I haven't written anything for so long due to holiday and school and stuff so I think I'm a little rusty. Hopefully this isn't too long, I just couldn't finish it off properly. Please review!

It wasn't like they grew apart. They couldn't grow apart because they weren't together in the first place.

Ianto knew that whenever Jack was out he would be flirting with, shagging or simply just watching everyone he met.

Jack knew Ianto knew but what bothered Ianto was how little he cared.

Did he not…could he not understand that in the 21st century you were supposed to have respect for your partner? Not that Ianto counted himself as Jack's partner.

No-one could be Jack Harkness' partner. The term implied a relationship.

Jack even flirted with Gwen, for Christ sake. He didn't even consider that this might harm Ianto and Gwen's work relationship.

Actually though, it hadn't. Ianto and Gwen understood each other perfectly-the tormented longing for Jack combined with the knowledge that he'd never be theirs.

Rhys almost made up for it, to Gwen. She loved him.

Ianto loved nobody. He didn't really love Jack. He longed for him, for the feeling of them inside each other that no-one else could give…but realistically, he knew love wasn't the right word.

He didn't have family to love either. Even Owen had a sister he could love.

When it came right down to it, he loved nobody and nobody loved him.

Not any more. Not since Lisa.

Lisa. Her name is tainted with longing, even now. She loved him.

They were going to get married.

He'd have had it all.

All he had were his friends. And friends were great but they weren't family. They didn't fill the gap.

Gwen understood that too. She knew exactly what he meant because she'd felt that way too, once.

She was a shoulder to cry on, someone to talk to. They didn't get jealous about each others relationship with Jack…because they knew that Jack wouldn't understand why they were jealous. If Ianto tried to explain why he couldn't flirt with two people in the same room Jack wouldn't get it.

"The 51st century must be fun…" Ianto mused gloomily.

"One day you'll find someone who understands, Ianto. Someone who loves you back."

"I don't love Jack."

"I know."

"I still love Lisa."

"I know."

"I'll never be able to move on until I love again. And that's not going to happen in this job."

"What are you saying?" she was confused. Was he going to kill himself?

"Torchwood shouldn't be my life. Jack shouldn't control every bloody thing I do. I'm going to quit." He was feverish and excited, his eyes glimmering madly.

"I-are you-I'll-" Gwen was getting flustered. "I don't know what to say."

"Life without love isn't life for me, Gwen. This will never work."

"I'll miss you." She regretted.

"I won't let Jack retcon me. He can trust me. I'll visit you three."


Ianto smiled bitterly. "I bet by the first week, Jack'll have forgotten about me. He'll have moved on."

"I think he does care, Ianto."

"Caring isn't loving. This is right, Gwen. Please understand that." He begged. "Torchwood 1 was horrible, but it let me have a life. Now Lisa isn't here, I have nothing here. Friends but no family."

She smiled and leaned forwards, kissed him gently on the lips. "Friends can't be family but they can still love you. Go safe, Ianto. Try and have a life." That was Gwen-if she knew you wanted something, she would never try to stop you.

"I won't forget you. It's just time to move on."

"What are you going to do?"

"Hunt for the good aliens. The wonderful things that we never get to see." He got up and headed out of the door. "I'll see you!" he called. She nodded, her eyes brimming with tears even though she knew this was what her friend wanted.

Jack heard him call, as he sat in his office sorting through scrappy bits of paper with girl's numbers on, photos and some letters he felt sure were probably important. He smiled sadly at the sound of Ianto's voice. He had known this would happen.

He knew why Ianto had left and he wished him all the luck in the world. He wouldn't hunt Ianto down. He trusted him enough for that.

He hoped Ianto would find a family, someone to love and be loved by.

He sighed and turned back to the phone numbers. Charlotte. She was cute, blond and bubbly…he'd see her tonight.

He didn't need family. Friends and lovers were enough. But not for Ianto.

Some people need love to keep them going, and Jack Harkness just wasn't the man for that.

He would keep in touch with Ianto, as friends. Torchwood might not rule his life anymore but it might sometimes visit.

Maybe Ianto could go freelance. Occasionally visit Torchwood when they needed something in the archive or something…

Humming, he dialled Ianto's number. "Hey, no, don't argue, I just have a proposition for you…yeah, not regularly…yeah…no, I knew…hmm? Oh, magic…I'm just good at people's characters…yeah…good luck then, bye. Bye."

He called the others for a meeting. With Ianto working freelance, things would be different…

Hey. They needed a change. Spruce them up a little…oh, damn, I need someone to do the paperwork…

And so life goes.