Disclaimer: I don't own the below characters... if I did, things were be a lot different, for example certain wonderful Welsh teaboys would still be alive...
My first fic in a while, I know. I also know that so many others have written their own versions of what happens post CoE, so this is mine. Also like to add, that I wrote this after watching Day Four, so a couple of things had to be changed to fit in with what happened in Day Five before I posted it. I hope you all like - this is for everyone who is mourning Ianto Jones.
Jack had only been in Cardiff for the past two days. After nearly twelve months of travelling the world and so many others, he was back. Back and waiting. Twelve months alone had just allowed the pain to grow and the Captain made no attempt to heal, or even push it away. The pain consumed him, slowly turning into anger. Anger at the one man who could have prevented this. The one man he was now waiting for.
* * * * *
The Doctor had watched as Jack strode steadily towards the TARDIS. He only looked up from the screen when Jack had disappeared off it and entered him time machine. This is where they remained now. Jack staring at the Doctor and the Doctor staring right back; neither man completely aware of the pain the other had been through in the past twelve months.
"Captain." The Doctor spoke first and nodded in greeting, a small grin on his face.
"Doctor." Jack replied, sombrely. If the Doctor noticed how weary the Captain sounded he hid it well. Moments passed in silence before the Doctor spoke again, his voice considerable more cheerful than Jack's.
"Where to now, Jack my friend?" He asked, skipping around the console pressing a button here, turning a knob there.
Jack shrugged, but did not reply; his expression remained stony. The sound of the TARDIS engine's filled the room, blocking out any uncomfortable silence. The Doctor dashed around, steering him machine as Jack remained by the door, unmoving.
"So how life at Torchwood?" The Doctor asked. "You saved the world without my help yet." He flashed a joking grin at Jack, who was suddenly inches away from the Time Lord's face.
"Don't." Jack warned, his tone deadly.
"What Jack?" The Doctor sounded only slightly surprised.
Jack turned away, blinking back the tears of fury and pain.
"What's happened?" The Doctor asked again and Jack lost it.
"WHAT HAPPENED?" He roared letting out the whole years of bottled up anger as he spun around with clenched fists. "YOU TELL ME!"
"Don't pretend you don't know." Jack's voice went deadly quiet and he glared at the Time Lord.
"Jack... I..." The Doctor's face fell, followed by his eyes as he looked only at the TARDIS floor. He knew. He knew all about the 456, their damage to so many. Their damage the Jack. Of course he had known. But, the laws of time had forbidden him to do anything and now he was paying the price. Jack was paying the price.
"DON'T YOU DARE SAY YOU'RE SORRY." Jack yelled. "WHERE THE FUCK WERE YOU?"
"You know I couldn't..."
"No." Jack shook his head. "You fly around saving people left right and centre. Don't you tell me you couldn't save him."
"Jack." The Doctor now knew he'd reached the centre of Jack's anger.
"YOU COULD HAVE SAVED HIM!" Jack was screaming again, and the tears of anguish began to fall. "GO BACK AND SAVE HIM NOW!"
"YOU KNOW I WOULD, IF I COULD, JACK!" The Doctor yelled back. "DON'T YOU THINK IF I WERE ABLE TO I'D GO BACK AND SAVE MY PEOPLE, GO BACK AND SAVE MY PLANET, GO BACK AND SAVE THEM ALL?"
"HE WAS ALL I'D HAD FOR SO LONG AND YOU WATCHED AS HE DIED IN MY ARMS!"
"I can't save them, Jack! Not my people, not my planet, not Donna, not Steven and not Ianto." The Doctor said, his voice turned quiet; full of regret and sorrow.
Jack winced as the Doctor said that name. Ianto. The name he'd only said once, to Gwen, in the whole twelve months he'd been away. The time he'd admitted it was his own fault; all the death and pain was his own fault. He knew that. Why was he blaming the Doctor? The Captain squeezed his eyes shut, trying to block out the pain that, that name brought.
"Oh Jack..." The Doctor, realising what he'd said, moved a step forward, as though to comfort the ex Time Agent, but Jack took a step back. "I'm sorry."
"Please, Doctor." Jack ignored the hot tears, tracking their way down his face as he begged.
"Oh Jack. You know I can't." The Doctor said softly. He continued when he realised Jack was going to let him do so. "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry. You know I am."
Jack nodded and there was a moment of silence. He did know. He'd known for so long. "He told me he loved me, Doc."
The Doctor winced and closed his eyes, his mind turning to the one who had told him much the same so long ago.
"What..." His tone was soft, almost regretful.
"I couldn't say it back." A fresh stream of tears erupted from the broken man. "Why couldn't I?" He looked up at the Doctor, pain filled his eyes. "I loved him, Doctor. I loved him more than he could have ever imagined. And I didn't have the guts to tell him so." Jack looked like he would kill himself it he got the chance.
"He knew, Jack." The Doctor told him.
"How do I know that?" Jack asked, continuing before he got an answer. "Why the fuck didn't I tell him!" He raised his voice, growing angry again; this time at himself. "I'd told myself I'd never repeat what I'd done before, with Ianto..." he trailed off, realising it was the first time he'd said his lover's name in over six months since he'd met up with Gwen. Just when he thought he'd succeeded at blocking it out.
"Ianto..." Jack repeated the name again, before collapsing onto the floor, shaking with new sobs. "God, Ianto, I am so sorry…" Jack continued to sob, almost hysterically. And The Doctor closed the gap between them in one step and bent down and embraced him. Jack instantly clung onto him like there was no tomorrow and buried his face into the crook of the Time Lord's neck.
Tears continued to fall as the two of them sat there, comforting each other. The Doctor let a tear fall as he was reminded of the pain he, himself had been through. The pain he'd never wish on anybody else, least of all the man who was already cursed with immortality.
"Everything has it's time and everything dies, Jack." The Doctor whispered. Billions of years into the future he would repeat that same sentence, in presence of the one who he loved, if only he had accepted it sooner. He hoped Jack would. As Jack was held, the pain and suffering was still as raw as thought the twelve months had not passed. In many ways they hadn't. Only now, in the comfort of the TARDIS and the Doctor could Jack heal.
Jack would soon learn that he, like the Doctor, was unable to love another without the pain his immortality brought. But he would also learn that through his immortality, the love he shared with Ianto and the memory would live on.