Disclaimer: I don't own Torchwood and I am not making any profit from this work.
Jack came to a rather unexpected realisation at Gwen's wedding, that, even more surprisingly, had nothing to do with the rest of the day.
It came to him nearing midnight, as they were cleaning up. The music was still playing, and the lights over the dancefloor going. As Jack turned to see where Tosh had gone, his eyes found her on the dance floor...with Ianto.
They were fairly energetic, though their maturity was beginning to show, and Tosh was giving Ianto that million-dollar smile that she didn't use nearly enough, and Ianto's movements lacked the heavy weariness that he usually wore these days. Alter their clothes, pretty up the surroundings...and it could have been their own wedding.
It...saddened Jack, in a way, that he hadn't seen it before.
Ianto and Tosh were both cut off. They had both had the potential to be normal, ordinary human beings. Ianto could have been a civil servant, a nine to five job at the office, going home to his wife of a couple of years and their baby, with another on the way. Still a clever man, still an exceptional man...but an ordinary man.
Tosh could have been in the business sector, in smart suits with those excellent legs, being taken out to dinner by clients and maybe meeting her future over a conference room table hashing out a difficult contract. Finding her peaceful, happy way through life, without the wariness that Jack knew tinged her thoughts these days.
They could have been normal.
They snatched their normality on nights like these. Ianto twirled Tosh out expertly, and caught her on the return; her hair was trying to escape its clips and tidy arrangements, and her smile was free and easy. He was joking with her, laughing, and their touch was comfortable and calm.
The song changed, and they broke apart, with effortless laughs and the easy grace of people used to far more energetic, frightening activities than a dance at a friend's wedding.
"I need a lot more wine before I will slow dance with you, Ianto," Tosh teased, slipping her arm through Ianto's anyway. Had he been a stranger to them, Jack would have assumed a relationship, would have painted in affections and loves that weren't there. In a tiny way, he almost wished that those false affections were there - he could have persuaded them to find their normality again, with each other, because he knew it was easier to walk away from Torchwood alive and whole if you weren't walking alone.
"Is that an invitation?" Ianto asked, leading her over to Jack. His blue eyes were bright and a little buzzed, his merriment touched with the faint spell of alcohol and adrenalin, and Jack didn't mind.
"Stealing my man?" Jack demanded of Tosh, and she laughed, releasing Ianto's arm obediently.
"He stole me," she defended, and Ianto held up his hands in mock innocence.
"Please, feel free to fight over me," he offered graciously. "I wouldn't mind at all. In fact, I would sell tickets, get rich, and quit my day job."
"No you wouldn't," Tosh replied, and thought she was joking, Jack knew it was true.
Now, weeks later, Jack doesn't know if he could make either of them leave. They have their normalities in each other, and their comforts outside. Ianto turns to Jack, and Tosh to her computers, and they both turn to each other. They have somehow stabilised from the tumult and chaos of their early days that Jack wasn't sure they would survive.
They are here by random chance.
If Ianto had studied something else; if Ianto had never done his internship in London; if Ianto had never met Lisa in the lift at Torchwood One; if Ianto had never escaped from the Cybermen; if Ianto hadn't rescued Lisa; if Ianto hadn't...done a lot of things.
If he hadn't...
Maybe, by now, he would have a couple of kids, and a dog, and be living in rural Wales like the village where he grew up. His life would consist of weekend trips to the seaside and to visit his parents, and anniversaries and birthdays and trips to A&E and Christmas plays and paying the bills and seeing off potential suitors of his daughter when she is old enough to date and taking his son to the rugby and standing on pitch sidelines at school and wondering when the match will end and he can take the kids home and...normal things. Ordinary, normal, twenty-first century, husband-and-father, guy things.
But it didn't happen.
Whatever choice or random choice brought Ianto here, he's here. And a random chance or choice will take him away again. And the series builds up and up, until his whole life is reduced to nothing but random chance upon random chance, and tiny choices that ripple throughout his life.
They twine together and thicken and strengthen until Ianto's life is a thread, twisting around other threads - some frayed, some whole, some stopped and some ongoing - until there is rope.
And there, in that rope, is human history, human time, human existence.
All made up of random chance.