Rating: PG-13 (T)
Disclaimer: I don't own them, I don't profit. They belong to the BBC.
Spoilers: Last of the Time Lords (Doctor Who), Fragments, Small Worlds, Adam, End of Days (tiny), Cyberwoman (tiny), Twilight Streets (novel; tiny)
A/N: A big thank you to my betas, kel_reiley and used_songs, and to kilawater for services rendered. Originally an entry for consci_fan_mo over at LJ.

--

and it's you

Strange that he should turn to thoughts of Ianto for comfort. He could delude himself and say he hadn't yet thought of the young man who'd been his lover, his faithful servant, his Judas all those months before, but he'd be lying. He'd thought of Ianto for distraction, for the pleasure that this sensory deprivation cheated him of, for humour -- but never before for solace.

Strange, because he had been comfort so often, before. Maybe when he went back, when all this was behind them, when -- if... no, when -- time was reset/rewound as the Doctor had whispered it could be, he should try to see Ianto. Maybe there was something to him, that made Jack turn to memories of coffee, of hands on his shoulders as he slipped into his coat, of letters put in his in-tray every morning, and lunch orders that always included his favourite foods.

(Food sounded good right now. This week was a bit low on essentials like food.)

and it's May

Time had no meaning when you were strung up, strung out, dying and ignored. A vague reference to what month it was and Jack found himself clinging to that scrap of knowledge. The quiet month, he now knew, was May, a month marked more by absences and lacks of something than by pain, death, torture, or -- the sour taste was back in his mouth.

May, the time of year Estelle had loved, saying it was the true embodiment of spring. May, Greg's birth month, the actual date spent with his family, but always made up for later. May, the month of the first sunshine on Cardiff, girls tentatively wearing short skirts and trying for a tan at the Bay side. He could almost taste the salt in the air, the soft breeze that would carry the first warm approach of summer as he'd stroll across the Plass.

and we're sleeping through the day

Boeshane, sleeping on the beach in the afternoon because its sun had no dangerous radiation that could burn skin. Family picnics, stretching out and staring at the yellow skies, playing word games with Gray under the watchful eye of their mother until either or both of them fell asleep.

His arms were permanently numb now, just like he'd fallen asleep on them staring at the endless skies, but they would be okay once he moved them down. Pins and needles, yes -- the penance for falling asleep during the day, his father would tease -- muscle aches would follow maybe, but he'd weathered worse. He'd be okay, at the end of this. At the beginning. (Maybe.)

and I'm five years ago

Suzie and he, renegades against the tide. Freelancers or temporary staff from Torchwood One, or even that slightly druggy kid from Two, couldn't hold a candle to the two of them. He'd loved training his own staff, heard a whisper of a tech who could have been of use had she not been a traitor. Ah, Tosh... Bright eyes behind her glasses and intelligence behind her quiet tones. Owen, later, pain and pain and loss and loss, but sharp in so many ways.

(He didn't know where any of them were, dead or alive, and he supposed not-knowing was better than knowing, in the moment.)

Gwen, beautiful-- how he needed her now. Her touch, smile, scent, eyes... He loved her still and never would stop. Like Suzie, she was, and would be, too, if he took her into his bed as well. His chest ached, and it wasn't from the pneumonia that was slowly filling his lungs.

and three thousand miles away

He was floating with the pain. A new discovery, that there was a threshold of pain he could cross and then he would not feel; it was a liberating but temporary refuge. Nausea, muscle spasms, burning lungs, the icy cold fingers of blood loss, it was all waiting for him when he would be returned to his body.

His days of dying were over; he was left hovering on the precipice now. No easy escape, he said, no quick fix, no get out of jail free card. (He was grinning at that one, as if to show off having picked up the local lingo. Jack had scoffed. Well, he'd scoffed in his head, the only place he could scoff, that time.)

This out of body experience would last only until the healing kicked in. He tried to control his thoughts during this brief respite, keep his mind from the places that would only hurt. He drifted. Gwen's smile, always a distraction and a fascination. Greg's cheekbones, the feel of smooth skin under his lips on a sunny Cardiff morning. The Doctor holding a banana, laughing at him. Owen's snark, the instant comedy provided by his morning coffee demands and Ianto's sarcastic replies. Ianto-- Suzie, the first time she kicked weevil butt and jumped bodily into his arms in celebration. Alex, offering him whisky and a permanent position in one fell swoop, leaving the offer on the table even when Jack shattered the tumbler and announced over my dead body.

(That one made him laugh. Well, inside, because any outward attempt at laughing had long since been quelled, and would risk upsetting his drifting state.)

Rose, the grin on her face as she high-fived him. The swirl of Estelle's skirt as he spun her around the dance floor. Myfanwy, dropping him from great height onto Ianto--

(He gasped, thrashed, the rush of pain returning, slamming into his chest, burning his muscles, stifling his breath; his stomach rebelled, acid burned him inside, making him double over as much as he could. Strength failed him.

He would be defeated. No one was indomitable.)

--

finis.