Ianto Jones died the way all good Torchwood employees died in those days- messily, in the line of duty, and fighting every step of the way. Electrocution was what finished him in the end, although the autopsy revealed internal injuries that would have likely killed him anyway. His blood colored the floor of the archives a rusty color where he fell, the stain punctuated by scorch marks. There was a blue-green patch down the hall from where Gwen had nailed the bastard. No one bothered to clean up either spill.

Martha took care of the medical aspects. Gwen took care of the paperwork. Jack handled the bodies.

Then they began to move on. After all, the end is where they start from.

It happened thirty-three days after Ianto's death. It happened on the tail end of a bad week that began with John Hart's arrival and involved numerous explosions (including one which claimed his desk) and ended with John Hart's death.

The guy he hooked up with was an Asian man of a tall slender sort of build. He was bigger around than Ianto had been, but shorter and lacked technique. But, still, he was considerate enough to reach around and jerk him off, and the physical relief was all he was looking for.

Sixty-four days of Starbucks later, Damian, the kid they'd hired to replace Mickey, who they'd hired to replace Tosh, figured out how to operate the coffee machine. It tasted different than Ianto's coffee, but it was still better than anything Earth machines could brew at the time. It took a while for everyone to acknowledge this fact, but it wasn't long before the jokes return; how his coffee could cause spontaneous orgasms, how it was responsible for many last-minute rescues, how it may possibly bring world peace.

Privately, Jack still preferred Ianto's brew, and he could tell Gwen and Martha felt the same. But it didn't matter, because it kept them going and that was enough.

She had blonde hair and too much eye make-up. She wore a leather jacket and spoke with a Northern accent. Her name was Krissy Morrison and after almost a year of missed deadlines and faulty paperwork, she's who he hired to take care of admin.

She was easily the most organized person he'd ever met, and yes, that does extend to include Ianto. She handed him files before it ever occurred to him that he'd need them, always had food out and waiting for the team when they return, and worked out the entire system of maternity/paternity leave for Torchwood when Gwen becomes pregnant. She had a girlfriend and a boyfriend, and the three of them lived together in a flat three miles to the west of the Plass. She was efficient, quite, and calm, and he couldn't begin to let her know how much she was needed.

But he came close, once, when he found her working late last night, cleaning up the stain in the 1977 section of the archives no one had the stomach to explain to her. When he merely nodded in acknowledgement and made his way back to his office.

After Martha's son was held hostage, she'd left Torchwood, the first in its long and blood stained history to walk away voluntarily from its walls without a cautionary dose of retcon waiting for her. The man he hired to replace her was called Nelson Oshodi, a big, dark man with wide hands and a flippant attitude. He took to calling Jack 'mon capitan' and giving him one-fingered salutes; within weeks they were playing all sorts of fun games after hours with needles and lab coats. They weren't lovers, but they were friends, which was a relief because with Martha gone and Damian busy being the fourth member of Krissy's relationship, there was only so much time he could spend with Gwen before she started shooting him worried looks.

He hates her worried looks. Especially since they were often warranted. And, also, the sex was fantastic.

On the tenth anniversary of Ianto's death, Jack finds himself in the morgue. That's how he could tell that something was wrong; when he opened Ianto's bag and watched his corpse's sightless eyes flutter open and hear the rattling moan from his throat.

He found Nelson locked in the medical bay, not that the locks could really stop him. There were words; he'd needed to do this, needed to find a way around death, needed to save his niece, he claimed. He begged to be allowed to continue; he called him a monster when he refused. Jack destroyed the machine and left Nelson alone with the pieces. He went to put down the corpses again before they could do much damage.

Not since Lisa had he felt so betrayed.

The twenty-first century was when everything changed, and the twenty-second is bold and brash because of it. The offer to find a can of Mace when he first propositioned her is the new version of a gentle reminder of the concept of sexual harassment. He'd be lying if he said that it isn't that line which drew him in.

Her name is Mryganka Kinariwalla, and she is the head of India's version of Torchwood. She'd been working on interstellar travel when they'd met, and now two years later he finds himself finding excuses to be with her, finding ways to make her smile, wanting to hold her close and protect her from everything the world is and will be, driving himself with worry about things he'd feared long since buried.

He loves her.

She's not Ianto, in the same way that Ianto wasn't Estelle. There will always be a part of him reserved solely for frantic kisses in bomb shelters and fairy tales, even as there will always be a place for Welsh vowels and stopwatches. But for now, Mryganka fills the rest up with her demands for stories and her love of engineering and her almond-smelling hair.

Sometimes he wants to tell her; about the Doctor, about Estelle, about Ianto, about how he came to be involved in Torchwood, why he moved out here. He wants to relive how proud he was when Gwen retired, actual, honest-to-god 'I'm just too plain old for this job' retired. He wants her to know that somewhere in Cardiff a boy called Ianto Milligan, fresh out of university, just learned about his namesake.

But this is his life now, and he's going to spend it with her. Because someday, hopefully someday long in the future when many, many wrinkles have had a chance to fold themselves into her skin, she'll die. He imagines, morbidly, sometimes, that when she does she'll join Ianto and Estelle Since it's all in his head, he also sometimes adds the Doctor and John, after their own non-linear time has come, and Rose, her place in an alternate one not providing nearly enough distance to escape from death. They'll compare adventures and conspire about his quirks as they watch him go about living, as he must do.

He had a life in Cardiff, with Ianto, and it had been a good one. He has one now in Chennai with Mryganka, and he won't let either the ghosts of his past or the inevitability of his future stop him from making it every bit as wondrous.