack . . ." Martha pleaded, realising she'd made a big mistake.
"No. If I even get a whiff of you considering calling him, I'll kick your arse back to UNIT before you can say 'what'. Clear?" Jack stared icily at Martha.
"Crystal," Martha replied coldly. It had just been a suggestion; one that she thought might have given Jack a little hope. "But if you want to go on ruining your life, by my guest. I just don't care any more." Martha pushed past Jack and hurried down the stairs, keeping her face hidden so he wouldn't see her tears.
Jack cursed himself. That was the second member of his team he'd managed to get offside. Although Martha had tried to hide her tears, he had seen them trickling down that beautiful face of hers.
It wasn't as though he was mad at her for suggesting it, not at all. He hated that he'd snapped at her. It was just . . . Jack knew that if the Doctor showed up with his time travelling blue box, the temptation to go back and save Ianto would be so great that he wouldn't be able to ignore it.
"Ianto . . ." He rolled the name over his tongue. "God, Ianto, why?" He received no answer and he knew he never would.
Ianto Jones had died taking a bullet for Jack Harkness, knowing full well that it would never have killed him. But he did it anyway, and now he was gone.
Later that night, Jack Harkness rolled the trolley containing Ianto Jones' body out of the vaults. He didn't bother to open the bag. The memories of Ianto he wanted were already in his head. Jack brushed his fingers over Ianto's forehead, savouring the final touch of his lover. He lingered on Ianto's lips, and then dropped to the floor.
He knew what he was doing was stupid and reckless and idiotic, but he'd done it before (not that he'd ever told anyone). Martha would have his head if she knew, so that was why he'd waited until now.
Jack rolled back the sleeve of his shirt and swiped the scalpel he'd nicked from Martha's autopsy kit. He bleed and he knew what he was doing was stupid and reckless and idiotic. But he didn't care, not really. He would always survive, he always did.
Forever and always.
But for the briefest moment, he would not be surviving and maybe, just maybe, he might get his final, brief moment with Ianto. They would both exist in the world of the dead for the shortest time. He would be right again.
It would be Jack and Ianto again.
And it wasn't as if it was suicide. You had to stay dead for it to be suicide, so Jack kept telling himself. All he was doing was giving himself a brief time out . . . an alternative to sleep.
He swiped at his other wrist and felt his eyelids go heavy. He welcomed it, because it would bring him closer to Ianto for that final time. The scalpel dropped from his hand as his eyes flickered and died. He grew still and his body ridged.
Jack was back with Ianto for that tiny flicker of time.
Ianto had smiled as he died in Jack's arms, after saving him from the bullet that never was.
So in death, Jack smiled too.